A home inspection of any home with a wood burning fixture, be it furnace, stove or fireplace should include a recommendation to have the chimney and flue inspected, and serviced or repaired if warranted, by a certified chimney sweep.
Yeah but... since it is a violation of our ethical standards to provide the service or repair ourselves or to recommend a specific provider (appearance of possible conflict of interest) how does our client know who to contact?
Our suggestion is to look to the national certifying agencies. There are several with the best know being CSIA, Chimney Safety Institute of America, and NCSG, National Chimney Sweep Guild. Always check to see that anyone selected is certified and you can verify that online or with a call to the agency. A simple Bing or Google search should turn up several in your area.
What to look for in a chimney sweep? Step one, we have already mentioned, check certification.
Beyond that, beware of anyone who shows up at your door claiming to be "Just working in the neighborhood and noticed..."
If they ask for payment in advance, with a check made out to Cash, BAD SIGN.
Watch out for low bids. A quality craftsman is worth a fair and reasonable price.
Get a written estimate on company letterhead. Three estimates are always preferred but not always readily available.
Check with you Realtor, they may have local knowedge about service providers that can save you both time and grief.
Mid-America Inspection Services, serving Fargo and West Fargo, North Dakota, Moorhead, Alexandria, Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Wadena and the Minnesota Lakes Region