Our Company Blog
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 Inspection
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.
The smoke chamber is an important part of the fireplace and chimney system, because it helps the smoke find its way up the flue. The space where you see the fire burning is the firebox. The smoke rises up, and the next place you see it is the top of the flue. No one sees what goes on behind the scenes, but just above the firebox and below the flue is the smoke chamber, which is essential for an efficient chimney.
The Smoke Chamber’s Job
The smoke chamber consists of a slanted wall to direct the smoke up, and a shelf, called a smoke shelf, that keeps the smoke from falling back into the firebox. While the smoke is in the smoke chamber, the hot air, gases, and smoke mix together before rising up the chimney. Since heat rises, it assists the rest of the smoke in pushing up the chimney.
Maintaining the Smoke Chamber
Just like the rest of the chimney system, the smoke chamber should be maintained in order to be safe and efficient over time. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the smoke chamber should be parged smooth with a refractory insulated mortar mix, which directs the air across a smooth surface, while protecting the masonry from high heat. Even if your smoke chamber has never been parged, you can likely restore it to code compliance by scheduling a smoke chamber parge.
If you have an older fireplace, your smoke chamber may have tiered brick steps that form the smoke chamber. This may have worked for years, but it is far less efficient than a smoothly parged wall. The multiple joints and bricks of a non-parged smoke chamber can allow soot and creosote buildup. This slows air, making the rest of the chimney less efficient.
Hire a Professional
You don’t have to hire a master mason to parge your smoke chamber, but it’s definitely to your benefit to hire a certified chimney sweep. Billy Sweet Chimney Sweeps are CSIA-certified and experienced in restoring chimney systems to proper function. Whether your smoke chamber needs a simple repair, or if it’s never been parged before, we’ll take care of your chimney, and you’ll be surprised with how well it works. Parging the smoke chamber raises efficiency, generates less heat lost up the chimney, and requires fewer chimney sweeps than other systems. A more efficient system means less likelihood of a flue fire, less wood wasted to reach the desired temperature, and less necessary maintenance.
If you have not had your chimney inspected in the last 12 months, now is the time to do so. You may need to have your chimney cleaned, parts replaced, or your smoke chamber may need to be parged. Without scheduling an appointment with a chimney expert, you will never know.
Contact Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today. Call 617-469-4528 or schedule an appointment online.
Every year there are approximately 22,000 residential house fires due to the fireplace, chimney, or chimney connector. These fires surpass those caused by other heat sources, cooking equipment, electrical wiring, and large appliances. Chimneys can be the most dangerous thing in your house; because if it isn’t maintained properly, it doesn’t hold a fire. Likewise, if it isn’t maintained properly, it won’t vent the fire. House fires lead to property loss, injuries, and death. Carbon monoxide intrusion caused by venting issues can lead to irreparable damage, medical costs, and death. Protect against property loss, lost money, and endangering your family by having your chimney system regularly maintained by a professional.
The CSIA Difference
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is aware of the hazard a faulty fireplace and chimney system can be. Since its establishment in 1983, CSIA has become the national standard for the chimney industry, making a goal to bring down the number of residential house fires and saving lives in the process.
The CSIA credential meets the highest standards of education and is regulated by the Indiana State Workforce Innovation Council, Office of Career and Technical Schools to this day.
The CSIA is a non-profit organization whose mission is the elimination of residential fires, and it’s governed by industry professionals from across the country to further this mission.
Code of Ethics
When a chimney sweep earns CSIA certification, he or she must abide by a stringent code of ethics designed to protect homeowners from scams in this under-regulated field. If a sweep is found to be in violation, certification can be revoked.
A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) must complete classroom and field training before passing an exam which includes a portion on chimney sweeping, and a portion based on the International Residential Code (2016). After three years, sweeps must recertify through examination or continued education credits to keep up with a changing field and safety standards.
Protect Your Home and Family
When it’s time for your car maintenance, replacing your roof, or treating a bad tooth, you don’t cut corners. You hire the professionals. Don’t cut corners when maintaining and repairing the most appealing and most dangerous part of your home. Call the professionals who are licensed, certified, and insured so that your chimney gets the best care possible.
Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep has provided the highest level of customer service and comprehensive chimney care in the Boston, North Shore, and Portland area for over 30 years. The difference is the CSIA difference. Our goal is customer safety and comfort. We offer CSIA inspections and chimney sweeps to keep your chimney safe and efficient. We sell, install, and service the best products on the market, and we repair chimneys and hearth products year-round.
There is still time to have your chimney serviced to prevent chimney fires and winter damage this season. Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today. Dial 617-469-4528 or use our online scheduling tool for your convenience.
Boston might have had a slow start, but the area will be seeing more winter weather going into next week and extending into Christmas! Homeowners with fireplaces are probably using them for heat already, as well as ambiance during holiday festivities—setting up a tree, wrapping gifts, or just spending time with family. This is the favorite time of year to enjoy a fireplace, and it’s important to make sure it’s ready for burn season before you light it. It’s important that your fireplace and chimney are safe and functioning properly to have the least impact on the environment (and your wallet), but the most benefits to your family.
Your chimney system can last your lifetime and the life of your house, but only when it’s properly maintained. Chimney industry professionals and organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)recommend routine maintenance in order to have the safest and most efficient fireplace possible.
Chimney Sweeps – Routine chimney sweeps keep the fireplace and chimney clean of ash, soot, creosote, and debris that can slow the airflow through the flue. A clean chimney is an efficient chimney.
Chimney Inspections – Annual inspections keep the chimney working properly. There are large portions of the chimney system that a homeowner will never see, and problems can occur that a homeowner would not know to look for. When you schedule a chimney inspection, a certified professional comes in and assesses it from top to bottom. A properly functioning chimney is a safe chimney.
Finding Chimney Services in Boston
When it’s time to schedule services for your chimney system, you don’t have to search far. By clicking over on CSIA.org, you can input your zip code and a complete list of CSIA certified professionals comes up. Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep is at the top of the list!
Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep has been sweeping, inspecting, and caring for the chimneys of New England for over 30 years. We provide homeowners, realtors, property managers, and business owners with the highest level of customer service and care. We not only work in the area, but we live here, and it’s our priority to keep our neighbors safe and to educate our communities about fire and chimney safety.
Before you hire an amateur to construct, repair, or service your chimney system, find out what Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep can do for you. Our CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps specialize in CSIA inspections, chimney sweeps, installations, repairs, and rebuilds. We are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America as well as the National Fireplace Institute [http://www.nficertified.org/], and members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) and the Massachusetts Chimney Sweep Guild. Our training, experience, and certifications make us better at providing chimney care in Eastern Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, and the Portland, Maine area.
Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today at 617-469-4528 or schedule online.
As summer winds down, the evenings become cooler and cooler until the A/C is off for good. The fall, leading into the holidays, may be the most popular for fireplaces. So start now, and you’ll be ready.
Follow the advisement of industry professionals and have your chimney routinely swept. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) also recommend annual inspections for the safest and most efficient chimney system. These appointments may be the only time throughout the year that a certified chimney sweep has access to your chimney, and can identify weaknesses, concerns, and hazards. Not sure you need an inspection? Familiarize yourself with the CSIA inspection and when to schedule yours.
Schedule Repairs NOW
You have a few more weeks to get repairs and upgrades completed before burn season starts. Scheduling necessary repairs and services now means you can avoid the fall rush. If you wait until fall, you may not get an appointment when you need one. Don’t get left in the cold. Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep offers all of our chimney services year-round because we know summer is a great time for chimney work!
Your chimney is subject to weather year-round, but is especially vulnerable during the winter, when snow sits on the chimney and flashing and melts slowly. During these months, water is also subject to a freeze/thaw cycle that can damage your masonry from the inside out. Once water penetrates the masonry, it freezes, expands, melts, and repeats this process, breaking through the masonry each time. This freeze/thaw cycle causes spalling and serious water damage to the chimney interior. If left unchecked, rain will have direct access to the chimney system this spring. The best way to prevent water penetration this winter is to make sure your chimney has an effective cap, crown, and flashing – all checked during your inspection.
Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep also applies a vapor-permeable sealant for added water protection. In fact, we apply this sealant for FREE on all of our masonry repairs because we know it works, and our first priority is your safety. This waterproofing sealant protects your masonry all winter long, decreasing winter damage and preventing chimney leaks. By protecting your chimney this winter, you will have a more efficient fire and safe chimney.
Is your fireplace and chimney ready for winter? Then the only thing left to do is to prepare your fuel. Do you have a wood fireplace, insert, or stove? Then you should have already started gathering properly seasoned wood. If you are unsure about fuel, appliances, tools, or fire safety, you can contact a Billy Sweet professional now. Call 617-469-4528 or use our convenient online form.