Author – Oliver Beauchemin
Hiring a chimney sweep to undertake the delicate cleaning operation of keeping your chimney in order is the only way to make sure that this particular job is done properly. However, there are a few questions that it is important to ask before you pick the right person.
Is the chimney sweep properly trained and regulated?
Being a chimney sweep is an occupation that is not regulated by any Government bodies. However, there are private professional organisations that sweeps can train with, gain their qualifications and then join afterwards. It is a good idea to make sure anyone you pick is a member of one of these. The most prominent three are the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the National Chimney Sweep Guild and the National Fireplace Institute. The former and latter websites have a section in which you can put your zip code in and find someone suitable in your area.
Is the chimney sweep insured?
In case of emergency or accident whilst undertaking a contract on your property, it is imperative the sweep has the appropriate cover for your work. Ask to check whether they are supported with Workers Compensation Insurance, so you’re all clear on where you stand. It’s a good idea to ask and make sure they have proper liability insurance, too.
Can the chimney sweep provide you with a written estimate?
Ideally, you need to find around three contractors in your area and they should all try and provide you with a written estimate for the work that offers you a detailed and structured break down of the complete cost for doing the work.
Will the chimney sweep take appropriate steps to ensure your property is clean and safe while they work?
Discuss with the sweep what sort of measures they will put in place to ensure your home is kept clean and free from damage while they work. Ask them if they will use vacuums or tarpaulins. Make sure that you discuss the specifics of the fire and the chimney with them too. A good sweep will ask questions that pertain to how your fire and chimney work. They will want to know if you have perhaps noticed signs of rodents or birdlife nesting in your chimney. They should ask whether there are any unusual odors emanating from the fire, or whether it is very smoky when the fire is first lit.
Does the chimney sweep conduct a safety inspection?
During the course of the work and also once the work is finished the sweep should perform safety checks and inspections to ensure the continued safety of the chimney and the property. You must ask them prior to commencement to make sure they do this. A good sweep will make safety a priority at all times. A good sweep will more often than not use a camera to check the inside the flue and make sure it is structurally sound.
Does the chimney sweep guarantee the work?
Check with them to make sure they guarantee the work once it is completed. Ask them if they will provide you with a thorough break down of the specifics relating to this.
~ submitted to Chimneys.com by Evelyn Robinson
~ Oliver Beauchemin