Your chimney is an important safety device for venting smoke and contaminants when using your fireplace. So, when it comes to servicing your chimney, experience matters. Chimney inspections, cleaning, and repairs require an experienced and skilled professional with the right tools and equipment to perform the job safely and efficiently. When shopping around for a local chimney sweep, the one with the lowest price may also have the least experience.
Your chimney sweep plays an instrumental role in ensuring your chimney and fireplace are operating safely. Conducting some due diligence is all it takes to find the best chimney professional for your home.
CSIA Certification: Look for a Certified Chimney Sweep®. It’s your assurance that the chimney professional has the skills and training necessary to perform the job. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is an industry-leading non-profit organization that issues credentials to chimney technicians who demonstrate proficiency in a thorough knowledge and understanding of venting systems and heating appliances and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics.
A chimney sweep must pass a rigorous training and testing program to earn their certification. They must also satisfactorily pass recurrent training courses every two years to maintain their certification.
Experience: Find out the length of time they have been in business serving your community. Chimney service providers with an established history of success are often the ones homeowners can count on the most to service their chimney for years to come.
Reviews: Check online reviews. Many chimney providers have online ratings from sites like Google and Yelp. Those that consistently receive above average reviews have delivered the most positive experience to their customers.
Insurance: Verify that the chimney sweep you hire has a valid contractor license (as required for your state or locality) and carries business liability insurance. Making sure contractors have liability insurance protects you from being responsible for any damages or injuries that may occur while a contractor is working in your home.
Also, beware of chimney repair scams that may be operating in your neighborhood. Be wary of anyone showing up at your door uninvited to clean or repair your chimney. They could be scam artists or inexperienced contractors that may use inferior products, do a poor job, or cause damage to your chimney.
Some contractors that go door-to-door may not have a valid license or insurance. If you are unsure about a business, you can go online to your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have an open file. You can also ask to see their CSIA badge and visit the CSIA online directory to verify their certification is still valid.