Inexperienced chimney sweeps and con men have quite a racket going in our area. I’ve seen a lot of the damage they cause first-hand, and I’m doing what I can to help prevent chimney cleaning scams here in Delaware County and the surrounding area. Here are some tips to avoid scams and protect your home from undue repairs due to the damages these con artists cause.
- Find a certified chimney sweep in your area by searching the Chimney Safety Institute of America at CSIA.org.
- Make sure the workers you hire are licensed and insured by contacting your local township.
- Request referrals.
Let’s break those down and I’ll explain them in detail.
The CSIA is a national, nonprofit, educational organization that is committed to the safety of all Americans who enjoy using their fireplace or wood stove. They are dedicated to educating the public as well as chimney and venting professionals about potential unseen hazards. They offer a certification program for chimney sweeps, like me, so that homeowners may find reliable, certified professionals more easily.
Never hire a chimney sweep without making sure they are licensed and insured. Don’t be pressured into same-day service if someone just randomly knocks on your door offering a discounted service. Professionals don’t need to go door to door selling their services. The structural integrity of your chimney is at stake; don’t take a risk that may result in thousands of wasted dollars just to try to save a few hundred.
Referrals make the business world go ‘round. Word of mouth is still the best way to get your name out there, especially if you’re exceptionally good; or exceptionally bad. Bad reviews travel much more quickly than good reviews. Call around to a few different chimney sweeps, and get quotes and referrals from each.
So, to recap:
- Search CSIA.org for a certified chimney sweep in your area.
- Don’t fall for a too-good-to-be-true deal just to save money.
- Don’t hire a door-to-door salesman with a great personality and no chimney experience.
- Do your due diligence and make a few phone calls to make sure your chosen chimney sweep is certified, licensed, and insured.
- Get at least three referrals from people in your local area.
At Lou Curley’s Chimney Service, I go a step further to ensure complete satisfaction; I’m the owner and primary worker. I don’t depend on employees to do my job for me. I’m proudly the only person in Pennsylvania to hold two certifications from CSIA, three from NFI, and two from FIRE. Feel free to make the phone calls I mentioned above, and I’ll bring referrals with me to our first appointment.