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Questions You Should Be Asking Your Chimney Sweep

Tis the season for chimney services. The fall rush is here, this is the time between October and January when chimney sweep companies are the most busy serving our customers. When it comes to finding a trusted chimney sweep, it can be an overwhelming decision. However, it does not have to be. If you are asking the right questions, your chimney will be in great hands. Here are some of the important questions to keep in mind when looking for the right chimney company for you.

Are they CSIA certified?

a beautiful masonry chimney in the fallThe first question you should ask is: Are you CSIA certified? Because if they aren’t, you need to keep searching. With help from CSIA, finding a certified sweep has never been easier. Why is CSIA so important? Well, only a CSIA certified sweep has the classroom training and field training to get the job done safely, according to code, and all at a competitive price.

Will a CSIA certified sweep charge more? Perhaps they will, but I can assure you that it will be well worth your money! Because a CSIA sweep will get the job done correctly, following local building code. They also have the credentials to back up the job, which also protect your interests. The CSIA signature on the work order or report is what your realtor, homeowners insurance, or lawyer will look for, and it’s what your city or state code requires.

Does the inspection include a video scan?

A level 2 inspection should include a video scan, this gives the chimney sweep and the homeowner a clear view of the hidden portions of the chimney. If your quote doesn’t include a video scan, you should keep looking. After a video scan, the homeowner receives a detailed report including footage and recommended repairs to restore the chimney back to safe and efficient condition. Much of the the wear-and-tear on the interior portions of the chimney can only be identified through a video scan.

Are the bids for the same job and same materials?

It’s important to find out the specific jobs and materials that are included in your bid. Some companies issue a bid for a new liner, but don’t include insulating it in the bid, this is an important step for safety and efficiency! Two bids may be hugely different in cost, but what you may not realize is that one company may be bidding for a stainless steel liner, and the other may be bidding for an aluminum liner. It’s important to know what you’re getting when you receive a bid that looks favorable. It may look easy on the bank account, but isn’t the best option for your home over time.

Look to Billy Sweet for the Sweetest Deal

Our loyal customers keep coming back year after year because we don’t just fix minor problems. We correct the problem at the source, and bring the chimney back up to code, preventing recurrence again. As a CSIA member, it’s our duty to notify homeowners of code violations and safety hazards. We take the safety of our customers seriously, and you can trust that we’ll complete diagnostics and repairs with the best work at the most realistic price! To schedule services with Billy Sweet, or or request a bid, call 617-469-4528 today!

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.

We Can Rebuild Your Historic Chimney

New England has a lot of special features, and many of them have to do with the historic area. Parks, museums, colleges, lighthouses, and even trees are celebrated for their historic relevance. If you’re lucky, your home falls into the historic category with its own history and stories to share. Historic homes can definitely be whimsical and beautiful, but may also be a handful–especially if it has a chimney.

Historic Homes: Blessing or Curse?

Your home may be a beautiful colonial that predates the statehood where you have your residence. You can determine if your home and chimney are historic by contacting your state or local historic society. It may have the original crown moldings, high ceilings, sliding doors, and hardwood flooring. If your historic home was well-built, your historic chimney may be still standing, but that’s not to say it doesn’t need some updates. In fact, if it’s been neglected, your chimney may need serious repairs and possibly a rebuild. Getting the historic society involved may also determine if the chimney is in fact historic, or if it was constructed later, or if it was rebuilt or restored.

Where to Start

If you’re uncertain of the condition of your historic chimney, if you’ve noticed signs of trouble in your chimney or a decrease in efficiency, or if it hasn’t been inspected or serviced in the last 12 months, now is the time to call a professional. Only a professional can determine if your chimney is safe to use, or not.

Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep will complete a diagnostic inspection to determine the condition of the chimney system and use video scanning to survey the hidden portions of the chimney. This will give detailed view of the flue from top to bottom. Once a report is compiled, complete with digital imaging, we can work together with you to create a course of action for repairs or rebuild.

Why Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep

At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we specialize in historic homes, and we care about the integrity of your chimney as much as you do. Common problems we see with historic chimneys include noncompliance with current residential codes and safety standards, neglect, and deterioration of the masonry due to coastal air and storms.

We not only pride ourselves on offering expert services throughout our service area, but also our status as CSIA certified chimney sweeps and our experience rebuilding historic chimneys for our customers and neighbors.

If you’re afraid to put your historic chimney in the hands of an amateur, we understand! That’s why we field train our technicians before they take on historic jobs. They’re certified chimney sweeps, experienced masons, and will treat you with professionalism and courtesy. Don’t settle for mediocre when you can have the real deal. Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep has been operating in the area for over 30 years. Our techs are easy to identify, driving company trucks and wearing clear ID tags and uniforms. When the job is complete, our work will speak for itself.

Call us at 781-593-2333 or schedule online today.

The Difference Between a Certified and Non-Certified Sweep

When it comes to professionals, there always seems to be a spectrum to choose from. There are those companies that are licensed, certified, and guaranteed. Then there are those that are merely amateurs, charging for professional work. Don’t fall victim to such scheming!

Certified and Non-Certified Sweep Image - Boston MA - Billy Sweet Chimney SweepCSIA Certification

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has been around since the 1980’s and is the standard for the chimney industry. Your realtor, insurance company, and local authorities will look for this signature on documents, inspections, and referrals. Simple put, it means your chimney sweep has:

  • Purchased study material (at a cost of over $300.)
  • Attended an in-person review, training school, or online review.
  • Taken the exam (at a cost of over $200.)
  • Signed a Code of Ethics designed to protect consumers from scams.

Once a chimney professional has completed the exams and becomes a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS), he must maintain this membership by re-examination or continued education credits every three years. Additionally, if a chimney sweep is found to be in violation of the Code of Ethics, his membership can be revoked.

Certified Vs. Non-Certified

When you choose a certified professional to come into your home, you have the assurance that they’re backed by a larger group. You don’t just get a handyman interested in chimneys. You get a trained professional who puts the safety and comfort of customers first at every turn. That is our main goal at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep. Top-notch service costs more, but benefits the homeowner exponentially over time!

  • Preventative Care
    Routine maintenance like chimney inspections and sweeps are part of our specialty. A certified professional has the tools, the experience, and the know-how to get the job done quickly. They can also detect an issue with your chimney at its earliest.
  • Masonry Repair and Renovation
    When it comes to exterior masonry repair, you don’t have to worry about liability or damages when someone is on your roof. A certified sweep is not just covered. They are experts at these repairs. At Billy Sweet, our certified technicians are skilled masons!

Certified chimney sweeps have access to the best technologies. Also, access to top professional advisors, a network of professionals, continued education courses, and more! When it comes to the cost of hiring a professional, you may find that hiring a certified chimney sweep is slightly higher. The difference is the service, the expertise, and the benefits.

Some of the Benefits of Hiring Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep

  • When we repair your exterior masonry, we apply a waterproofing sealant for FREE! This in order to preserve your masonry and offer your the best service possible.
  • We only sell and install quality products that are backed by manufacturer warranties. Plus, we guarantee our work for a year.
  • When we clean and inspect the chimney, we document the process before and after, using a video scanning system.
  • There are many benefits to hiring a certified chimney sweep, and even more benefits when you hire Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, your #1 chimney experts in the Boston area.

Contact Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today, and discover what a certified professional can do for you!

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!