If you’re the owner of a home that has one or more chimneys, you’ve probably already figure out that regular maintenance is necessary. Routine chimney sweeps make sure the smoke and soot don’t get trapped and sent back into the home. They also identify any repair issues that may have arisen.
Thankfully though, these routine inspections and repairs usually aren’t needed very often. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, all chimneys should be professionally inspect at least once a year to make sure things are on the up and up.
It does happen quite frequently, however, that repairs are necessary. Keep in mind that many chimneys are in older houses, and may have been subject to a lot of wear and tear for many years. Unexpected chimney repairs are never something people budget for, and definitely never something people are happy about having to pay for. But when it has to be done, it has to be done. Fortunately there are skilled chimney specialists who make a living at this, have been doing it a long time, and consequently know what they’re doing.
But if you’re in need of chimney repair, and you’re scanning the web (or perhaps even one of those old phone books) for the best possible options, how do you know where to start. In other words, how do you know for sure if your chimney repair specialist is legitimate?
A simple equation
When you combine years of experience with a good online reputation (backed by plenty of positive customer reviews), you’re on the right track. Chimney repair and maintenance is something that requires finesse, training, excellent equipment, and the ability to adapt to many different situations.
You’ll probably find a few chimney specialists out there who don’t seem to have any customer reviews, and who can’t honestly say they have much experience at all. They may be licensed, and this is obviously important — but are they really going to give you the best advice and service? After all, the chimney isn’t something you want to keep coming back to and spending money on. It’s something you want to deal with decisively, at the best possible price. You want to rely on the maintenance and repairs you’re paying for, without having to second guess or wonder whether your specialist is really doing a thorough job.
Other signs that your chimney repair specialist is legitimate include organized and informative web sites, quick call backs (strong communication in general), and transparent fee structures.
Getting to the bottom of it
Chimney repair and maintenance are worth staying on top of. If you forget to call for routine chimney maintenance one year, or if you ignore lingering chimney repair problems, you’re likely to pay the price down the line. Look for a licensed, reputable contractor for this type of work — you should be able to find a good professional in your area. Make sure to ask the right questions, and ensure you’re getting the most for your maintenance and repair dollars.