Tips for Finding a Chimney Professional in Your Area

Like most things, your chimney needs regular maintenance to keep working properly and safely. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 211 states: Chimneys, fireplaces and vents shall be inspected at least once a year. Connectors, spark arrestors, cleanouts and tee fittings connected to chimneys for oil, gas, wood, coal or pellet venting systems, shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness and deposits. Cleaning, maintenance and repairs shall be done if necessary.

If you are a homeowner, we can help you to locate a professional chimney sweep who will be able to offer you their professional services.

Hiring the right chimney technician to properly evaluate, sweep, and repair these systems is a very important decision. No other area has a more powerful impact on the well-being of your family than your heating and solid-fuel burning systems (furnaces, fireplaces, and wood stoves) and the chimneys through which they vent.

With so many chimney sweeps to choose from, it may be difficult to know if a sweep is reputable, well-trained, and operates with the highest degree of professionalism and integrity.

Massachusetts currently does not regulate chimney sweeping or chimney inspection, however, chimney construction and repairs are regulated by the State of Massachusetts and require all of the following:

  1. MA (HIC) Home Improvement Contractor’s registration
  2. MA (CSL) Construction Supervisor’s License
  3. Workman’s Compensation Insurance (This is not a requirement of the State for sole proprietors with no employees. Homeowners should consider the possible liability exposure of this exemption, and if you do hire a sole proprietor who has decided not to cover himself, you should at least make sure that you are hiring the owner and he is not using any other people.)

Homeowners should verify and get copies of all three of the above things before hiring someone to do a repair.

In order for a homeowner to make an informed decision regarding hiring a chimney company, they should also base their decision on the following criteria, all of which are requirements for being a Massachusetts Chimney Sweep Guild member:

  • Certification – The chimney company you hire should have technician (on staff) who is experienced and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), Certified Chimney Professionals (CCP), or a Massachusetts Chimney Sweep Guild’s Equivalency Test (MCSG-ET).
  • Liability Insurance – Homeowners should verify that the company has liability insurance by getting a certificate of insurance from their insurance company, made out in your name and listing you as a certificate holder or an additional insured.

Other Good Questions To Ask/Things To Do:

  • Inquire how long the firm has been operating.
  • Ask if they have local referrals you can verify.
  • Ask if the company holds any professional memberships or affiliations, then verify them. Most professional groups list members online.
  • Insist that all repair recommendations and costs are clearly equated and ensure all work to be performed is clearly documented in writing.