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Did you know that approximately 80 percent of fireplace-owning homeowners in the Northeastern United States have never hired a chimney sweep in PA, or a chimney service provider of any sort? It’s true. It’s also potentially quite dangerous.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association, chimneys, fireplaces and vents should be inspected once yearly at a minimum. The reason is quite simple: Any deterioration or build up of deposits can be dangerous, because a fire burning under those conditions can damage the chimney and even spread to the home. Animals who build nests in your chimney’s flue can also make for unsafe conditions.

But unfortunately, the experience of hiring a chimney sweep isn’t always as simple and straightforward as it should be. That’s because the chimney sweep industry, we’re very sorry to say, is rife with unscrupulous companies and individuals who are neither trained nor qualified to provide you with proper, professional chimney cleaning services.

There are, however, steps you can take to ensure that the chimney sweep in PA who comes to your home is the sort of professional they claim to be. We’ve listed a number of those steps for you here.

  1. Make sure the chimney sweep you hire is CSIA Certified. The high professional and ethical standards to which CSIA members are held means you’ll absolutely be in good hands. Find a local CSIA Certified pro here.
  1. Make sure the professional or company you’re considering carries liability insurance that will protect your home, should any unforeseen accidents occur. If they refuse to provide a copy of their insurance, find someone else.
  1. Many chimney sweep pros collect references from happy customers, and will be more than pleased to share them with you. And while a professional without a large number of glowing recommendations shouldn’t necessarily be considered suspect, someone who’s been in the business a long while should be able to provide examples of positive feedback.
  1. Most states and large cities have consumer protection bureaus you can check with if you feel your chimney sweep in PA might not be entirely on the level. As is the case with the Better Business Bureau, another agency you should consider contacting, your local consumer protection agency can tell you if the chimney sweep you’re dealing with has had any complaints in the past, as well as what sort of complaints they were.
  1. And finally, if the deal you’re being offered sounds far too good to be true, you can probably assume that it is. The best way to discover the average going rate of the services you’re interested in is to call a number of competing companies in your area, and to ask how much they charge for a basic chimney inspection and sweep. If a chimney sweep in PA who approached you at home has offered what seems to be a significantly better deal, you can bet there’s a scam of some sort in the offing; we don’t recommend inviting sweeps of that sort into your home. What’s more, talking to various companies on the phone should give you a rough idea of how you’ll be treated when the actual service is being performed. If the person who answers the phone is pushy, rude, or otherwise unprofessional seeming, you’d probably do best to keep looking.

The CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps at Estates Chimney have been servicing Bucks County and Montgomery homes for many, many years. If you’d like to learn more about the services we offer, or if you’d like to have one of our chimney sweeps visit your home right away, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You’ll find all of our contact information here.