Scammers infiltrating the chimney cleaning and repair industry tend to follow the same patterns of other home improvement industries. They begin with a phone call to lure homeowners with too-good-to-be-true solicitations. They bombard you with a knock at the door and a sales pitch. Some even use fear by claiming you need a chimney relining or some costly repair simply because you may lack the knowledge of what your chimney really needs.
Scammers Approach Consumers Throughout the Country
Generally, chimney scams are more prevalent in the northeastern part of the country. Perhaps this is because cold weather tends to strike this region. However, consumers may encounter deceptive chimney contractors in the Midwest, South and West.
Because scammers don’t mind targeting anyone, anywhere and at any time, you want to keep your eyes and ears open. First, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is not something you want to buy.
Research before Making Snap Decisions
Whenever you need to hire a contractor, it is in your best interest to research different companies before hiring one to work on any part of your home. Get at least three quotes before work begins. This gives you some insight on what may be involved with repairing or cleaning your chimney.
If you have very little knowledge about chimneys, this also gives you a chance to get information about some of the common things needed. Be wary of upfront prices that seem to low ball other contractors. Additionally, never let a chimney contractor pressure you into making a quick decision. The work will get done, but it should get done by the best contractor for the job.
Ask whether the contractors are insured and bonded. Don’t just take their word for it; ask for proof from an insurance agent or insurance company.
Avoid Scammers, Not Chimney Checkups
While you should be wary of questionable companies, your chimney still needs regular service to avoid hazards. Annual inspections are recommended for all types of chimneys including gas or wood-burning.
Creosote can build up. Animals can move in or debris can accumulate and block the flue. A professional chimney contractor will check various parts for problems like chimney fires or carbon monoxide leaks.
If possible, get your chimney serviced April through September instead of waiting until the burning season starts. Some contractors may offer off-season discounts. You may also receive faster service before cold weather starts.