Your chimney probably isn’t something you think about too often. It’s just a part of your house and so long as it does its job, most homeowners generally don’t worry about it. In reality, taking proper care of your chimney is hugely important for your safety and the functionality of your fireplace.
Part of proper chimney maintenance is regularly having your chimney swept. If you’re just ticking the box to get it done, you may choose to hire the first chimney sweep you find. Here’s why that’s not a good idea.
The Danger of Hiring an Inexperienced Chimney Sweep
When it’s working correctly and safely, the fireplace is a great addition to any home. This can make people forget how dangerous fireplaces can be if you don’t treat them with the proper care. Bad chimney sweeps can put you and your family in danger. Fire’s not something to play around with and that applies to the professionals you hire to work on your fireplace.
A less experienced or not qualified chimney sweep may cut corners and rush your chimney work. That means when they’re done, there may still be debris or creosote in your chimney, leading to an increased chance of chimney fires.
Similarly, a bad chimney sweep may not notice key issues in your chimney as an experienced professional would. Issues like gaps, cracks, a leaking chimney cap, or other problems are manageable if found and addressed quickly but can become dangerous and costly if not.
In short, hiring a bad chimney sweep puts your whole home and everyone living there at risk. Anything the chimney sweep does wrong can lead to serious fire hazards which aren’t something to mess around with.
It’s worth noting that the chimney sweep industry is not regulated. Anyone can decide one day that they want to become a chimney sweep and set up a business without any training or licensing. Those are not the kinds of individuals you want working on an important part of your home.
How to Find the Right Chimney Sweep
So now that you know the dangers of hiring a bad chimney sweep, how do you go about finding a good one? There are a couple of things to keep in mind.
First, just because there are no licenses required to become a chimney sweep doesn’t mean that good chimney sweeps have no certifications. Chimney sweeps can be certified through the Chimney Sweep Institute of America (CSIA) which shows they have completed relevant training on chimney sweeping. If you want some assurances that you’re hiring a qualified chimney sweep, ask if they have the CSIA certification.
You can also ask whether they are a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCGS), the professional organization in the industry. Membership in NCSG will show that the company or individual chimney sweep is committed to the profession and keeps up with developments in the industry.
A simple thing you can ask any prospective chimney sweep is whether they can provide any references. You could also read customer reviews online if they’re available. Either way, you’ll get an idea of what previous customers have to say about their experience working with that chimney sweep. If the references or reviews are positive, you’ll probably have a positive experience as well.
While cost is always an important consideration when you’re hiring someone to do work on your home, it shouldn’t be the only factor you consider before hiring a chimney sweep. Remember, you often get what you pay for. The cheapest chimney sweep is not necessarily the best option. Paying more for an experienced, qualified chimney sweep is an investment in the security of your home and your family.
Another important detail to check for with any potential chimney sweep company is whether the company carries liability insurance. Sometimes, the work a chimney sweep does can be dangerous. They climb ladders, use specialized tools, and more so the company you hire must have business liability insurance. That way, in the event of an accident or mistake, you won’t be held financially liable for the injuries the chimney sweep sustains while working on your chimney.
Take your time finding a qualified, professional chimney sweep and you’re sure to be pleased with your results.
Need a Chimney Sweep Today?
If you’re in the DC area and you need a qualified, experienced chimney sweep to sweep your chimney, look no further than Sweep Your Chimney. We have years of experience in the industry and can help you with all your chimney sweep needs.