Experts recommended cleaning home chimneys at least once every year. While many homeowners like the idea of having a fireplace, cleaning/maintenance of the chimney is a serious consideration. Unclean chimneys can lead to many health issues, mainly due to the buildup of creosote. People who have respiratory problems may have more difficulties than others, while there are other concerns, as well.
Points to note
Ideally, when you light up the fireplace, you should be able to see smoke coming out of the chimney. If that doesn’t happen, it’s time to call up one of the chimney sweep services. Do not try to clean the chimney at your end to save money. Creosote is extremely flammable, and therefore, there’s considerable risk of fire hazard. Below are a few pointers that will help in comparing different companies.
- Check the basics. The service industry is largely unregulated, so you need to do the basic research about chimney cleaning services. Is the company licensed? Are they experienced enough? How long has the company been in business? As a client, you have every right to ask these questions. Also, check the response time of the company. If a service takes more than 24 hours to respond, you have enough reasons to avoid them. There are agencies that verify such services, which is something you need to check.
- Is the company insured? As mentioned earlier, cleaning chimneys is a risky job. Workplace mishaps are not uncommon in this industry. You need to know if the company has workers’ compensation insurance, so that the medical bills are covered in case of emergencies. Also, the company needs to have general liability insurance, as well. Just in case there’s any damage to your property, the losses will be covered by the service provider.
- Can they offer client references on request? Any random company can make tall claims about their work and experience. Call up a few of the references provided to know the experience of other customers. You can also check online to find more about local services that have been rated well by other customers.
Ask for a quote
People, who live in colder places, tend to use their fireplaces for days at a stretch, and therefore, the cleaning requirements are more frequent. As obvious for any service, you have to ask for a quote, which should be inclusive of all expenses and costs. Check the quote with regards to the services offered, so that there’s no scope for hidden charges. Just because a chimney sweep is charging the highest price doesn’t mean they are best in business. In the same way, don’t select a company because it’s offering an insane discount. Ask more about their cleaning process and equipment and check the pointers above before taking the final call.
If you are assigning a chimney cleaning contract, take your time to evaluate the terms and conditions. You also need to check the possible assistance a company can offer in case of emergency issues, which are rare in the case of chimneys but not impossible for sure.
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