Our Company Blog

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.

The Advantages of Chimney Video Scans

Of all the services that keep your chimney system working properly and safely, video scanning may be the most important. With a video scan, a professional gets an up-close view of the interior of the chimney system. The days of checking the flue with a flashlight and mirror to determine hazards are over. With video technology, we are now able to properly inspect the chimney tin the Boston, North Shore, and Portland areas. If you reside in the area, we can help.

The Importance of Chimney Inspectionsscanner pointed towards white brick

Chimney systems need to be inspected annually in order to be safe and efficient, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The most thorough inspections include a video scan. In fact, they are required for a level two inspection. A level 2 inspection is necessary when:

  • changes have been made to the system,
  • a natural disaster has affected the system
  • selling or buying property

You don’t have to schedule a level two inspection to have your chimney scanned, however. Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep uses video technology with every single inspection. This keeps our customers, friends, and neighbors safe.

Benefits of a Video Scan

At Billy Sweet, we utilize two video camera systems, the Chim-Scan, and the Wohler Vis2000-Pro, both with their own unique strengths and features. Our techs are trained and experienced using both video systems to access the flue, and can easily identify hazards such as leaks, voids, debris, and damage. These findings will be used to plan necessary repairs, to validate chimney safety, and to disclose to prospective homebuyers. No matter the reason, this video scan inspection will result in a detailed report of the findings and an explanation for all recommended changes or repairs.

Our video scanning equipment also helps Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep technicians to document every job, before and after. This allows us to check work, show the homeowner progress and completion, and keep records for future appointments. We put the safety and comfort of our customers above all else, and part of the trust we value in our customer relationships is due to the honesty of our work and diagnostics. Our customers can count on us because we count on industry tools like video technology to give honest answers with documented reason.

Schedule An Appointment With Us

If you suspect a problem with your chimney system, you may benefit from a chimney video scan. Schedule now and you can avoid the fall rush and have any necessary repairs completed before burn season. Every chimney system should be inspected annually, so if you haven’t scheduled an inspection in the last 12 months, now is the time.

Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today at 617-469-4528 or schedule online.

Chimney Rebuilds, Renovations & Restorations

Whether you just bought a home or had one for some time now, you can never go wrong with making some home improvements. Upgrading and repairing your home can add value to the property and also bring you the best enjoyment out of your home. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we help homeowners add value to their homes every day by bringing hearths and chimneys back to life. We specialize in chimney rebuilds, renovations, and restorations. If you have an outdated, neglected, or unsafe chimney system in the Boston, North Shore, or Portland area, we can help.

Masonry and Stone Work

masonry chimney behind tree branchesOur team is qualified and experienced, and they have the training and expertise to recreate any design with brick or stone. We only use quality products, and we can rebuild, renovate, and restore your chimney no matter the size or age. When it comes to masonry work, our team always add beauty and value to your property through our best work. Our work is never sloppy, and we offer FREE waterproofing on exterior masonry work.

Specializing in Historic Homes & Chimney Repairs

At Billy Sweet, we are blessed to live in an area filled with history, and many of the homes in our service area are historic ones with historic chimneys. While these systems may still work, many are not up to code and pose a threat to your own historical home as well as the surrounding homes. There is no way of telling how someone previous treated your chimney. Make sure you have your historic chimney inspected as soon as you take ownership of the home and have it restored to code compliance before use.

If you’re looking to rebuild, renovate, or restore your chimney, look no further than the team at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep. We will begin by completing a comprehensive inspection with detailed digital imaging and recommend a course of action based on the video footage. No matter what the problem is, we have the training and experience to fix it. When restoring a chimney, we can address every aspect of the system. We will make sure your chimney is safe from top to bottom with specific detail to the cap, crown, and flashing to prevent future water damage.

We will also ensure a quality liner is in place to keep the fire, heat, and smoke from affecting the masonry and your home. We recommend stainless steel chimney liners, as they last a lifetime. We also recommend hip and ridge style chimney caps designed for high wind areas. Once the chimney is completely restored and ready for use, we can also waterproof it so that time and weather don’t damage your beautiful new masonry chimney.

Scheduling with Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep

Many homeowners may close out a poorly maintained chimney system instead of spending the money and time to restore it. This is a grave mistake! A damaged chimney can lead to serious water damage throughout the home—not just the chimney itself!

Your chimney is a beautiful fixture that adds value to your home. Home buyers want fireplaces for the ambiance and supplemental heat source. You can save money by addressing all your chimney repairs. Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today at 617-469-4528 to find out more!

Proud of Our Certifications

For years the chimney industry has been largely unregulated and still is to a degree. There is no hard and fast rule that a certified professional must complete. While municipal codes may require certain certifications for new constructions and major repairs, manufactures may require certifications for installation and repairs to maintain the warranty. There is nothing that requires a chimney sweep to have a certification.

At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we seek certifications in our field and continue our education to stay ahead of changes and technological advancements about chimneys. The bottom line is this: we want to offer the best services to keep our customers safe and comfortable. We get the certifications not for our sake, but because we care about you. We’re proud of our certifications and our training, and we are happy to serve you!

Certified Chimney Sweeps (CCS)

CSIA logoThe Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is the only nationally-recognized standard for chimney professionals and was established in 1983. The CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep (CCS) credential is recognized by the field, manufacturers, lawyers, fire marshals, and realtors. CSIA is a non-profit organization run by volunteers with a focus on public safety and industry advancement. As members, not only do we have the support of countless professionals, but we are also part of a great mission. The mission is to educate the public and professional realm with the goal of eliminating residential fires, carbon monoxide intrusion, and other chimney-related hazards that result in the loss of life and property.

As CSIA certified sweeps, we also adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics designs to protect homeowners from potential scams. If any chimney sweeps are found in violation of this code, their certification may be revoked. If you’re concerned that your chimney sweep or chimney sweep company is not certified and is a scam, you can search for them on the CSIA database.

F.I.R.E. Certified Technicians

While this is not a company certification, Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep make it a priority to be certified F.I.R.E. Inspectors. The F.I.R.E. certification is somewhat more advanced than the CSIA certification. F.I.R.E. certified inspectors have completed 3 advanced courses, and they are required to re-certify every three years.

At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we don’t want to disqualify ourselves from any area or job, so we strive for excellence by maintaining certifications in both of these reputable organizations in the industry—CSIA and F.I.R.E. When you’re searching for a chimney sweep to complete your routine maintenance, installations, repairs, and more, you can trust the team at Billy Sweet. We have certified chimney sweeps, F.I.R.E. inspectors, and we are also members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG).

We want to be the top choice for chimney care in and around Boston, North Shore, and Portland. Call and schedule with the best today at 617-469-4528.

Sick Home Syndrome and Your Chimney

Your fireplace is the focal point of your home and the chimney is a permanent fixture. Time and regular use can lead to frustrating odors and even pollution in the home. When the chimney isn’t properly ventilated due to obstruction in the flue or a drop in efficiency, your home can be filled with particulate pollutants, harmful gases, and stagnant, stinky air. In order to prevent your chimney and fireplace from becoming a bother this summer and later when burning season returns, call in the professionals now.

What is Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)?mini house model with red stethoscope around it

Sick Building Syndrome, or SBS, is an actual medical condition in which all the people in a building suffer from the same symptoms caused by the building itself. In some cases, the occurrence of symptoms in all the building’s inhabitants is the only way the illness is connected to the building, and corrected. SBS may be caused by a minor smoke problem, leading to allergies and throat irritation. Other, more serious problems such as mold or bacterial growth and even carbon monoxide poisoning can also occur.

Who is at Risk?

When it comes to SBS, everyone who resides in the building is at risk when the building itself is the problem. Symptoms are most commonly caused by inadequate ventilation, deteriorating fiberglass duct liners, chemical contaminants, biological contaminants, fan coils, traffic noise, poor lighting, and urban pollution. Like any illness, there may be some who are not affected at all. Those most at risk are young children and older adults as well as pregnant women. Some conditions can be serious and life-threatening and should be reported to the doctor immediately. You can prevent your family from becoming ill by maintaining your home properly and repairing problems right away.

Carbon Monoxide Danger

The most serious cause of SBS is carbon monoxide exposure. A slow or fast leak can lead to organ damage, organ failure, and death, and it’s a danger that can be avoided. Don’t run gas-powered tools indoors—even in the garage. Open the garage before starting your car, and have your gas-powered appliance serviced regularly to prevent CO leaks. Additionally, you should have a CO detector in your home, installed on each level, and checked monthly. Finally, pay attention to signs and symptoms which affect everyone in the home. Symptoms of CO poisoning are often confused with common cold and flu or even psychiatric or neurological problems.

Professional Care and Preventative Services

The best way to prevent Sick Building Syndrome from affecting your family is to prevent your home from becoming sick! Schedule chimney sweeps regularly so that your chimney system will be professionally cleaned from top to bottom. Scheduling inspections annually will give a professional a chance to detect hazards before they put your family at risk.

Call and schedule your appointment with Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today at 617-469-4528.