Hiring a Chimney Sweep & What to Expect During an Inspection
The primary job of a chimney sweep is to clean chimney flues. Many of these professionals also perform chimney inspections and repair work. When hiring someone for any of these tasks, it’s important to contract with a person or company with the proper skill, training, equipment and verifiable credentials. Here are some tips for hiring a chimney sweep.
Tip 1: Confirm their certification
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certifies chimney sweeps through a rigorous process during which the sweep demonstrates not only solid knowledge of chimneys and the work involved in cleaning them but also the highest level of business ethics and service.
CSIA certification tells homeowners that the person/company working on their chimney is qualified to do so. This is important, because the chimney sweep process is not a job for novices who could easily damage the chimney or its components and may not have the tools necessary to do a satisfactory job.
Tip 2: Ask for references
A qualified chimney services professional should be happy to put you in touch with customers in your area whom the sweep has served.
Tip 3: Find out how long the company or individual has been in business
A short time in business doesn’t automatically mean the person won’t do a great job, but “time in the trenches” demonstrates a lot of hands-on experience and deeper understanding of a greater range of chimney types and issues.
Why hire a chimney sweep?
Chimney sweeps are critical in keeping chimneys free of excess creosote and soot as well as blockages that could hinder drafting and send smoke and deadly carbon monoxide into the home.
Creosote is the leading cause of chimney fires in the U.S. each year. It can present as a sticky, flakey or solid substance, and specialized tools and know-how are required to effectively remove it.
Chimney sweeps also perform another critical task to help keep your chimney safe and working properly: chimney inspections.
What happens during a chimney inspection?
The CSIA recognizes three levels of chimney inspections. These levels are:
Level 1: The basic inspection, covering all visible areas of the chimney and its components.
Level 2: A more involved inspection that includes the use of Chim-Scan or other video imaging technology that allows the inspector to see down into the flue. Level 2 chimney inspections are called for when:
- The house is being sold
- Something has happened that may have caused damage to the chimney – this could include a chimney fire or a major weather or seismic event
- A new appliance is being connected to the chimney or some other alteration is being made
Level 3: These inspections are only performed when a previous inspection has turned up significant damage to the system. Most level 3 inspections involve the dismantling of parts of the chimney or adjacent building materials of the home in order to access the damaged area and assess it.
Felgemacher Masonry & Chimney has been a trusted name for chimney services in western New York since 1953. We offer CSIA-certified chimney cleaning, chimney inspections and all manner of chimney repair. Reach us year-round at (716) 907-4914 in the Buffalo area or (585) 308-4914 in and around Rochester.