Let’s be honest—chimney repair and chimney cleaning are two things homeowners tend to ignore until it becomes absolutely necessary. Owning a home (and working to pay for it) is full of challenges and details that need attention. The chimney is one detail that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, and people often forget about it
Then your chimney starts acting up. You notice strong odors, efflorescence, spalling, or even mortar damage. Maybe you don’t see anything wrong, but you suddenly realize how long it’s been since you had that chimney professionally serviced.
Now you’re faced with the very important question of who to call. Are all chimney specialists the same? I don’t really want put money into my chimney, but since I have to, how do I make sure the cleaning and/or repair work is done to the highest professional standard?
There are a few key things to look for when you research chimney specialists. Look for the following qualities to help narrow your search.
1. Fully licensed and insured
This may seem like a given, but there are actually “companies” out there who don’t have the proper authorization to work on chimneys. Anybody can take out an advertisement in various online or paper business directories, or even post flyers around town. But you want to make sure your chimney specialist has the tools and experience necessary to service your chimney properly. Making sure they’re fully licensed and insured to do clean and service chimneys is crucial—especially since this work can be dangerous.
2. Excellent online feedback
The most experienced and skilled chimney companies leave a long trail of positive feedback. Clients are happy with the assessment, advice, cleaning and repairs they’ve received, and they let the world know about it. If you find a company with consistently good reviews on social platforms like Google+ and Angie’s List, your chances of receiving a professional service are that much higher.
3. Clear web sites and honest fee structures
When a company presents muddled information, it’s safe to say their chimney cleaning and repair work will be equally sub-standard. This may not seem like a big deal, especially if you’re able to save a few bucks. But when chimney’s aren’t service correctly by fully trained specialists, you’ll almost always see greater costs down the line.
It’s also important to get clear estimates for any work you’re considering, including cleaning. Companies with vague or noncommittal fee structures should generally be avoided.
4. Starts with a detailed inspection
Avoid companies who make assumptions about what’s going on, and simply dive into repairs without really checking things out. You might be paying for something you don’t even need. Upstanding chimney companies will insist on a detailed chimney inspection that gives you all the information you need before making a decision.
5. Offers a comprehensive list of chimney repair and cleaning services
Some specialists only do cleaning. Others only repair certain parts of the chimney. The best companies offer a full suite of services, from inspections and assessments to routine cleanings and complex repairs.
A chimney solution you can rely on
Chimney maintenance is certainly not something most homeowners look forward to. But finding a trustworthy specialist who deals with problems efficiently and affordably is the best way to minimize the stress and costs involved, and keep your chimney working like it should for years to come.