With winter around the corner, it is the time to get your chimney swept by certified chimney sweep. Chimney Sweep is the person who has been trained in chimney operations and knows your chimneys in and out. These professionals are a part of chimney sweep association which holds all the records of their professional expertise and provides them the necessary chimney sweep training. They are well acquainted with the potential failure modes of fireplaces. With a little time spent around your chimney, they can surely detect the problems and bring it to your attention
It’s been a while since you have used the chimney since last winter. Naturally there would be dust, smoke residues like creosote and bird nests built up in the vent. High winds or driving rain can also damage chimneys. As a rule, a chimney should have a rain cap to keep out animals and water as these are the primary reasons chimneys fail.
These blockages restrict the smoke from passing out to the environment and needs to be cleaned beforehand. While many choose to clean the chimney by themselves, it is not recommended at all. This is because of the limited access to the cleaning equipment and lack of complete know how of chimney operations. Also, if you hire a Chimney Sweep, you will get the certificate for the same. For having a valid home insurance, you must have the chimney sweep certificate on the file. The owners of houses with fire places are obliged to have their chimneys cleaned annually as these houses are fire prone. A significant share of house fires is caused because of the chimney malfunctions.
So yes, always hire a well reputed service for Chimney sweep training and always ask for the certificate. If you don’t, you are sure to miss the home insurance benefits. You are not entitled to home insurance benefits as you have not closed the loose ends by doing the periodic chimney sweep.
If you place a claim for a fire then your property will be visited by an insurance ‘expert’. These are the companies who review claims for insurers. They work independently from the insurance companies. When the experts visit your property, the first thing they will be asking will be “are the fireplace and chimney in good condition and has been swept regularly”. If there are disputes, then the only way you can prove the compliance with the requirement is the chimney sweep certificate you got from the chimney sweep association.
Don’t mind spending extra bucks for the reputed Chimney Sweep. They not only clean the chimneys, they also make you aware of current and potential issues with the structure, smoke chamber and the lining.Keep a log of recent chimney sweeps done to avoid any further complications while claiming the insurance. Check for the legal guidelines if you have been using the fireplace over a long time. Also have the insurance terms and applicable cover for such fireplaces. It is always recommended to ask the detailed report by the Chimney Sweep along with the certificate.