What a fucked up way to treat people!! Whatever you do, don’t let these guys do any of your chimney needs! Or anything else on their list!! I have heard of scams so I was cautious, but these guys are scammers!! They wanted to rip apart my chimney to “fix the original install”.
I called NFC Chimney & Masonry, who installed the fireplace insert and has cleaned it every year. Scheduled a cleaning…and these BOZOs show up, saying that they bought out NFC’s chimney services. That was RED FLAG #1, they never told me that on the phone or even half way through the “cleaning”.
Now, I don’t mind paying for a chimney cleaning and inspection, it keeps the house smoke free and makes me feel like the house isn’t going to burn down, especially if I leave the house with a fire going!
This is how I found out this guy is a scammer:
Last year was a mild winter, so we didn’t use the fireplace insert as much as we normally do so I didn’t have it cleaned at the end of the season. The first fire of the season was nice…it burned for about a week. Then it got warm outside (about a week before Christmas) so I let the fire burn out. I cleaned ashes from the insert, closed the flue and waited for the next cold day. It was a complete surprise when the next fire filled the house with smoke…thick, heavy smoke, pushing through the gasket on the door! Almost like something was clogging the chimney. So I called my chimney guy..or so I thought. He was able to ‘have his guys come over in the morning’.
As soon as this guy pulled up, I knew something was off, but at this point, I still thought he was NFC. The guy was still eating his breakfast while he was talking to me…not just hold on a sec, but he damn near was spitting food while he spoke. Then his guys climb up on the roof and take the cap off…and he says “Oh SHIT! this is bad”, so they proceed to tell me that there is so much creosote in there that they were surprised that there wasn’t a fire. I said that’s not cool, I had it cleaned last fall, he said it hasn’t been cleaned for what looked like 5 years. I said, you guys came out last fall…that is when I got details of the acquisition and why (details I really don’t give a rat’s ass about). He said there was too much damage done and they would have to replace the entire liner, maybe 7k. Considering that it’s only 5-6 years old, I was immediately suspicious and told him that he’s crazy, that it’s only a few years old. I said, I just won’t use it!! One of the guys comes down from the roof and says, “I know why it’s blowing smoke”! He said that the people that installed it cut it about 12 inches short and went from a 6″ liner to a 4″ liner and it was cemented in. McNamara tells me he can fix that for about 1k, but he would have to tear apart the top of the chimney because of the cement. again…told him, just not going to use it!
He left his official proposal in my mailbox a couple days later…it says
“If you want the liner repaired call me”
Are you fucking kidding me?? How could anyone take this seriously?? He dug out some nasty-ass piece of paper out of his truck and wrote like a 6 year old. <sarcasm>Sure, I’m going to give you more money</sarcasm>
I asked a few people for a decent chimney sweep…also asked on facebook! Once I got a few names, I did some research and checked reviews…new ones , as well as some of the older ones. This name came up more than once…I liked his website…liked all the fire safety certs he has…like that he is a local guy!
I called him and asked him if he could come out and do an inspection. He was nice enough to squeeze me in! As soon as he walked in the door, I knew I called the right guy. I explained that I had just had it cleaned, but the house is still filling with smoke even though the ‘draft’ seems to be fine. He went up on the roof, did the inspection up there, came back down, pulled one plate off of the back of the insert and found the problem. The combustion chamber for the stove was clogged with creosote.
You can’t really tell by this picture, but the creosote is about 6-8″ thick.
Once that was cleaned out (with nothing more than a paint brush and a shop-vac), you would think it was a brand new fireplace insert!
Been burning ever since! thanks to Lou Curley!