The fireplace is a wonderful technology that keeps us warm in winter while providing a great spectacle. But if you think about it, we are essentially building fire in the middle of our living rooms! There is always a risk associated with owning a fireplace, and the responsibility of minimizing this risk is entirely on the homeowners. Thankfully, annual chimney inspections and chimney sweeps are usually enough to keep your fireplace clean and safe.
If you don’t already have a Baltimore chimney sweep you rely on, be careful and do your research when hiring the right contractor. There are plenty of inexperienced chimney cleaners out there, as well as scam artist who only pretend they did the work. Here are a few tips to help you narrow down your choice.
Stay Away From Solicitors
If someone is knocking on your door and handing out flyers or cold-calling your number with soliciting calls, stay away. A reputable chimney sweep won’t be interrupting your daily activities to deliver their advertising message. Often times, these calls originate from scammers or chimney sweeps desperate to get business. The low prices they offer are often nothing more than bogus claims to get your attention. A well-respected chimney sweep should have their own website with information about their experience and credentials—look it up!
Hire a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep
CSIA stands for Chimney Safety Institute of America that offers a certification for chimney sweeps. In order to obtain it, candidates have to demonstrate the knowledge of best practices and safety measures for chimney sweeping. Hiring a CSIA certified sweep means you are getting a qualified and experienced professional who will take good care of your chimney.
In addition to the CSIA certification, you can also look for a chimney sweep associated with the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG). This organization’s goal is to promote integrity and continued education among chimney sweeps, so a member of NCSG is likely to be highly qualified and experienced.
How to Know if the Sweep Cleaned Your Chimney
Did the cleaner you hired just stand on your roof for 15 minutes and is ready to take off with your money? Not so fast! A proper chimney inspection and sweep should include examination of both the fireplace and the chimney. Your sweep should bring his equipment and lay protective blankets when working on the fireplace. They would also wear protective gear, such as respirators to avoid inhaling the dangerous creosote dust. If any of this didn’t happen during your chimney “cleaning,” there is a chance your sweep is a scam artist.
If you are looking for a trusted chimney sweep in the Baltimore area, Town and Country Chimney Service is happy to offer our help. We’ve been in this business since 1982 and have a long list of satisfied clients. Give us a call at 410-995-6700 to find out more or schedule an appointment.