Now that cooler temperatures have arrived, many homeowners are looking forward to using their fireplaces. After all, it keeps themselves and their families warm! To ensure your fireplace is safe to use this fall and winter, it is recommended that all homeowners have their chimneys swept.
However, not all chimney sweeps are created equal. The following guide can help homeowners understand what to expect during a proper chimney sweeping.
When it comes to servicing your fireplace and chimney, less expensive does not always mean best. Competent, certified professionals often charge higher rates; this is due to their education, training, quality equipment, insurance, and more. Likewise, less reliable companies may charge rock-bottom prices. Why? In most cases, in order to overshadow their shoddy workmanship or lack of qualifications!
Certifications and Credentials
Chimney sweeps should have certifications and credentials from trusted professional organizations. One of the most respected professional certifications in the fireplace industry is that by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. CSIA certified chimney sweeps undergo a rigorous education and testing process as well as follow a professional code of conduct; CSIA sweeps also carry laminated badges with their names and photo as a way to verify their certification. Other guilds and professional organizations include the National Chimney Sweep Guild and the National Fireplace Institute.
Making an Appointment
The months of fall and winter are the busiest time of the year for chimney sweeps. This may cause greater-than-normal wait times before appointments. Try to schedule an appointment time that works for your schedule, as someone will need to be home during the chimney sweeping. Finally, refrain from using your fireplace for at least 24 hours before the chimney sweeping appointment. This is because sweeps may be unable to safely surface a hot chimney!
Will there be a mess?
Professional chimney sweeps will take great care to ensure they leave your home in the same condition as when they arrived. Sweeps will use drop cloths to protect floors and furnishings near the fireplace. Many use rug runners or wear protective coverings on their shoes to prevent tracking ash or soot through your home.
In addition to preventative measures, the tools used by a chimney sweep can prevent messes in your home. Fitted brushes, professional grade vacuums, and even shovels are used to loosen and remove soot, ash, and creosote from the fireplace and flue.
When the sweeping is finished, the chimney sweep should report to you about what was done to the fireplace, as well as the condition of your chimney system. If an inspection was done at the same time as the sweeping, any discovered damage will be reported and potential repairs may be recommended.
Scheduling Your Next Appointment
The CSIA recommends that all homeowners have their chimney swept at least once per year. After your appointment, the chimney sweep may give you the option to forward schedule your next appointment. While it may seem odd to schedule a chimney sweeping a year in advance, doing so ensures you find a convenient day and time. In addition, it also prevents this important maintenance from being forgotten!
A proper annual chimney sweeping ensures your fireplace and chimney are in good condition and safe to use for the upcoming burning season. For more information on what to expect from your next chimney sweeping contact us at Chimney TEK today.