Our Company Blog

Hire a Safe Sweep This Fall

Homeowners often spend the spring season completing maintenance and cleaning. However, if you didn’t include your chimney in your spring cleaning, it needs to be done before fall. Your chimney has been working for you, now you can return the favor by hiring a certified professional for the job. Don’t settle for an amateur. Schedule chimney services with a certified chimney sweep now, and your system will be ready for fires again this fall.

Hiring the Bestcsia-certification-image-boston-ma-billy-sweet-chimney-sweep

The chimney industry has been largely under-regulated for many years, but that doesn’t mean you have to hire just anyone for the job. When you’re looking to hire an expert who will come into your home and complete a service, it’s best to look only for professionals who have undergone training and testing that identifies them as exceptional. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has an extensive process that involves classroom or online education, in-person testing over federal standards and fire safety, recertification every three years, a stringent Code of ethics, and an impressive network of professionals. When you’re looking for the best, look no further than CSIA certified chimney sweeps.

Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep

At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep our sweeps are CSIA certified. That means we pledge to put safety first. We strive to offer honest services at a fair price. We comply with all applicable building codes and are familiar with all the municipal codes in the communities we serve. We educate consumers about safe chimney and venting practices. Our sweeps continue education in order to stay on top of the ever-changing industry and technologies. These things and more are included in the CSIA code of ethics, which if found in violation, can lead to revocation of membership.

30 Years of Experience Serving New England

For over 30 years, Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep has been servicing chimneys in New England. We provide the highest level of customer service and care to our customers in Boston, North Shore, and Scarborough. If you reside in the area and are looking to schedule chimney services, don’t settle for less than the best. Our record speaks for itself, but our customers speak up as well with online reviews and continued service. We are proud to serve our communities year after year, and we feel our community involvement helps make us the best providers in the area.

Scheduling Now Before Fall

If you schedule now, you can have your chimney sweep completed before fall. When you’re looking for a chimney professional, look no further than a Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep. We offer chimney sweeps and inspections year-round, but especially necessary in the fall. If you schedule your inspection or sweep now, there is still time to make necessary repairs before fall. If you wait, you may find yourself in the cold, unable to light a fire when temperatures drop.

Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep to schedule your chimney services now. Dial 617-469-4528 or schedule online.

Why Waterproof Your Chimney

Of all the things that can shorten the life of a perfectly good chimney, water is the worst. Not only does water wreak havoc on masonry—the very substance your chimney is made of—but it is everywhere. Water comes in different forms all year round. When temperatures fall, water in the chimney is even worse. Fortunately for our customers with masonry chimneys, there is something we can do to prevent water damage during all seasons, and year after year.

Water and Your Chimneysnowy roof with chimney

Because of the materials that make up masonry, water is best avoided. The porous nature of masonry is perfect for venting your fires, allowing smoke, gas, and heat to release through the brick and mortar. This also allows water in through the masonry—unless it’s prevented. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we recommend preventing chimney leaks before damage occurs.
Your chimney leak can lead to:

  • Rusted parts and assemblies
  • Tilted/collapsed/settled chimney
  • Cracked/damaged flue liner
  • Deteriorated central heat
  • Clogged clean-out system
  • Rotting adjacent wood/wall coverings
  • Water stained bricks/walls

In addition to physical damage, your leaky chimney may also result in a drop in efficiency. A drop in efficiency means a rise in fire risk, putting your home and your family at risk.

Prevent Leaks From the Top Down

In order for your chimney to be truly waterproof, it must have all the necessary parts installed and in proper working order. The first thing we check when we get a call about a leaky chimney is the flashing. It is often improperly installed and a common point of water entry. The chimney must also have a chimney cap and crown to shed water from the top of the chimney.

Once all these components are in place, we can take it one step further by waterproofing the masonry itself. Our waterproofing agent is vapor-permeable which means the heat and gas produced by your fire will still be able to escape but water molecules will not be allowed in. This barrier penetrates deeply into the masonry so even cracks and gaps are protected from water penetration—and this protection lasts ten years!

When to Schedule Waterproofing

If you have never had your chimney masonry waterproofed or it has been more than a decade, it’s time to schedule this important appointment. Other water repellants and sealants from your local hardware store are not enough. In fact, most of them do more harm than good. Most sealants and repellants may keep water out, but also seal gases and moisture IN. This leads to a host of other problems. Let our team at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep do the job, and get it right the first time.

We also install chimney caps, repair and install flashing, replace throat dampers with new, top-sealing dampers with an airtight seal, and repair and seal damaged crowns.

Don’t wait. Have your chimney waterproofed now, and you won’t have to worry about the water freezing in your masonry this winter. Worry about the rest of your summer, and leave the chimney up to us!

Call our Boston, North Shore, or Portland location today.

What is Tuckpointing, Repointing, and Spalling?

There are many things that can go wrong with your masonry chimney over the years, and water is your chimney’s number one enemy. No matter how well-your chimney is constructed, time and weather can lead to damage called spalling. Many homes experience spalling, though not all homeowners know what it’s called, how to identify it, or what to do about it. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we can help!

Spalling Masonry

sweep carrying ladderWhen mortars crack, flake, and fall away, the bricks can become unstable and even loosen completely. This is called spalling, and it can eventually result in crumbling brick and mortar, which can become a serious hazard if you don’t address it timely. If you notice cracking mortar, gapped masonry, or brick pieces on the roof or yard below, you need to call a certified professional right away to address the proper repairs.

Repairing Spalling Masonry

The only way to properly repair spalling masonry is by carefully removing the affected bricks and mortar. A certified chimney sweep will mix new mortar to match the old mortar in strength, consistency, and color. This step is extremely important because failing to match the mortar exactly will result in a weak chimney. Once the mortar is mixed, the bricks are replaced and the result is a fully restored chimney that shows no evidence of a repair.

When the job is done improperly, it can detract from the look of the chimney and decrease your home’s value. This entire process is called tuckpointing or repointing. Only certified professionals should do it, and most amateurs don’t have the proper skills to do it. When you’re scheduling these important services, it’s important to choose chimney experts who have plenty of experience and knowledge of all types of masonry.

Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep Fixes Masonry

No matter the size of your chimney or the type of stone, we can help repair it. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we have the experience and the technique to get even the toughest jobs done. We know which materials to use and how so that your chimney will expand and contract as necessary. Do you think your chimney masonry needs some attention? Schedule a chimney inspection with our team so that your system is safe and ready for fall.

In addition to tuckpointing, we also repair crowns, flue liners, and leaks. Our team of expert technicians doesn’t just repair damage; we correct the problem that caused the damage in the first place. In order to prevent such damage before it starts, we also offer waterproofing services for all masonry structures.

Our vapor-permeable water repellent allows the chimney to breathe while keeping water molecules from getting through. This product penetrates deeply into the masonry, protecting it and preventing water leaks year after year. Don’t just repair masonry damage, let us help you prevent it. Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep at 617-469-4528 or request an appointment online.

Learn More About Your Old Chimney

In our area of Boston, North Shore, and Portland, there is a lot of history. Our communities are filled with historical buildings and homes. If you’re a homeowner in the area, you may have a historical home and it’s likely that you also have an old chimney. If you have just acquired your home you may not know much about it! At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we get a lot of calls about historic chimneys, and they get a bad rap. In fact, there are a lot of interesting features to old chimneys that many just don’t understand. Here are our favorites:

Ash Pitsseveral chimneys in a row

You may be surprised to find a trap door at the back of the firebox floor. This is not a secret escape or treasure trove, but a pit where past homeowners would shovel and scrape ashes. Many present-day homeowners still utilize this ash pit, and some may even have an easy-access clean-out door. These pits are usually constructed with the home’s foundation and are just as durable, When you use the ash pit, you can have it emptied periodically by your trusted chimney professional and never have to bother with bucketloads and storage of ashes.

Multiple Stacks

In the past, the number of chimneys, or “stacks” was an indication of how many bedrooms were in the home. The more stacks, the more prestigious the home. Today, you may not want to use all of these fireplaces. In fact, you can update them all to a more efficient option when you plan with a professional. Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep can swap your old wood-burning fireplace with a new gas-fueled insert that will neither damage the existing hearth and chimney nor detract from the historical aspects of your home. Our inserts are top-of-the-line units that burn gas or wood, depending on our customer needs. When installed by a professional, you can bet it will add style and beauty to one or more old chimneys.

Chimney Pots

Many historic chimneys are topped with chimney pots. Though, not in use as much today, these chimney pots extend the height of the flue and narrow the stack, creating a better draft upward. These tops date back to the Tudor Dynasty in Great Britain and have been used on every continent and are designed for beauty and function. In addition to helping the chimney work better, it also protects the flue against water damage.

Do you have a historic chimney that needs a little TLC? We can help. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we specialize in historic chimneys, and we love to help homeowners find the love and beauty in these old systems.

When you depend on us for your comprehensive chimney care, we will help to bring your chimney system up to code, work to make it as safe and efficient as possible, and do so at a price affordable to our valued customers.

Call Billy Sweet Chimney at 617-469-4528 and schedule your chimney assessment and maintenance today.

Leaks and Crown Repair

If you are a homeowner in the Boston, North Shore, or Portland area, you may have a chimney that has taken on winter damage. This type of damage may first manifest as a chimney leak or roof leak, but it’s likely a result of winter damage. Most likely the chimney crown is the problem.

The Chimney Crownwhite chimney with blue sky

The chimney may be the largest system in your home, but it can be brought down by water intrusion. In fact, water can destroy a chimney system from the inside out. This damage leads to rust, stains, odors, mold growth, deterioration, shortened chimney life, and more. The chimney crown is an important component that helps to prevent water intrusion and damage. When the chimney crown is constructed improperly, it can become damaged over time due to sunlight and weather exposure. The crown, which is supposed to protect the chimney from the flue opening all the way to the edge of the chimney can become cracked, begin flaking, and even crumble. When the crown becomes damaged, the water from rain and snowfall can go directly into the chimney causing water damage and leaks throughout the entire house.

Diagnosing the Chimney Crown

If your chimney seems to be leaking, it’s time to call a professional. We will check all the parts of the chimney system that might be the cause of the leak. If the crown has cracks, gaps, or flaking, it will definitely contribute to a leak and will need to be fixed. Fortunately, if the crown is made from the appropriate materials and is the right size and shape, it will not have to be recast. We can fix a chimney crown fairly easily, getting your system back to working order before burn season. In order to fix a broken crown, there are two options:

  • We can cover the entire chimney crown in a waterproof sealant which closes up all the gaps and cracks, restoring the crown back to proper function.
  • We can construct a completely new custom crown with the appropriate slant, thickness, and drip edge to conduct optimal water flow away from the chimney.

Prevent Damage Before It’s Too Late

You can prevent water damage and even prevent the need for a new crown construction by scheduling routine chimney sweeps and annual inspections. Your chimney expert will get a good look at your crown during these preventative service appointments, and minor repairs can be made before major damage occurs. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), chimneys that are serviced and inspected annually are the safest and efficient. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we know that chimneys that are serviced regularly and repaired as needed are also the longest lasting chimneys.

Schedule your routine service or chimney crown repair with Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today. Call us at 781-593-2333 or stop by our Boston, North Shore, or Portland location.