For It’s important to make the right decision when choosing a chimney cleaning service such as, as the industry isn’t government regulated and most states don’t require cleaners to be licensed. The safety of your home and your family’s health depends on making the right choice. You should expect to pay between about $150 and $350 for a standard chimney inspection and clean, depending on the size and condition of your chimney and the cleaning company you choose. Having your chimney cleaned regularly can save you money on future repairs and prevent creosote from building up, which can be a fire hazard.

As with just about any other home service, a good way to start is to try to get recommendations from neighbors, family or friends. Most of us are happy to recommend a reliable company that has given good service, and are just as quick to share our opinions if a company didn’t meet expectations. Of course, there are also various consumer review sites online, where you can find unbiased and honest reviews and comments from customers. Another good place to check is the website of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to find out if a particular cleaning company is certified; over 1,800 chimney cleaners all over the US have certification. And of course, a reputable chimney cleaning company should have references and should also be able to verify they have current business liability.

It’s also worth getting several estimates when choosing a chimney cleaning service. Remember that a reputable cleaning company will always provide an estimate in writing that is easy to understand and identifies and explains any issues clearly. Look for a cost breakdown if you are interested in different services, and if you don’t understand the estimate, always make a point of asking. A reliable contractor should be able to demonstrate to you by taking photographs that a particular repair or service is needed and won’t try to sell you something you don’t need. The best companies make sure that their employees receive ongoing training, and are happy to provide verification of this if asked.

As well as getting estimates, it often pays to meet with a company, either in your home or in their offices. Doing so provides you with an opportunity to assess the professionalism and general appearance of the company and its employees: Did they arrive on time? Is the technician polite, knowledgeable and able to explain things easily? Does their truck and equipment seem to be modern and well maintained? Communication is important to most of us; we want to work with a company that arrives on time, keeps appointments, gets the job done and cleans up afterwards.

You may also have to decide whether to employ a small company or a larger one to take care of your chimney needs and there advantages to both. A larger company may have more employees and is better able to visit your home when it suits you, even if it’s at the weekend or during the evening, although you may get a different technician on each visit. Arguably, you’ll get more personal service form a smaller company, especially one that is family run and has been serving the local area for many years. A smaller company has to rely more on word of mouth referrals from happy customer; often a reliable indication that the work will be carried out thoroughly and safely. However, if you choose a small company, their hours may be limited and there may be no toll free number available to call around the clock. And emergency call out service may not be offered by a smaller company.