9 Things to Know when Hiring a Chimney Sweep
Don’t Get Burned Hiring A Chimney Sweep
by Dave Lamb – firstname.lastname@example.org
Unscrupulous con and scam artists are out there. They may try to offer you low- ball prices on chimney cleaning or inspection services and then try to convince you into agreeing to completely unnecessary repairs or work on your chimney. They get a deposit and that is the last they will be seen. Or they may appear to do work and in reality, nothing substantive has been done. Make sure that your chimney services contractor complies with these requirements as advised by these 10 Important Consumer Protection Policy Guidelines:
#1 – CSIA Certification /
The Chimney Sweep Institute of America (CSIA) is the training standard across the country for well qualified chimney sweeps that can provide a host of services related to the proper use, maintainance and repair of chimney, fireplace, stove and appliances and their venting systems.
Ask for written proof of certification for the individual that will perform the work at your home. Many times companies only have certification for the owner, and the workers in the field are unqualified and not CSIA certified. Our techs always have their CSIA ID available.
#2 – NCGS Membership /
The chimney sweep you hire should be a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) – Although not an official certification, membership in this organization indicates a dedication to the professionalism and expertise that you expect from a chimney technician. As members of the NCSG, we are able to stay on the cutting edge of the latest technologies in sweeping and masonry repair.
#3 – Strong Current References /
Ask for names and phone numbers of other clients in your area. Contact them with a quick courteous inquiry about the satisfaction level with the contractor that you are considering. Look for a reference that is in your neighborhood, town or general area. If the contractor makes excuses for not providing a reference – move on to another chimney sweep.
#4 – Insured to Work in Your Home /
Insurance – Ask if the company has full coverage insurance against damage that may occur to your home or to any workers that may enter your home or be up on your roof. Make sure they are fully insured and find out exactly what their policy covers. It is highly unlikely that you will ever need to worry about insurance, but if the contractor does not have coverage and gets injured or damages your property the liability will be yours. Northeastern Chimney carries full insurance to protect you.
#5 – Proper Identification /
Identification – Please, ask anyone that identifies themselves as a contractor that wants to work on your home for identification. Most reputable companies provide I.D. badges for all their employees and they will arrive in a marked uniform and a marked vehicle that identifies the company. Avoid any strangers that arrive at your door soliciting you to provide chimney cleaning, inspections or repairs.
#6 – Telephone Scams are Common /
Beware of Telephone Scams – Telemarketers that offer extremely low pricing to entice you to hire them can spell trouble. Many times they sell these “leads” to under- qualified, independent contractors that try to do as many calls in one day as possible. Worse still, without the qualifications being known to you in advance – you are essentially letting a stranger into your home on the basis of a phone call. This opens the door to possible criminal activity and scam experts who may act the part, but are really out to rip you off and move on.
#7 – Professional Appearance and Attitude /
The company you choose to do business with should value your business and treat you with courtesy. They should be able to answer any questions and address any concerns that you may have about your service. They should be dressed presentably in a marked company uniform. Above all, they should treat you and your home with respect, cleaning up completely after their work is completed.
#8 – On-Time Service /
On-Time Service is an important consideration when weighing your options. If you interview a company that is not exactly sure when they are going to show up and expects you to wait all day for them – move on to a choice that will give you a clear window for your appointment, and shows up on time to do the work. There is nothing more aggravating than wasting time waiting for a contractor that shows up late, or worse – never shows up. We strive to meet our scheduled work on-time and always call ahead even if we are only running a few minutes late.
#9 – Don’t Get Burned /
Your chimney, furnace or stove systems are nothing to treat lightly. Their proper maintenance and operation can have direct impact on the safety and security of your home and family. Don’t take chances with a contractor that you are not fully confident in. Any promised savings may not be worth the price of risking the potential of work not performed correctly or done up to the industry standards that all reputable, qualified companies adhere to.