It's that time of year when we first start to light up the fireplaces for more than just ambiance. But first, a word of caution from Mid America Inspection Services.
If you are new to the home and have no personal experience with the fireplace you should first have it professionally inspected, cleaned and any service or repairs needed for safe operation properly made.
If you haven't had the fireplace cleaned and inspected for some time, once again, we highly recommend having a through inspection by a certified chimney sweep. Creosote can build up to dangerous levels undetected. Materials, not readily visible to a home inspector or home owner, age, deteriorate and become unsafe. A proper inspection by a certified chimney sweep can help reduce chances of smoke and fire damage and potentially save lives.
Home Inspector Codes Of Ethics generally preclude recommending a specific service provider but Chimney Safety Institute of America and National Chimney Sweep Guild are both nationally recognized associations that can provide contact information for certified service providers.
At MAIS we always recommend verifying the credentials of any service provider.
Remember that it is always advisable to get at least three bids for any work to be performed. The bids should be provided on company letter head and define work to be done in some detail.
Watch out for low bids that can indicate a lack of understanding of the projects requirement, low quality workmanship or other potential problems. Professional bids will typically come in within 10% of each other.
Additionally, your local Realtor may have suggestions and experience with several chimney sweeps in your area.
Stay warm and enjoy your fireplace safely.