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A Requirement for More Than 90 years

For more than 90 years, U.S. code has expected that all residential masonry chimneys have flue tile liners. Despite this long-standing requirement, many chimneys have been built with no liner!

Chimney sweeps often perform relining for chimneys. When it’s determined that a chimney has no liner or that the liner is in disrepair, the chimney ought to be relined with a stainless steel tube. This is a safety and health requirement, considering that a chimney contains the byproducts of combustion. CO2 and CO Monoxide poisoning can happen in older homes with active chimneys that are compromised.

Residential Chimney Relining applications

Relining is also used to reline factory built fireplaces which have a modern pellet or wood burning insert installed inside of them. The objective of an intact flue is to contain the smoke and gases of the fireplace. When a masonry flue is compromised through years of exposure to acid rain (because no chimney cap was installed) or earthquake (as in California and the western states) or sulfuric compounds from high efficiency home furnaces or boilers being vented inside of the flue, the best option is to have a stainless steel liner tube dropped down from top to bottom and connected to the appliance creating the exhaust. This new tube is called a liner, and the process in total is commonly referred to as “relining a chimney.”

Residential Chimney Relining Scammers- the upsell- do you really need it?

It is not surprising that many chimney service people are in the business of relining chimneys for profit. After all who knows more about chimneys and fireplaces than chimney professionals? The consumer protection advocacy groups will warn any consumer against hiring a contractor to perform a large and expensive repair, like relining a chimney, who just showed up to your house to do some other chimney related service like an annual chimney sweep. Many businesses coach their employees in upselling, and most of the time it is a win-win. But when upselling training gets greedy and technicians are paid on huge commissions, we will caution you against the integrity of the service provider.

How to Protect yourself from Residential Chimney Sweep Scammers

Ask for Proof. Simply ask the technician to prove to you the necessity of the repair. All professional chimney sweeps have a chimney scanning camera on every service van. The camera will expose the cracks and broken flue tiles or missing mortar that is of concern. You should be able to see the picture and see the crack, missing mortar, etc. If the chimney professional does not own or possess a camera for looking inside your chimney flue, then he is not qualified to execute a Level II sweep and inspect and cannot recommend that you need a chimney relining done. If you don’t understand the problem, and the technician cannot help you understand the problem, then wait until you get more information. You should always get 3 bids on all large home service projects. especially chimney relining projects that may be thousands of dollars. Many of these “chimney scammers” have been exposed on TV shows and in newspaper articles. As first line of defense, select a Certified Chimney Professional to review your fireplace needs, and select a company with good online reviews and integrity of their website

Integrity of Chimney Service Professionals

The basics of protecting yourself are just that- common sense. If the professional is missing any of the following, be warned.

  • Certifications of technical knowledge (all Midtown Chimney Sweeps are  CCP Certified)
  • Integrity of the company (all Midtown Chimney Sweeps sign an Ethics Statement)
  • Integrity of the owner/manager (at Midtown Chimney Sweeps we strive to follow the Golden Rule – treat others as we would have them treat us)
  • A professional website, vehicle, and business cards (Midtown Chimney Sweeps is a leader– you’re reading our article!)
  • Excellent Online Reviews (Midtown Chimney Sweeps has great reviews!)

We hope this article has been helpful to you as you evaluate your chimney service company.