Thanks to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General for the great consumer tips on avoiding all aspects of winter scams.
Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane’s tips are actually applicable to all homeowners in the U.S., so we’ll repeat them here: Beware of free or low-cost chimney cleaning services; beware of high-pressure claims for making immediate repairs; and the office recommends to “check and see if your contractor is affiliated with any nationally recognized groups, such as the Chimney Safety Institute of America.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.
Furthermore, the AG says:
- Get a second opinion and several bids.
- Check the contractor’s references. Reviews and other information are available from the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.
- Avoid agreeing to same-day installation. Request a photo or video as proof of the recommended repairs.
- Don’t accept broken debris as evidence that chimney repairs are needed. Ask to see what is broken or collapsed.
- Learn about products and repairs that are specific to furnaces, fireplaces and chimneys before the repair person arrives.
At the Chimney Safety Institute of America, one aspect of being safe is knowing that the job has been done right.
That’s why CSIA encourages that consumers be diligent about finding a reputable contractor. We state, rather emphatically, “It is of utmost importance to choose a contractor that you feel comfortable hiring to provide the work. Likely price will not be the most important factor in the decision-making process.”
Most homeowners do not understand the details of fireplace construction and the clearance requirements. That is why there is a need for CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps to perform those inspections. The inspection process requires much more skill than simply sweeping the chimney.
Frances L. Kelly, executive director of the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
“You are building a fire in the middle of your home, so you want to make sure you hire the best of the best to come in and service your fireplace and chimney,” said Frances L. Kelly, executive director of the Chimney Safety Institute of America.