What to consider when hiring a Houston Chimney Sweep.
When considering a company to service your chimney in Houston there are some specific qualifications your chimney sweep should hold. I will be discussing what certifications and licenses your Houston chimney sweep should hold as well as what any service company should have before stepping foot on a private residence. I recomend you as a homeowner should do your homework before hiring a Houston Chimney Sweep.
Qualifying questions to ask your Houston chimney sweep.
QUESTION 1...How long have you been in business and can you prove it? Experience and longevity in any industry tells more of what a company is like than any other source. If you have never heard of the company you are inquiring about then ask them to provide proof of years of service. They can tell you to look at the BBB's records for them or provide a copy of their sales tax permit. The sales tax permit is awesome because it tells the start date and lets you know they are legal to do business.
Question 2...Is you company a full time Houston chimney sweep? The chimney sweeping business is a great business year round for someone to make a career out of, however many people see it as a secondary income to do part time seasonal. The problem with these seasonal businesses is that they don't get the necessary training to properly service your fireplace. The industry calls these businesses "just a guy with a ladder and a vacuum". Cleaning a chimney is not that difficult, but if not done perfect will cause major sooting of the house. If sooting occurs outside the fireplace it will cost thousands of dollars to clean up. Many (if not all) of these part time seasonal do not carry the proper insurance to cover sooting. Accidents happen to the best of us, you need to make sure you ask the next question.
Question 3...Are you insured? Do you have liability and workers compensation insurance? As I was saying, accidents happen, you need to make sure if one occurs on your property the company has the proper insurance to cover the damage or injury. An excellent Houston chimney sweep could be cleaning your fireplace and a rare vacuum malfunction could happen creating a sooting situation in your home. With the correct training the chimney technician should be able to shut down the vacuum in time to minimize the sooting. It happens rarely, but unfortunately it happens so liability insurance is a must. Also if a serviceman gets injured on your property you may be liable unless they have workers compensation. The Houston chimney sweep will most likely be getting on your roof to inspect the exterior of the chimney, you need to make sure they are covered if he falls off with worker compensation.
Question 4...Is the Houston chimney sweep doing your Houston chimney cleaning certified? This is a real simple question that only has one answer for you the homeowner, YES. When there are certified chimney professionals in Houston, why would you hire someone that hasn't proven they know what they are doing? It is not state mandated to be certified in the chimney industry, although it should be. Ask yourself this question, "Do I want to hire someone that may or may not know what he is doing OR do I want to hire someone that has taken the time, when not mandated by the state to even do so, to educate themselves on being a top professional in their industry?" You certainly wouldn't put your family on a plane with an unlicensed pilot, why would you let someone service your fireplace that you start a fire in your own living room that does not have any proven training?