One of the best ways to keep a chimney in safe, working order is to have it inspected and maintained each year by a certified chimney sweep. Unfortunately, many homeowners skip this important part of home maintenance in part because they do not think they can find a reliable chimney sweep. It is actually quite simple to find someone who will get the job done right and leave the chimney in excellent condition to be enjoyed all winter long.
One of the best resources available for finding a chimney sweep is The Chimney Safety Institute of America. This organization has a hand in providing training for all certified chimney sweeps. In addition, their website has an easy to use tool that helps homeowners find certified chimney sweeps in their area. A chimney sweep found through this site will most likely be as skilled and reliable as they come.
Of course, there are many people who need a bit more information than just finding someone on an online list. As with any contractor, a good place to start is with friends, family, and neighbors who have employed someone similar. They have no reason to give false information, so any assessment of a given person or company can be trusted. In addition to recommending a good company, they can prevent someone from hiring a subpar contractor.
After finding a chimney sweep that seems to be reliable and capable, homeowners should still do a bit of research on their own. Speak to a representative from the company and make sure they can provide clear answers to any questions about the process of cleaning and maintaining the chimney. If they cannot, there is a good chance that they themselves do not have a clear enough understanding of the process and may not get the job done properly. Someone with the necessary skill and experience should have no problem breaking the steps down in a simple manner.
The level of professionalism displayed by a chimney sweep is also a good indicator of the kind of work that they will do. Someone who is polite, courteous and punctual clearly takes pride in their business and will want to do the very best that they can. Someone who does not return phone calls or who shows up late for an appointment may not be as focused as they need to be on getting the job done properly.
Even after speaking with family and friends and meeting with a chimney sweep, it is a good idea to ask for references from recent customers. In addition, check with the better business bureau to make sure that no complaints have ever been filed against the company. Finding references and information from as many sources as possible is the best way to ensure that the proper choice is made in the end.
If a chimney is not properly cleaned and maintained, it may not work properly and, in the worst cases, it can become a fire hazard. For that reason, choosing a chimney sweep is a serious decision and should be given careful consideration. The Chimney Safety Institute of America backs local chimney sweeps that have received the proper training through their programs. However, it is always a good idea to speak with friends, family and other references before choosing a professional. Homeowners should trust their instincts as well as their impression of the company’s professionalism.