How to Find a Reputable Chimney Sweep
Your chimney and fireplace need periodic inspections, cleanings, and repairs to maintain optimal performance and reduce the risk of fire and other safety hazards. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that chimneys and fireplaces be inspected annually. It also states that cleaning and repairs shall be done when necessary. Therefore, hiring a reputable chimney sweep essential. An experienced chimney sweep has the training and expertise to assess the condition of the chimney and attached heating appliances, determine whether cleaning is necessary and if it needs any repairs. So, where do you find a reputable chimney sweep?
Where to Find a Professional Chimney Sweep
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is one of the leading credentialing organizations that trains and certifies chimney sweeps. It’s a non-profit organization governed by industry professionals to help ensure that homeowners can hire chimney technicians who have demonstrated competency. So, the CSIA is an excellent place to find a chimney sweep. To receive certification, a chimney sweep must take pre-requisite training courses, pass a rigorous exam, and maintain an established code of ethics. A Certified Chimney Sweep® must also satisfactory complete recurrent training every two years to maintain certification.
They are identified by their CSIA photo-ID badge that is worn on their uniform.
You can search the CSIA Online Directory to find a Certified Chimney Sweep® near you.
Signs You Need a Professional Chimney Sweep
Without routine cleaning and maintenance, a lot can go wrong with your chimney. Some of the common signs you need a professional chimney sweep include the smell of foul odors or fumes, hearing animal noises like scratching or chirping, poorly burning or smokey fires, water, or moisture in the firebox, and stains on the ceiling near the fireplace, to name a few. If you notice chipped bricks, pieces of brick lying on the ground, or gaps in the mortar joints, are signs of masonry damage. A water leak is especially problematic because it can cause extensive masonry damage, affecting the chimney’s structural integrity. Also, excessive creosote and small animals and debris can block the flue, increasing the risk of fire and carbon monoxide exposure.
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Chimney Sweep
Here are a few questions you can consider asking to make sure you are hiring a reputable chimney sweep:
- Do you carry business liability and workers’ compensation insurance? While it is infrequent, accidents can happen. Chimney professionals with liability insurance protect the homeowner from liability in the rare event of accidental damage or injury while working on your chimney or fireplace.
- Are you certified? A Certified Chimney Sweep® assures homeowners the individual they are letting into their home has proven knowledge of the chimney system and attached heating appliances.
- How long have you been in business? A chimney service provider with an established reputation in the community is a strong indication that they will be there when you need them most.
- Can you provide references? When other homeowners are satisfied with their service, chances are you will have a similar experience.