If you have a home with a chimney or fireplace, then you likely have it inspected annually and cleaned routinely as needed. These types of services keep the system working efficiently and safely season after season and year after year. The inspection is designed to assess the safety and function of the system in accordance with the way it’s used and the municipal codes of your community. A free estimate has a different purpose and is not the same as an inspection, though some confuse the two.

The Cost
Your inspection will have a cost. It is an assessment of the entire chimney system, including hidden portions that you cannot find or see. Your technician brings to the inspection experience to note problems before damage occurs, knowledge of federal, state, and local fire safety codes, and equipment to get a view of the flue’s interior. This appointment comes with a cost (though not as much as you might think), but when we’re finished, you’ll know what the problem is. A free estimate is what you’d schedule if you already know what the problem is. For example, you might find clay tile pieces in your fireplace and your masonry is too hot to the touch, so you may schedule an estimate for a relining. Maybe you’ve found a sheet of flashing on your lawn, so you schedule an estimate for flashing installation. This service is free because our technicians won’t need to assess the whole system looking for a problem. The problems is already known.

The Report
When you schedule a free estimate, you will receive a written estimate. This can be presented to your homeowners insurance, a lender who is financing your home or renovation, or a possible buyer during a home sale. However, your written estimate is not the same as your written CSIA inspection report. The report you receive after a CSIA inspection will be recognized by your insurance company, realtor, attorney, code enforcement, and fire marshall. The estimate is purely for reasons of pricing a repair, not diagnosing or reporting them.

Scheduling
It may be difficult to schedule an inspection during certain times of the year. Inspections require more time and equipment than an estimate. It’s best to schedule an inspection in advance to avoid the “fall rush”, the time between October and January when we’re particularly busy. This is a service which should be scheduled annually, and many customers schedule for the next year after their appointment. An estimate is usually scheduled when a homeowner notices a problem and needs immediate repair. Since these appointments are faster and require less time and usually don’t require equipment, a chimney sweep can come out and provide an estimate quickly and even squeeze it in during the busy season. It’s important to get the estimate done as soon as a problem is recognized so that a repair can be scheduled.

Do you need an estimate or inspection? You can call us 717-500-8522 and a chimney expert will set you up with your appointment. Not sure what exactly is wrong with the chimney? We can schedule an inspection as well.

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