Chimney Sweeps Recommend Different Repairs and Quotes?
If you have received a high quote for chimney repairs, it is smart to get a second or third opinion from other chimney experts. Shopping around allows you to confirm the diagnosis of your chimney and choose the company that provides you with the best solution at a reasonable price. Warning bells should go off in your head if you receive recommendations for significantly different repairs and are quoted extremely different prices.
Chimney maintenance and repair is not a subjective science. While chimney sweeps may explain the root cause of damage to your chimney in different ways, or recommended slightly different solutions, they should agree about what the problem is. If one chimney sweep tells you that your flue liner is cracked while the other one says it is fine, it is likely the one of them is trying to scam you.
Chimney repair scams are extremely common, especially in the northeast. That is why both Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau have warnings about these scams on their websites along with tips on how to spot one. They expose some of the ways that scam artists try to con homeowners. One of the most common is showing homeowners broken pieces of tile or brick that they claim is from the chimney and use to recommend costly repairs. In contrast, a reputable chimney expert will give you a thorough, written report and photographic or video evidence of damage. You should never agree to expensive chimney repairs without receiving both of those.
Here are a few other tips to help you avoid a scam:
1. Confirm Their Accreditations & Licenses
You can call the local building codes office to find out whether the business is properly registered. They can also let you know if other customers have complained about the company. You can visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)’s website to confirm that their chimney sweeps are certified. Though CSIA certification is not required, if a chimney sweep has received certification you can be confident that they have the most up-to-date information about chimney and venting systems maintenance and repair. CSIA certification is also a good indicator that a chimney sweep is committed to high levels of professionalism and customer care.
2. Ask About Their Liability Insurance
A professionally run chimney company will have valid business liability insurance that will cover your home and furnishings if an accident occurs. If they cannot provide proof of this, it is safer to choose another company.
3. Check Out their References & Reviews
Look up the company on Angie’s List, Yelp and Google reviews to see what past customers had to say about them. If they have numerous bad ratings, it is very likely that you will also will have a bad experience. No reviews, or just a few that seem too good to be true, may be warning signs that the company is a fake. You should put your trust in a company with that has a lot of positive reviews. You can also ask them for the names and numbers of former customers for you to reach out to for references.
If your research raises warning flags, you might want to reach out to the Better Business Bureau in your area to see if anyone else have filed complaints against the company and check to see if it is being reviewed by Connecticut’s Attorney General.
Don’t let scare tactics about the risks of chimney damage deter you from doing your research. Giving into a scam can cost you large amounts of money upfront and leave you with a chimney that is more dangerous than it was before the work began. Scam artists are notorious for improperly installing the wrong size of flue liner and other unscrupulous practices that can make your home more at risk of carbon monoxide intrusion or water damage.
We hope that these tips will help you to avoid scam and choose a chimney maintenance and repair company that you can trust to protect the safety of your home and loved ones. If you live in Central Connecticut, whether in Farmington, West Hartford or another town, we hope you’ll give us a call! We are a fully licensed and insured chimney repair company that received Angie’s List’s Super Service Award in 2013. Since we were founded in 1984, we at Northeastern Chimney, Inc. have worked to provide the best chimney maintenance and repair services for our customers.