Some of the tasks associated with chimney cleaning such as disposing of the ash and cleaning the exterior of the fireplace can all be done by you. However, intensive cleaning of the chimney as well as checking it for any flaws or problems is something that an expert in chimneys will have to handle. This is when you will need to hire a chimney professional and there are certain things you should remember to ask before you sign the contract.
Most states do not require that chimney cleaners have a contractor’s license. But certifications from professional organizations can be obtained and many choose to acquire and carry this. Being accredited to a professional organization or having some kind of certification helps to convey credibility to the profession and to potential or actual customers.
1.Who is this person?
Most states do not require that chimney cleaners have a contractor’s license. But certifications from professional organizations can be obtained and many choose to have this.
While looking for a high caliber and competent chimney cleaning professional, ask around for some referrals from family and friends. You can also check local agencies and professional associations for a list of recommended professionals who can complete a safe and thorough inspection and cleaning of your chimney. Before making your choice make sure you have all the necessary information on the training or certification that particular chimney sweep possesses and also an explanation of services and their correlating charges and any insurance he or she might have.
2.Training or Certification
This should be one of the first questions you ask the chimney professional. Ask them how long they have been in the field and the kind of experience they have. Detail your situation and see if they have handled similar issues in the past. If they claim to be certified, get details about which organization has issued the certificate and you can verify with them if this is true. See if they can provide you with any references and if they do, you should check out at least a couple of these. Inspection of chimneys can be done only by someone with the relevant expertise and this cannot be gained without a relevant certification or classroom training.
3.Explanation of Services
One factor distinguishing a qualified chimney professional from the others would be the kind of services they provide. You should ask them to provide you with a detailed explanation of the services they cover under a particular plan. Also obtain an estimate for each item on the list of services you want. Make sure you are able to acquire the estimate and have it put in writing and also find out if this is guaranteed. The rates for most basic services are standard and should not vary much in the same county or state; certainly for a similar size roof and the same type of roof. An inspection should also be on the list of services provided because this can help you know what problems you might encounter in your chimney in the near future.
Find out if your chimney professional has insurance coverage. Liability coverage, as well as worker’s compensation, is a must especially since this is a safeguard for you and your property. Do not hesitate to ask to see a copy of the insurance policies that the chimney professional or the firm has taken out. This is essential because if there is no insurance, you will not be compensated for any damage to your property. Similarly, if a worker were to get injured while cleaning your chimney, absence of insurance could lead to you being sued for medical expenses (and this will certainly ruin your day). The only good thing about this if this happened is that you will not need to worry about your roof because you may not be able to afford to live in this home any longer. Furthermore, if the chimney professional cannot produce satisfactory insurance documentation, then it is advisable to look for another person or firm.
5.Punctuality and Professionalism
See if the person or company you approach treats you with professionalism in terms of answering your questions and availability. A solid and marvelous firm or professional will also be able to give you specific dates and times when the work might be expected to be started and finished. Being vague or unavailable when you call or visit is a sure sign that they are not reliable.
Asking these specific questions to the chimney professional will help you make an informed decision before signing a contract for their services. Get a copy of the contract on paper and check the fine print before committing yourself to them or their business.