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Avoid the Chimney Sweep Scam

Your Chimney Sweep, did he find you or did you find him? Read more.

  • Do not hire Chimney Sweeps that call you, they are Scammers!
  • Look for a local Certified Chimney Sweep from the Chimney Safety Institute of America WWW.CSIA.ORG (Individuals are certified, not company’s and they should be able to show you their picture ID) and is their company a member of The National Chimney Sweep Guild WWW.NCSG.ORG (companies are member not individuals.)
  • Be sure they are a licensed Home Improvement Contractor with that number on there business card and bill head (that is the law in NY and CT)
  • Ask for a certificate of insurance including Workers Comp
  • Get more than one estimate, inspection (don’t tell them what you know, let them tell you what they find and why some thing is needed).
  • Check out your Chimney Sweep, www.bbb.org, Angie’s List, your heating company, family and friends
  • Have your chimneys and vents checked every year by a CSIA certified chimney sweep before using them or any time you experience any problems.

For more info visit www.Jamesballchimney.com "We Kick Ash"

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Michael Dinan (Editor) May 26, 2012 at 01:45 AM
James, you earned automatic points with me from your slogan "We Kick Ash" -- I'm not far from your base in Stamford, so we'll be calling you. Talk to you soon!
Leslie Yager May 26, 2012 at 01:17 PM
James brought our dryer vent up to code. (Lint built up in the back of a dryer frequent source of house fires.)
Victoria Hart Glavin May 26, 2012 at 03:12 PM
This is really important. So many people don't clean out their dryer vents. When I bought my house in Wilton I discovered that the vent had NEVER been cleaned out. It was packed with lint.... I mean PACKED! Talk about a fire hazard!
James Ball May 26, 2012 at 03:18 PM
thanks for responding Leslie and Victoria, I will be posting next week about Dryer Vent safety, but for now keep in mind that is not only a fire hazard but it will increase your dryer times quite a bit.
Four Jacks May 26, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Well, the real Chimney Corners is not that much better than your local scammer. Their guy shredded my chimney liner and left it in a ball in the flue, then left because he didn't feel well. He never told me and never came back, then 2 nights later I had a puff-back. The liner had to be pulled out like a 500 foot long snake. The owner of the company would not call me back, she was in Florida. I finally threatend to take legal action and did get my call returned, with a lame apology. Never use Chimney Corners!!!!!!
Sushi May 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Where is the original article here? What are you talking about Chimney Corners? I have used them for years and have had zero problems with my chimney. Can you tell me why you are singling them out and calling them scammers? They were nicer than any of the others I've ever called. And they've been in Stamford for years and years. This is really unsettling. What info can you provide to back up your allegations Four Jacks?
James Ball May 28, 2012 at 12:38 AM
There was an article about "Scammers" claiming to be from Chimney Corners, and those scammers where caught and arrested. I too have known of Chimney Corners for many years as fellow sweeps and have not heard any thing bad about them.
Sushi May 28, 2012 at 02:40 AM
That's too bad because they have been around for a long time and have been really good to deal with. They offered and honored any discount they sent to me and my chimney was always squeaky clean, no mess at all! They even instructed me to turn off the A/C when they came so the soot wouldn't blow all over the living room when they were cleaning it. And they really don't do dryer vents - that's not their business model. Just chimneys. I like the husband/wife team that own it and they even told me where the name chimney corners came from when I first moved here - it was a former restaurant/Inn at the beginning of Long Ridge Rd that was a Stamford landmark years. If memory serves me correctly, they were also located there at one point. Now, I think they are in Norwalk. It's a good company "Mom and Pop" small business type and obviously someone has tried to tarnish their good name. Thank you for your integrity and for not bashing the competition. I am sure you are well deserving of your high marks too!
Four Jacks May 28, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Personal experience. I'm sorry Sushi, but this really happened. I have witnesses because I was having an addition put on the house and my contractor came over and supervised the enitre removal of the shredded liner. I would not lie about this. I have since moved to another chimney company. The worst part was that this happened during the winter, and I was repeatedly told by the office that the owner could not call me back because she was in Florida for the winter.
JR May 29, 2012 at 04:42 PM
When I bought my house in the mid-90's, I was given a coupon for a $15 chimney cleaning and inspection. They were at my house for 3 hours. One hour to clean the chimney and two hours trying to sell me everything from a new chimney to a new roof. The house had been inspected prior to purchase and the fireplace flue was the only thing that needed to be done. When I showed the chimney dude my inspection report, he said they can't make any money on a $15 cleaning.
James Ball May 29, 2012 at 05:33 PM
1st not all Home Inspectors know what to look for in a chimney or dryer vent, 2nd a normal Chimney cleaning runs between $100.00-$200.00, so you can see how they try to "up sell you", these are the Scammer Sweeps to look out for. "$15 Chimney Cleaning sounds to good to be true" When we inspect a chimney I point out what is needed, explain why, and get you an estimate for that work, then wait to hear from you, never a hard sell, if we find a "Blocked Chimney" for example and I tell you it will cost $1.00 (or what ever it might be) to clean it and you say "no thank you" I may have you sign some thing so I can say I warned you how dangerous it could be. Chimneys and Vents should be checked every year and it is best to do it now in the slower time of the year, when the fall starts September 1st- March is the busy time for all sweeps and you could wait 2 months for an appointment.
Sam Mihailoff May 29, 2012 at 05:35 PM
said they can't make any money on a $15 cleaning. well...at least that part was honest
James Ball May 29, 2012 at 06:23 PM
True, that part was honest but this is how they Scam you with really cheap price, they pray on the elderly, "we have that liner in the truck" they also try to scare you with Co poisoning which can happen. If you ever feel pressured or scared, call a Certified Sweep or your heating contractor and tell them what the Scammer told you, also "Get It In Writing" "We Kick Ash" Jamesballchimney@aol.com
Bonnie Sinclair May 30, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Hi James, I fell victim to one of the "scammers" because they used a familiar company name. I was called by the nicest but persistent woman. When I researched the company on the BBB website they looked great! The guys looked less than professional when they arrived and caused a puff back into my entire house. The moral of the story is as you mentioned in your article you should call them not have them call you. B. Sinclair
James Ball May 31, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Bonnie I am so sorry to hear you where "scammed" by these crooks, has the chimney been looked at since and/or corrected? They could have made your home very unsafe. www.Jamesballchimney@aol.com "We Kick Ash"

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