Chimney cleaning scam - How to avoid
Fireplaces are a great thing to have especially during winter. Unfortunately most people do not know much about cleaning and maintaining their chimney. You must inform yourself on how not to fall for chimney scams.
The scamming process
The scam targets are usually new homeowners that most likely don’t know how the fireplace works yet. The scammer will contact the victim through e-mail or phone. He will say that the old homeowner used his service and will even give the old homeowner’s name to seem trustful. He will set a cleaning service price of around $40.
Before cleaning the chimney, the scammer will inspect it and tell you that your chimney has structural damage or needs a chimney cap. Sometimes, they will even bring pieces of concrete and tell you that the pieces fell from the chimney. Also, the scammer could tell you that you have carbon monoxide leaks. You must ask him to prove that. He should hae a special meter that shows the level of carbon monoxide in the room. Another way you could get scammed is if the serviceman tells you that you need to install a new chimney liner. In most cases. Apart from the fact that relining a chimney is very expensive, most of the times, the service man will use ill-fitted replacements instead of a new lining which is very dangerous.
Check the worker’s references before hiring him to do any work. Do not let yourself fooled by any kind, hard-working appearance that person might have.
Don’t get attracted by low prices. A usual chimney inspection costs around $75 and the actual cleaning costs around $150. The cleaning process takes at least an hour.
Check if the chimney cleaning company is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. It must also have an updated liability insurance. Even if not all chimney cleaners require a license to function, check the local municipal and see if yours does.
In some places, you can call the fire department to inspect your chimney for free. They can even tell you of a good local chimney cleaning company.
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