scam alerts

Here is something to think about… Nearly 95% of single-family homes in the Northeast have a chimney or vent. Out of that, at least 80% of these homeowners have never hired a chimney service provider. It really doesn’t matter if your chimney is used for a traditional fireplace, venting a gas insert, woodstove, a furnace or water heater, you should have an inspection done yearly and your flue swept as needed.

Our industry gets a bad rap a lot of times. Sadly, there are a lot of scam companies out and about. As the cold weather sticks around, the scammers seem to come out of the woodwork, trying to take your money for services they are not trained to provide. As with any service you have done (home repair, car repair, etc), you should make sure you are as educated as possible so that you can make an informed decision and not be taken advantage of. We care about our customers. Even if you aren’t a customer yet, you are still a part of our community and we want to make sure that when it comes to your chimney, you protect yourself and know when you can trust a legit company.

Here are 4 things to watch for before you let someone into your home:

Don’t fall for too good to be true pricing.
BEWARE OF COLD CALLS: A legitimate company won’t take a ladder off the truck for $49.95. Figure in equipment, payroll, liability insurance, gas etc. Fact is there are several out of state companies’ cold calling target areas everyday trying to get their foot into your door to upsell a chimney liner. You can be on the lookout for these companies by looking at their registration plates as they use out of state plates from New York & Connecticut. Massachusetts does not recognize them as an acceptable Home Improvement Contractor.

Depending on your area, an inspection and sweep can cost around $200.00. If you were quoted something significantly higher or lower it should raise a flag. Scammers are famous for using a super low discount to get their foot in the door so they can tell you that you need something more, like selling you an oil or gas stainless steel liner system that you may not need for upwards of $3,500.00 - $ 5,000.00 when the average liner for your furnace flue is from $2,000.00 – $3,000.00 depending on material and labor factors.

Don’t get pressured into fast action, Check their Insurance Certificates.
\ Professionals don’t use scare tactics. If you have had this problem for a year, two or three more days won’t hurt you. Check their insurance certificates. Did they provide you with their actual insurance certificates? A legitimate Company can provide you in hand with real insurance certificates for Worker’s Comp and Property Liability. Cheaper isn’t always best, if they don’t provide you with insurance certificates, don’t let them work on your property you could end up being sued if someone is hurt or worse yet if something happens to your home due to accident or negligence!

Your Safe With Affordable Chimney Sweeps as we have Full Worker’s Comp & General Property Liability Insurance: We Will Provide Insurance Certificates for Worker’s Compensation & General Liability Insurance! With the downturn on the economy, many companies have made cutbacks to their overhead. Unfortunately this includes the various types of insurance a Chimney Company should have as a Professional Business. There are companies in the area that when you ask them to provide you with the actual Certificates, they make plenty of excuses as to why they can’t produce you with any.

Disclosure NOTE: In Massachusetts all employers are required that all employees have Worker’s Compensation. Also for a bit extra information, Massachusetts does not require the owner of a company to have Worker’s Compensation. In the event that either the Owner or Employee of the company is injured on your property, you would be liable and financially responsible in the event of injury or death. Protect your family and investment! Get the Insurance Certifications!

A picture says a thousand words.
Most chimney sweeps are trained to take pictures from start to finish. “All of my technicians use digital cameras,” says Glenn Sharpe, owner of Affordable Chimney Sweeps. “We click a picture of their work order and the outside of the house and the next picture in line is their chimney. It’s not uncommon to have 5 or more pictures from top of the chimney to the firebox inside the home.” If your chimney technician tells you that you have a problem, they should be able to show you that problem as well
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Check their credentials & for National certifications.
Make sure you verify that whoever is coming to your home has proper licensing for the state you reside. Our Certified sweeps carry their credentials with them at every job. Are they CSIA Certified? Are they members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild?

The CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep credential is sign of excellence among chimney service professionals. To become CSIA Certified you must pass a set of exams in 3 hours based on IRC & NFPA Codes, Safety and standard chimney cleaning practices.  All of Affordable Chimney Sweeps Chimney & Masonry Service Lead Technicians are CSIA Certified. Industry leaders and knowledgeable homeowners know the quality and value this represents. As part of the certification, they must sign a Code of Ethics. This ethical accountability ensures that our company will provide you straight-ahead pricing information, provide you with outstanding service and always treat you and your home with respect and professionalism.

Go with your instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, ask them to leave. If you have had service by someone you now don’t think was a reputable company or if you have been given an estimate for work you really don’t feel is necessary, give us a call and we will be glad to verify anything you need.

Credentials: Chimney Safety Institute of America {CSIA} Certification Credentials. Being certified by the CSIA means that as chimney professionals we have made a firm commitment to study for rigorous tests to the National Fire Protection Association 211 and 54 Codes, the International Residential Codes {IRC} and Massachusetts State Codes in regards for clearances, standards, and practices involved in chimney sweeping, repairing and restoration and vast knowledge of chimney and venting systems associated with all types of residential heating systems. You should be careful of a person who is not certified or claims to be certified and isn’t. These business practices are not only improper & deceptive, but it puts you, your family and your home at risk with anyone who purchases a truck, ladders, some brushes and call themselves a chimney sweep. Verify Their Credentials!