Our Company Blog

Proudly Serving Boston

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.

Professional Services

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.

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.

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!

Using Cameras for a Level 2 Inspection

The chimney system is important for the safety and comfort of your family. Whether it was built with your home, or a later addition, it was built to last. However, it must be properly maintained. The great majority of your chimney system is hidden to the eye of the homeowner. Unfortunately, even the eyes of your certified chimney sweep, unless you schedule an inspection!

Using Cameras for a Level 2 Inspection Image - Boston MA - Billy Sweet Chimney SweepInspections Explained

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) as well as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend routine maintenance for the safest and most efficient chimney system. This includes regular chimney sweeps and annual inspections. For thoroughness and simplicity, there are three levels of inspection:

  • Level One – Scheduled annually when nothing has changed with your system and no problems are indicated. This level includes only readily accessible portions.
  • Level Two – Required before the sale or transfer of land, following a natural disaster, or fire. This inspection is a more thorough examination of the entire system, including hidden spaces.
  • Level Three – Scheduled if a level one and two inspection indicate a hazard, and usually requires the removal of components (walls, parts of chimney, etc.) to access the hazard.

Billy Sweet Does Video Scans

At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we document every job. When a homeowner schedules a level two inspection, our technician visibly inspects the readily accessible portions. They get a thorough look at the hidden portions with the use of video surveillance. We use Chim-Scan® technology and Wohler Vis2000-Pro to get the best view possible!

When your inspection is complete, including a full video scan, you’ll be able to view the video while your technician explains his report. You don’t have to guess, and neither do we. The Chim-Scan® system offers the best view possible of the entire chimney system. With it, we can detect:

  • Voids
  • Cracks
  • Weaknesses
  • Soot and Creosote Buildup

Following your inspection, you will get a report signed by your CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) for your personal records and legal purposes. In addition, the video footage is available for your needs as well. It’s especially beneficial if your home is on the sales market, offering full disclosure to prospective buyers.

You can schedule your inspection, including a video scan, today. Don’t depend on a mirror and flashlight, because that puts your family and home at great risk of fire, injury, and death. Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today at 617-469-4528 or request an appointment online!

Massachusetts Flashing Repair

One of the most detrimental things that can happen to your chimney is a leak. However, water damage does not stop with merely a drip in the chimney or a trickle along a wall. By the time the average homeowner sees these types of signs, there is already extensive damage that is unseen to the untrained eye. The very best way to prevent this type of damage from occurring is to keep up with regular chimney maintenance: chimney sweeps, and inspections. It’s during these appointments that an expert chimney sweep will find damaged or missing parts and can repair them.

Massachusetts Flashing Repair - Boston MA - Billy Sweet Chimney SweepCommon Chimney Issues

If you notice water damage to your chimney system you should schedule an appointment with a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS). It’s likely that the first thing your chimney sweep will check is the flashing. This is because it’s often installed incorrectly.

What is Flashing

Flashing is made up of multiple sheets of very thin metal, either stainless steel, aluminum, or copper. These sheets are meticulously placed at the intersection of your chimney and roof to reinforce and water proof this vulnerable part of the roof.

Common Problems with Flashing

The material used and the placement of the material is specific to each roof and chimney. In addition, the type of roofing material, slant of the roof, and common weather for the area should determine how your chimney sweep installs your flashing. Many homeowners make the mistake of hiring an amateur, or an unqualified general contractor or roofer to install flashing in order to save money. This is not recommended. When installed incorrectly, the flashing will have a shorter life, and cause problems sooner.

Other common issues with the flashing:

  1.  It’s missing. This is not acceptable. There is no substitution for flashing.
  2.  It’s damaged duet to weather-wear, poor materials, or animal tampering.
  3.  Caulk is loose. This can cause water penetration and cause the metal sheets to slide away completely.

Call the Professionals

When the chimney flashing is damaged or missing it should be treated with the utmost importance. If the flashing is damaged, you should assume that water is penetrating your home, and most likely your masonry. Water causes extensive damage to the entire chimney system, and should be avoided and prevented whenever possible.

Winter weather in Massachusetts and Maine means there is ample opportunity for water to enter your chimney if the flashing is damaged. Avoid the hassle and damage by letting Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep repair your chimney flashing now. With more than 30 years of experience, you don’t have to wonder if the job is done right. Chimney flashing is custom work and our certified chimney sweeps are trained and experienced in installing, repairing, and replacing flashing.

You can find out more about how chimney flashing repair can benefit your New England home by calling Billy Sweet at 617-469-4528. You can also request an appointment online for your convenience.