Our Company Blog
There are many issues that can arise during the winter months—things that affect the bills you pay and the safety of your home. The problems that affect your home this winter are not always caused by your fire appliance, your heater, or even neglect. Many problems arise because of weather, storms, damage, or other things entirely out of our control. In order for our customers to have the safest home possible this winter and every winter, we recommend these tips.
Gutters and Drains
Gutters and outside drains are great assets during freezing winters and wet springs. However, if they aren’t properly maintained, they can become a hazard. Leaves and debris left inside gutters and drains can cause a clog, allow your water flow to stall and freeze, and even lead to leaks and water damage outside the gutter system. A gutter problem doesn’t just affect the roof, eaves, and house. An overflowing or damaged gutter can lead to washout and damage to your landscaping and direct rainwater to your basement and foundation instead of designated drainage areas.
The only windows that do not need to be weatherized are those that are double-pane storm windows. There are specific models and brands of windows that will insulate your home despite the outside weather and temperature, but these windows are expensive and not usually in older homes. If you have a standard single-pane window, it should be properly winterized in order to save you money and prevent damage.
Screen Removal – If your windows have an outer screen, the screen should be removed during winter prep. Leaving the screens in the window can allow water to pass through the screen and then freeze against the window and the window sill. This not only leads to a temperature drop but also can ruin a wooden window frame and sill. Remove the screen and store upright in a storage closet, basement, or attic.
Storm Window Panes – If your single-pane windows have a screen, look around the basement and attic for replacement storm windows. These panes slip right into the space where the screen is removed. If your windows do not have storm window panes, remove the screen and plastic over your windows for insulation.
Window Insulation – Whether you have storm windows or simple single-pane windows, you can still add clear plastic insulation to your windows to help keep the cold out and keep your warm air in. You can hire someone to winterize your windows or purchase a window insulation kit at your local home improvement store to improve your home’s heat efficiency.
By the end of summer, we are excited to be finished with lawn care. We’re excited for the leaves to begin falling and celebrate as we put that weed trimmer and lawnmower in the shed for the winter. While we as homeowners are understandably finished with lawn care when autumn arrives, it’s important to trim your lawn before winter is in full force. Oftentimes, the grass stops growing, so we fail to cut it one last time. This makes raking more difficult when necessary and can hide hazards beneath high grass and then snow as fall turns to winter and winter to spring. Cutting your grass before winter arrives will mean a seamless transition back to spring and summer and will mean a healthier lawn and healthier microorganisms that help cultivate healthy soil.
Air Duct and Dryer Vent Maintenance
During winter months, we use air ducts and dryer vents more often than other times of the year. You may not even realize it, but you are likely spending more time than ever indoors, breathing recycled air that has been moving through your HVAC system over and over. You are also likely using the clothes dryer more often than in warmer months if you use a clothesline during the warmer months.
Whatever the reason, these systems are being used, and are oftentimes neglected. In order for a more efficient and safer central air and heating system, make sure you have your air ducts cleaned and sanitized as needed. When the system is maintained properly it will use less energy, will cycle and filter the air in your home better, and will last longer. Similarly, the clothes dryer vent will work better when it is cleaned annually. Not only will a clean dryer vent keep your family safe this winter, but it will help your dryer work better, work safely, use less energy, and last longer. Running your dryer multiple times for one load of clothes is a sign that there is a problem—and it’s a sign that costs you money! Schedule dryer maintenance now and see how much it saves you.
Chimney and Fireplace Maintenance
Homes that have a fireplace and chimney system are safer when they are maintained properly. Don’t take our word for it! The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) both agree that the safest and most efficient chimney systems are those that are cleaned regularly and inspected annually. Ideally, a homeowner would schedule these important services before the burn season, but it isn’t too late.
Residents in Boston, North Shore, and Portland area can call and schedule a sweep or inspection with Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep anytime, year-round. Our aim is to make safe homes and warm hearths. Dial 617-469-4528 or contact us online.
As temperatures across the country finally drop, leaves are turning and falling little by little. Make sure these leaves aren’t falling into your chimney and clogging it up. One of the best times of the year for your fireplace may also be the worst if you have a flammable obstruction in your flue. Leaves and other organic materials can be a dangerous hazard if your chimney isn’t capped. Call a chimney expert now to make sure your flue opening is protected with a cap.
Protection from the Top Down
Without a chimney cap, your flue opening is left wide open so that anything can fall or climb right into it. If you have trees hanging above your house, the leaves and limbs can fall directly into your flue, obstructing airflow and leading to serious fire hazards. The cap also protects your chimney from other hazards.
- Chimney Caps Keep Water Out
Your chimney is susceptible to all types of weather if it’s left uncapped. Precipitation can enter year-round, leading to serious water damage whether it’s spring showers, summer storms, winter snow and ice, and more. Protect your chimney system against costly damage by protecting it against water damage with a cap.
- Chimney Caps Keep Other Weather Out
Your fire may be affected by wind if it isn’t capped. If you live in an area of high wind, you can have a special cap installed that moves with the wind instead of allowing it to blow into the flue. This prevents gusts from affecting your flame while a fire is lit and prevents drafts from affecting your central air and heating.
- Chimney Caps Keep Animals Out
Animals don’t just become a bother in the spring. They can enter your chimney in winter too! If the flue is uncapped, anything can get into it that can get onto your roof—birds, chipmunks, squirrels, and even raccoons. Keeps critters from damaging your chimney, leaving debris behind them, and even dying and becoming an obstruction.
- Chimney Caps Keep Sparks In
When your fire burns hot, sparks may rise up the flue and even out the chimney still alight. These sparks can go on to ignite debris on the roof or even dry grasses and brush on the ground. A chimney cap is equipped with a spark suppressant that sends it straight back down the flue.
Don’t light your fire in a dangerous chimney this fall! This is the time for your fireplace to shine, and it can all be ruined when the chimney isn’t capped.
Prevent serious fire hazards by calling the chimney experts at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today. Prevent water damage, weather interference, and animal intrusion by trusting the professionals this fall. If you’re not certain that your chimney isn’t free of damage or debris this fall, schedule a chimney sweep or inspection today.
Call 617-469-4528 today or schedule an appointment online.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!