To find a reputable chimney sweep, ask friends for referrals, look in the business section of your telephone directory under "Chimney Cleaning,” or visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America web site at www.csia.org. You can also visit the site for the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) at www.ncsg.org.
- NEVER hire a chimney sweep who shows up at your door uninvited. There are many home improvement scams that commonly take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners; fly-by-night chimney sweep scams is one of the most prevalent.
- Many sweeps apply for certification by CSIA or membership in the NCSG. These organizations promote professionalism in the industry by testing applicants and offering continuing education opportunities to keep members up to date on changing technology and fire safety.
- Chimney sweeping is not considered home improvement, but all related work, such as installation or repair of a chimney cap, liner repair and even mortar replacement require a home improvement registration.
For $90 to $150, a professional chimney sweep should thoroughly clean your fireplace and chimney and check for defects. Many sweeps lower video cameras and lights into chimneys to get a close look at walls and liner surfaces, and to take a visual record of the chimney's condition for the homeowner. Be sure you agree to only the services that you want and need.
You want the chimney sweep to:
- open the damper completely to be sure it moves freely and fits snugly against the smoke shelf.
- use a flashlight to check the damper for cracks, pitting or rusted-out sections. (Broken or corroded dampers should be replaced by a professional.)
- Look for any debris that may restrict air flow and remove it.
- check for broken or damaged bricks or flue liners. (Vertical cracking in the liner is a sure sign of a previous flue fire and is a serious problem that will need repair.)
- check and remove creosote deposits greater than 1/8 inch thick.
- Sweeping a chimney is not considered home improvement, but any repairs are covered under the Home Improvement Law, such as installation or repair of a chimney cap, liner replacement or repair, and even mortar replacement.
- If upon cleaning your chimney, your chimney sweep tells you that there is damage that needs replacement or repair, please first contact your local building official and ask if the activity requires a building permit. Also see the next bullet, below.
Chimney repair goes beyond cleaning and sweeping, and persons who perform chimney repair must be registered as a home improvement contractor in Connecticut.
Repairs covered under the Home Improvement Law include everything from installation or repair of a chimney cap, liner replacement or repair, and even mortar replacement.
If upon cleaning your chimney, your chimney sweep tells you that there is damage that needs replacement or repair, please first contact your local building official and ask if the activity requires a building permit. Then find yourself a registered home improvement contractor to do the job. It may be the same person who cleaned your chimney, but it doesn't need to be.
Before hiring anyone to repair your chimney, ask to see their certificate and their identification. Feel free to contact the Department of Consumer Protection to verify the legitimacy of that certificate and to check on any complaints against this contractor. Call us at 860-713-6110 or use online license verification.
- Home improvement law requires that contractors put a notice of cancellation in their contract, giving the homeowner three days to change their minds and cancel the job.
- NEVER hire a chimney sweep who shows up at your door uninvited.There are many home improvement scams that commonly take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners; fly-by-night chimney sweep scams is one of the most prevalent.
Be aware of telemarketing offers where someone offers you a very, very low price to come and clean your chimney. If someone is trying to get in at a very low price or is calling you out of the blue, they may just want to get their foot in the door, because they're really looking to do some type of repair work.
or in the background that identifies it as your home.
Some scammers provide photos they claim are from inside or outside your chimney, as evidence to convince you that your chimney needs repair. You have to be sure the photos are actually from your house. So any pictures that are provided to justify getting work done should include something in the photo
Some scam artists show debris from a chimney as an indicator of something that's broken. If the company claims that this debris shows that your liner is broken or collapsed that you need a new liner system, get a second opinion, or have them show you where it is broken.