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Educational Consumer Tips

Hiring a Chimney Cleaner

Author: Rachel Gelb
Category: Home Improvement

If you often cozy up by your fireplace to relax it’s important to have the chimney cleaned and inspected annually to ensure safety. A reputable chimney sweeper will be able to clean and detect any dangerous problems within the chimney. Refer to these tips when hiring a chimney sweeper.

Tips for Hiring a Chimney Sweeper:

Shop Around.  Search for chimney sweepers at to read reviews or complaints. Ask friends, family members, and neighbors to recommend a chimney sweeper. Be sure to find out how long the chimney sweeper has been doing business.

Get Multiple Estimates.  Request multiple estimates from different chimney sweepers to compare the cost of the job that is needed. A price that is unusually lower than the other bids is probably too good to be true. Choose the bid that will give you the most for your money, even if it means paying more to hire an experienced sweeper.

Check Credentials.  Be sure the chimney sweeper is Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified and can provide proof. Although a business may advertise they are CSIA certified, they may only be referring to a few of their technicians. Be sure the technician that will be doing work on your chimney is CSIA certified. Those who are CSIA certified must participate in fire safety and other training courses. Ask if the chimney sweeper belongs to an organization such as the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG). NCSG members are required to complete ongoing educational courses to stay relevant in their field and adhere to strict standards of professionalism.

Confirm Insurance.  Be sure the chimney sweeper you hire has the necessary insurance that will protect you and your home in the event of damage or an injury. Make sure to get proof of insurance before they start doing work on your chimney.

Request References.  Ask the chimney sweeper to provide a list of references you may contact. Ask the references about their experience with the business and if they were completely satisfied with the work. Ask if they would hire the chimney sweeper again for a future job. Refusal to provide references is a red flag and you should look elsewhere for chimney sweeping services.

Avoid Chimney Sweep Solicitors.  Ignore chimney sweeping businesses that solicit by phone or door-to-door and claim they were just “in the neighborhood”. These scammers promise an extremely low price for a chimney cleaning, but once they start working they will “discover” an urgent repair. Scammers will take your money and leave the job unfinished or worse than it was before. A legitimate, reputable, chimney sweeper will supply photo and/or video evidence if there is a serious repair needed.

About the Author: Rachel Gelb is Communications and Marketing Manager for BBB serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. Find Rachel on Google +.

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