How to Prepare Your Chimney & Fireplace For The Upcoming Winter

Some parts of the country may be experiencing record highs, but if you live in the Boston area, North Shore, or the Portland area, winter is inevitable. Have you done everything needed to prepare your chimney and fireplace for the upcoming rough weather? Let Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep help! Our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweeps provide comprehensive chimney and fireplace care and know just what it takes to keep your chimney system looking and working great all winter long.

It All Starts With A Thorough Inspection Performed By A CSIA-Certified Sweep

winter chimney sweep - Boston MA - Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep

When we’re called upon to get your chimney and fireplace ready for the next burn season, the experienced technicians here at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep come equipped with state-of-the-art equipment so we can analyze the system and make sure it’s still in peak condition. We start with a thorough inspection, using video scanning technology to check both the interior and exterior components of your chimney system for damage, blockages, or other problems that could interfere with the safety and efficiency of your chimney and fireplace. Most chimney and fireplace damage is the result of an undetected or unrepaired leak, improper construction, animal tampering or intrusion, or time and use. Some of the most vulnerable or damage-prone areas are:

  • Chimney Crown
  • Chimney Cap
  • Chimney Masonry
  • Damper
  • Firebox
  • Smoke Chamber
  • Flue Liner

We’ll also check the connected appliance (be it a fireplace, a stove, or an insert) and make sure that everything is properly connected and functioning efficiently. We’ll make note of any flaws or defects, weak points, or areas of concern so you know just what needs to be done and where before lighting up a fire.

Request An Appointment With The Team You Can Trust

Whether you have a stove, a fireplace, or an insert, it’s important that you schedule an annual inspection with a CSIA-certified chimney sweep prior to your first fire of the year. Our team will carefully evaluate your system, clean it from top to bottom (if needed), and make any necessary repairs to restore your system so you can enjoy it all winter long. If you haven’t scheduled your appointment yet, give us a call! We’ll make sure your chimney and fireplace are in great shape and ready to keep you warm, no matter how brutal this winter turns out to be. Call or click to request your appointment today!

Common Masonry Problems in the Winter

Around this time of year, the chimney often goes unnoticed. With everyone headed inside the escape the chilly winter weather, the chimney is left in the cold to fend for itself. While the robust brick structure may seem able to withstand any weather, masonry chimneys can actually suffer irreparable damage during the winter months. Fortunately, there are some measures that can be taken now to prevent more damage in the future.


Masonry chimneys are chimneys constructed using masonry materials, which include brick, mortar, concrete and stone. All of these materials, aside from stone, have a very porous nature, which means they easily absorb any water that touches them. Similar in function to a sponge, the bricks and other materials can soak up moisture until they reach complete saturations. While the absorption of water does little damage by itself, the trouble begins when the temperature drops below freezing. In sub-freezing temperatures, water begins a freeze and thaw cycle in which it continuously expands and contracts as it freezes and melts, respectively. When the water inside the masonry materials starts this cycle, the materials also experience that same shrinking and swelling movement. Over time, this motion degrades the strength of the materials. The first signs of a weakened chimney include cracked mortar or missing bricks, but eventually the entire structure could fall. To prevent this, a chimney specialist can patch the mortar by tuckpointing and apply a certain permeable sealant to the outside of the chimney to prevent water from entering the structure.

The other winter problem that occurs with the chimney also revolves around water damage. The warmth of the chimney can melt snow and ice at the top of the chimney, permitting water to leak inside. If the flue lining is made of metal, the water can rust out the lining, leading to cracks and holes. This break in the lining exposes the combustibles in the house to the heat of the fire, and it allows the toxic fumes to leak back into the home. Potential hazards of this include house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, the water can rust out the damper, which may prevent proper ventilation of the fumes. Water damage may encroach further, as well, which would be evident by the presence of water stains on the walls and ceiling surrounding the fireplace. A chimney specialist can stop this damage from happening by repairing or replacing the chimney crown, if one is present, and installing a proper chimney cap to stop water from entering the chimney.

Prevention is key to avoiding these costly damages, so take the extra time to ask your chimney sweep or inspector about protecting your masonry chimney. For a professional consultation in the Boston or Portland areas, contact Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep.