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Keep Your Fire In Its Place This Winter

During the season of fuel and fires, ventilation and maintenance, it’s important to not cut corners. Cutting corners when it comes to your fireplace and chimney can result in serious damage to your home, costly services to your chimney system, and even injury and possible loss of life. In order for your chimney to work safely and efficiently all winter long and year after year, it must be maintained properly and used correctly. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) help to keep fire in its place by educating responsible homeowners to schedule routine chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections. This ensures the safest and most efficient systems.

The Danger of Dirty Chimneys

fireplaceWhen a fire burns in your fireplace it constantly produces soot and creosote and deposits them into the chimney flue. Soot is merely carbon, harmless unless it’s allowed to buildup and cause an obstruction. Creosote is produced when organic materials are burned and is made up mostly of tar, a sticky, flammable substance. It builds upon itself until a significant buildup occurs, slowing the flow of air through the flue. As efficiency drops, the buildup worsens and hot air begins to stall in the system. As temperatures increase, the creosote boils and the water evaporates leaving a concentrated, hardened mass when the creosote cools. This buildup called “glazed creosote” is highly flammable, obstructs airflow, and is difficult to remove. Because of this, creosote should be removed before it reaches 1/8 inch in thickness. A standard chimney sweep can remove creosote, but glazed creosote requires a special industrial solvent that transforms the creosote as it’s absorbed.

Creosote buildup is not the only danger of a dirty chimney. If your chimney isn’t cleaned on a regular basis the creosote and soot can hide liner damage, allowing the heat to transfer through the masonry and onto the other building materials of the home. This can create a serious fire hazard. Additionally, without a routine sweep, you might have accumulated any number of things in your flue or fireplace. Animals, sticks and leaves, and unburned wood are all things that we find in neglected chimney systems—all contributing to unwelcome odors and ventilation problems.

The Importance of Inspections

It’s so important to have your chimney inspected as well as cleaned that most chimney companies include a basic level one inspection with every cleaning! An inspection will ensure that the system is safe and efficient for another year of use. However, who completes the inspection is vital. Only a certified chimney sweep should inspect your chimney system. An amateur won’t know where to look and a homeowner won’t recognize the signs of a problem until it’s too late. Every chimney should undergo a CSIA inspection annually. This is a complete diagnostic assessment of the chimney from top to bottom. Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep offers level one, two, and three CSIA inspections for homeowners in and around Boston, North Shore, and Portland. Not only do we inspect every chimney that we sweep, but we sweep every chimney we inspect.

If your chimney system hasn’t changed or shown any problems in the last year, our technician will complete a level one inspection. This is an inspection of all the readily accessible portions of the system. The video scan is usually only available for a level two inspection, but we check every chimney with video surveillance. We use a Chim-Scan camera system and Wohler Vis2000-Pro for an inside look at the flue.

A level two inspection is necessary in the following conditions; if there have been changes made to the chimney system, if it’s presented problems, and before the sale or transfer of the property. It includes everything from a level one inspection as well as everything accessible through doors and passageways.

A level three inspection is only necessary when a serious hazard is suspected, but at this point, it is the only thing to get your system up and going again.

Common Chimney Dangers

Besides creosote buildup, there are numerous problems that can arise when a chimney isn’t properly cleaned and maintained. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we diagnose winter damage most often—masonry damage that results in a serious drop in efficiency and rise in fire risk. Another common hazard that we see quite often is a damaged firebox. The firebox is the space that holds the fire. It endures the highest temperatures for the longest amounts of time but gets very little attention. Though many focus only on flue fires, the fire hazard associated with a damaged firebox may be the most serious. Prolonged heat exposure through damaged firebricks can cause structural damage as support beams become brittle with heat damage. A similar danger can arise when the liner is damaged and heat transfers through the masonry. Insulation in walls and attics can ignite as heat moves from the chimney into the home.

As with most residential fires, chimney and fireplace fires can be prevented. It is our goal to help our customers, friends, and neighbors in our service area to stay safer and warmer this winter by offering services that prevent fires.

Schedule your services now by calling 617-469-4528 or schedule an appointment online today.

Don’t Ignore Your Chimney System!

While you work on your Spring Cleaning list, make sure you don’t forget your chimney. Your chimney system matters as much as any other system in your life. You get your oil changed to keep your engine running correctly. You have your teeth cleaned to prevent cavities. Likewise, you should have your chimney system serviced regularly to keep it working safely and efficiently. Your chimney is one of the largest systems in your home. It’s also one of the most dangerous and costly if neglected. A fireplace and chimney add value to any home, but when it’s neglected, it detracts from your home’s value while also putting your family and property at risk. 

Professional Services

Your chimney system should be maintained by a chimney professional with the training and experience to do the work properly. The team at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep are CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps with classroom and field training in both chimney science and technology as well as federal fire safety codes. We have a full selection of chimney services, including CSIA inspections and sweeping.

Why Service Your Chimney?

Whether your chimney has problems or works exactly as it should, your system needs to be serviced regularly. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) agree that the safest chimney systems are those that are inspected annually and cleaned regularly. During these important appointments, your chimney professional will catch minor problems before they turn into major ones. Minor wear-and-tear can be detected and repaired before it turns into serious damage. Having the chimney maintained on a regular basis by a professional is the best way to prevent costly repairs later and to keep your system efficient. Neglecting your chimney system will lead to wasted fuel, difficult-to-light fires, damaged masonry, stains, deterioration, and more. Save time and money by scheduling services this spring.

Your Serviced Chimney

Clean your chimney system this spring and you can avoid foul odors this summer caused by creosote and soot left inside the system. Having the system inspected this spring will help to prevent animal intrusion this spring and summer. Making sure that all parts are in proper working order also means that your system will be protected against water damage and will be ready again to use safely this fall. Don’t wait until the fall to schedule important services for your chimney system. It can be difficult and even impossible to get an appointment in the fall, often called The Fall Rush. If you get an appointment during this time, you may be surprised by reports of damage and necessary repairs. Schedule now so you will have plenty of time to make repairs before burn season. Many homeowners even build the chimney maintenance into their annual spring budget, utilizing tax refunds and taking advantage of end-of-season discounts. Call and find out if Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep has any deals or discounts to benefit your family. 

Schedule chimney services with New England’s chosen professionals today. Call 617-469-4528 today.

Which Level of Inspection is Right for Me?

If you’ve gone 12 months with no chimney inspection, you need to have it checked after a flue fire, if you’re looking to make updates for sale or refinance, or are selling the property. There are many reasons to have a chimney inspection–the first and most important reason is for chimney safety. The most safe and efficient chimney systems are those that are cleaned and inspected regularly.

When to Schedule an InspectionHave your chimney inspected every 12 months

Your chimney should be inspected by a professional every 12 months for safety and efficiency according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These important diagnostic appointments prevent dangerous creosote buildup, hazards, damaged parts, and more.
Scheduling in the spring – Many homeowners choose to schedule their inspection in the spring in order to diagnose winter damage and to prevent leaks through the wet and humid months of spring and summer. An inspection in the spring means your chimney is clean and safe for another year, and you get the bonus of a well-working system through the summer so that conditioned air doesn’t escape, and animals don’t creep in.
Scheduling in the fall – It can be difficult to get an appointment during the fall due to the busyness of chimney professionals at this time. However, an inspection in the fall insures your system is safe and ready for burn season. Don’t leave it up to chance. If you have any reason to schedule an inspection, do so before you light the first fire of the season.

Levels of Inspection

CSIA inspections are completed at three levels to allow homeowners the best results. You can schedule an inspection according to your needs, spend less, and get the detailed look necessary for you chimney’s safety.
Level One – The inspection scheduled annually when no changes have been made to the system and there have been no problems with the system. A level one inspection includes all the readily accessible portions of the chimney, fireplace, appliance, and chimney connections. The technician looks for basic soundness during a level one inspection, and if a hazard is detected, further assessment will be scheduled.
Level Two – When there is a problem with the system, changes made to the system, or when it has sustained possible damage during a fire or other natural occurrence (storm, earthquake, etc.). A level two inspection is also required when a property is sold or transferred. A level two inspection includes all accessible parts of the system by way of panels and doors and may include portions in attics and basements. A level two inspection with Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep also includes a detailed scan of the system using a Chim-Scan closed circuit video surveillance system.
Level Three – This inspection is required when a hazard is detected in the system and will require removal of portions of the system to gain access to the hazards. This may mean removal of components such as brick, crown, and even walls and other materials. A level three inspection will likely result in repairs to the affected portion of the chimney.

Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today and get on the schedule this fall so that your chimney is safe and efficient this burn season.

Have Your Chimney Inspected Before Heating Season!

New England is still experiencing some warm weather worth enjoying, but winter is just around the corner. With only a few weeks before fall arrives, it’s important to make sure the fireplace and chimney system are ready for the first fire of the season. When your chimney is inspected, you can rest assured that it’s safe and efficient for burn season. A safe and efficient chimney keeps your family safe from harm and your wallet safe from costly repairs.Chimney Inspections Before Heating - Boston MA - Billy Sweet Chimney

Avoid the Fall Rush

When you schedule your chimney inspection now, you can avoid the fall rush–the time between October and January when chimney professionals are busy with installations, repairs, and emergency calls. Waiting until fall to have your chimney serviced may be a recipe for disaster. It may mean that you can’t get a convenient appointment time, may not fit into the schedule with your desired chimney sweep company or technician, and tempt you to light a fire in a fireplace that is not safe or ready!

CSIA Inspections – The Standard for Excellence

CSIA inspections are the industry standard for diagnostics. Both the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend annual chimney inspections and routine sweeps. There are three different levels of CSIA inspections, depending on how you use your fireplace.
Level One – The standard annual inspection for a chimney with no changes and no problems is the level one inspection. It includes an assessment of all readily accessible portions of the chimney system, including the interior, exterior, appliance, and chimney connection. This inspection is often included in a standard chimney sweep.
Level Two – If changes have been made to the system, including new installations or repairs, a level two inspection is necessary. They’re also required before a property is sold or transferred and if a storm, fire, or earthquake may have affected the system. This inspection includes a visual inspection by video scan to assess the interior of the chimney system, joints, and chimney components. There are no special tools required for this inspection, but it includes opening doors and panels or coverings to access portions of the chimney.
Level Three – If a hazard is identified or suspected, your chimney will require a level three inspection. This thorough inspection may include the removal of components of the building or chimney in order to access the hazard. If your chimney professional recommends a level three inspection, it must be done before winter to prevent damage and health hazards.

Schedule Today

Schedule your chimney inspection with Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep and you can rest assured that your chimney system is ready for winter. Our technicians focus on safety first. We use a Chim-Scan camera system and Wohler Vis2000-Pro to inspect and document every detail so we can make proper assessments and recommendations. Not only do we inspect the chimneys with expertise and authority, but we sweep every chimney we inspect. Scheduling today means you will have time to also schedule recommended repairs.

What is a Video Inspection?

Every chimney should be inspected regularly. It’s required every year, but may happen more often if you schedule routine chimney sweeps with a certified chimney professional. The more your chimney system is seen and serviced by a professional, the more efficient it will be, and the longer it will last.

Chimney Inspections

CSIA chimney inspections are the industry standard. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has been around since the 80s, and together with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), agree that chimneys should be serviced and inspected annually in order to be safe and efficient. There are three levels of inspections:

Level One – This inspection is scheduled annually when no changes have been made to the system, and it’s been used as it has been in the past. It includes all the readily-accessible portions of the chimney system, and a visual inspection of the exterior.

Level Two – This inspection includes everything in a level one, plus accessible portions of the chimney system like that in crawlspaces, attics, and basements. This inspection includes a video scan of the entire interior of the chimney system. A level two inspection is required when land is sold or transferred.

Level Three – This inspection is required when a hazard is identified in a level one or two inspection. It may include the removal of components of the home or chimney in order to gain access to the hazard in question.

Video Scan Inspections

Do you have to have a level two inspection in order to have a video inspection? Not at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep! We believe the only way to assess your chimney is to see it. That’s why we inspect with a video scan every time. Our technicians use the Chim-Scan® camera system and Wohler Vis2000-Pro to insure your chimney gets a proper inspection. With these cameras we can locate problems big and small–from leaks and voids to glazed creosote and structure problems.

We don’t expect you to take our word for it. We document our findings, and offer visual proof for your personal records as well as for your insurance company. With all of our footage and recommendations, you will be fully informed to make a decision about necessary repairs to your chimney system. You might also like this information before deciding to buy and install a new appliance or sell or rent your home.

If you’re in the Boston, North Shore, or Portland area, Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep can service your chimney, assessing the flue from top to bottom with our video scan equipment. We can also make sure you’re ready for spring, with a watertight chimney cap and flashing, waterproof masonry, and a leak-free system from the inside out. Don’t wait another day before calling and scheduling your video inspection.

Call 617-469-4528 or make an appointment online.

The Value of a Chimney Inspection

When it comes to investing in your home and property, you want to do everything you can to protect those investments. Your chimney is one of the most beautiful features of your home. It most likely fits your personality as much as your home decor, so you want to keep it in good shape. Designed and constructed to withstand time, the only thing that can really hurt your chimney is neglect. Don’t neglect your chimney system, and it will continue working for you for years to come.

Routine Maintenance

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends routine maintenance for the safest and most efficient fire, and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) agrees. Routine maintenance such as chimney sweeps and annual inspections keep the chimney working properly, and that keeps it working safely. When you schedule routine maintenance, you are inviting a chimney expert into your home to see your chimney and assess it. When you choose Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep to sweep and inspect your chimney, you can rest assured knowing that all of your comprehensive chimney needs will be handled by one company. Our services are swift and thorough, and designed with you in mind. We offer chimney services year-round to give our customers the best opportunity to keep up with routine maintenance. Don’t start the winter without knowing your chimney is clean and safe for a fire.

Chimney Inspections

Annual CSIA inspections are the best way to protect your home and family from chimney malfunction and fire.

-Chimney Inspections Save You Money
When your chimney works properly, you will burn less wood, depending on your central heating system less, and use fewer utilities in the process. You will also spend less money on repairs, need less frequent sweeps, and avoid level two and three inspections.

-Chimney Inspections Protect Your Family
The chimney vents harmful gases from the home. Cracks in the flue liner, damaged masonry, or a rusted damper can cause smoke to affect the air in your home, causing carbon monoxide poisoning, the cause of more than 400 unintentional deaths per year.

-Chimney Inspections Prevent Fire
Chimney inspections identify hazards before they result in disaster. Damage is identified before it is serious and can be repaired before it causes a fire.

-Chimney Inspections Protect Your Legal Interests
A CSIA inspection is the one that realtors, fire inspectors, lawyers, and insurance claims officers will look for. Having an annual chimney inspection means your chimney is within municipal safety codes, is within guidelines of your homeowner’s insurance, and documentation of your inspection will be sufficient if it’s safety is called into question.

When it comes to scheduling routine maintenance, you do not want to skip the inspection. The chimney sweep may keep the system clean, but the inspection keeps it safe and functional. Don’t put your faith in a DIY internet tutorial, or the neighborhood handyman. When it comes to your family, your home, and your finances, put your trust in Boston’s chimney experts.

Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today at 800-248-4900 or make an appointment online now.