It’s unfortunate that we even have to discuss scams when it comes to properly cleaning your chimney. However, because there are unscrupulous people who would love to take some hard earned money away from you, we need to breech this topic so you will be prepared if you are contacted by one of these companies.
Here’s how most of them work. You get a phone call offering you a special deal; they got your name from a neighbor or the old owners gave them your name, etc. that is substantially lower than the normal price of an inspection or cleaning. They come to your home and after inspection they inform you that you have a structural issue, have a torn or worn chimney liner that needs to be replaced or a damaged chimney cap; all of which can cost you a lot of money.
Even if some of these things need to be replaced they replace them with cheap or wrong sized parts that often end up damaging the chimney more than what was there in the first place. There are also reports that these shysters use fear to intimidate customers into costly repairs by telling them that carbon monoxide poisoning can happen if these repairs are not made. The fact is that this type of poisoning is rare from a chimney.
Another fact is there is a website that you can go to that will help you find a qualified chimney service company just about anywhere in the United States. Click here to go to the Chimney Safety Institute of America search page where you can put in your information and find a CSIA Certified Professional. It is the only certified program for chimney and venting service companies recognized nationally.
This is important because those that go through the certification process and keep their education current are dedicated and invested in their businesses and are not fly-by-night companies out to scam people. They are long standing businesses that respect the home and time of their customers and are working to do business long term.
A couple of other ways to check on a business is to make sure they have liability insurance in place, ask and call references, check out reviews online and get multiple bids. If a chimney company tells you that your chimney needs a bunch of work done you can also get a second opinion from another company.
The bottom line is that you need to be aware and be smart to detect any scam that might come knocking on your door. They say you get what you pay for, and while that is often true, when scammed, you get way less than you pay for.