In an effort to save money, some homeowners forgo certified chimney sweep companies in favor of those who offer the lowest prices. While this may leave a little extra room in the budget, it is often at the detriment of your chimney system.
Some brave do-it-yourselfers often try to tackle chimney and fireplace maintenance themselves to keep costs down. Again, the disadvantages far outweigh any cost benefits. Not only is it dangerous for someone untrained to be climbing around a roof and chimney, but they often have no idea what they are looking for and may miss crucial clues about the health of their fireplace system. Instead, homeowners should only trust their fireplaces to certified chimney sweeps, such as those at Coopertown Services.
Benefits of using a certified sweep
Just as you would never hire a baker to do your taxes, contractors and roofers are often not equipped to properly sweep, inspect, and maintain chimney systems. Rather, homeowners should look for companies with Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, certified chimney sweeps.
These certified professionals are at the top of their field in terms of knowledge, expertise, and training. They are up to date on the most recent safety and technology innovations in the field, and are also able to ensure that all heating appliances meet local and state building codes. In addition, certified sweeps have training in the most recent Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA standards for fireplaces, inserts, and stoves.
What does a certified sweep do?
The primary duty of a chimney sweep during any cleaning is to remove creosote from the chimney structure and firebox. Creosote [http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/creosote_from_wood_burning_causes_and_solutions] is a highly flammable, gummy, odorous byproduct of any wood burning appliance. Because creosote buildup is often a direct cause of chimney fires, it is extremely important to have these deposits removed during an annual cleaning.
In addition, certified chimney sweeps will check for cracks and other signs of deterioration on the interior and exterior the chimney and fireplace, and can also evaluate the overall efficiency of a fireplace system. Certified sweeps may also be able to check levels of carbon monoxide to ensure there is no risk of exposure or poisoning. Finally, they will take the utmost care so that carpets, furnishings, and décor are not stained by any soot or ash during the cleaning process.
Choosing the right company
Choosing the right chimney sweep company can be difficult, especially in areas where there is a lot of competition. Because of this, the CSIA has created a list of questions homeowners can ask potential companies in order to make sure they are getting the best service possible.
– Do you have references available from current customers?
– How long has your company been in business in this area?
– Does your company have any disputes filed with the Better Business Bureau?
– Do you or your chimney sweeps have liability insurance coverage?
– Can you guarantee that the chimney sweep who works on my home is CSIA certified?
Poor chimney maintenance can lead to costly future repairs and can even be a health hazard for your family. For that reason, always hire a certified chimney sweep to make sure your fireplace and chimney system get the proper care and maintenance it needs.