There are lots of unscrupulous chimney companies out there and The Chimney Medic wants to make sure its customers - past, present and future - are informed about the ways of scammers.  

The Chimney Medic has assembled examples you can be taken in by unsavory chimney companies. 

Use the icons around the circle to read about the ways you can be scammed. Or you can sit back and watch the list of scams as a slide show.

Uninvited Chimney Sweeps

NEVER hire a chimney sweep who shows up at your door uninvited. There are many home improvement scams that commonly take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners; fly-by-night chimney sweep scams is one of the most prevalent. And be aware of telemarketing offers of low price Sweeps. They want to get their foot in the door to charge you for unnecessary work. 


Most chimney sweeps are trained to take pictures from start to finish. You should be able to see photos of your chimney and firebox from your chimney sweep and there should be things in the photos that identify them as photos of your home! If your chimney technician tells you that you have a problem, they should be able to show you that problem in the photos as well.


Make sure that you verify that your Chimney Sweep is properly licensed in New York and New Jersey and a member of the CSIA - Chimney Safety Institute of America.  Reputable companies employ only CSIA-certified technicians and proudly display their credentials on their paperwork, website and vehicles. 


During his investigative work, he looks very concerned. He informs you that your chimney is a fire hazard and that you must stop using it immediately.
He warns you that any little spark could ignite a fire and put your whole house to flames in short order. He claims to have found glazed creosote throughout the chimney, which is highly flammable. Of course, this concerns you greatly and you ask him what it would take to clean it out and fix it, so it is no longer a fire hazard. This is when the contractor hits you with a quote of thousands of dollars. You are shell-shocked by the price, while still very much concerned about the possibility of your fireplace starting a fire in your house. After thinking it over, you agree to the cost and he gets to work. Unfortunately, there is no fire hazard, and the contractor has just scammed you out of your hard-earned income.


Some chimney companies claim that they have been referred by your utility provider, making you think it is a legitimate call. Once a scammer is in your home, they love to pretend that the job is much worse than anticipated. They will seem very concerned and will appear to be looking out for your best interest. One of the common ways to boost the cost of the job is by claiming that your chimney is a fire hazard. They use scare tactics by telling you that you need it fixed immediately or you could lose your home to a fire.


The scammer contacts you (via email, phone, etc.) and offers you a special on chimney cleaning for a ridiculously low price, such as $39.95. If you’ve just moved into a new home, they may say that the previous residents (and mention their names to add credibility) used their company.
Once they get to your home, they inspect your chimney and tell you that there is structural damage, or that you need new chimney caps (also known as spark arresters). They may even bring in dead birds or pieces of concrete that they claim fell down the chimney.