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.

The Chimney Cap and Why it’s Important

Chimney caps are the most inexpensive way to prevent water penetration to the the chimney system. The Chimney Cap and Why it's Important- Boston MA- Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep-w800-h597 The chimney cap covers the flue opening to keep the weather out, and here in New England we get a fair share of weather. Although the chimney cap is sometimes called a rain cover, it is essential for winter weather as well.

Keep the Outside Out and the Inside In

The average snowfall for one year is enough to wreak havoc on a chimney, especially in New England. The process of freezing, thawing, and expanding through one cycle of seasons causes extensive damage to the chimney system. The chimney cap prevents rain water and snow from entering the flue opening.
Throughout the seasons various animals like to climb into chimneys and nest in the safety and warmth there. Throughout the year a chimney can become a habitat for small animals like squirrels, raccoons, and birds. Some animals, depending on the location, are protected, like the Chimney Swift. If a Chimney Swift nests in your chimney, it cannot be removed, and the chimney cannot be cleaned or used until the young birds have left the nest.
When a fire is burning particularly hot, it’s common for sparks and other byproducts to fly up through the flue. Without a chimney cap these sparks can ignite debris on the roof, or in a yard below or nearby.

When to Call a Professional

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends regular chimney sweeps and annual inspections for safe and efficient use of fireplace and chimney systems. It’s at these appointments that a professional would notice a missing, incorrectly installed, or damaged chimney cap.

Other good times to make an appointment with a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) are after the sale or transfer of a house, when fuel type is changed, or when changes are made to the system (including natural disasters and fire damage).

A Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep knows what is expected of chimneys in the Boston area. We pride ourselves on expert training and experience that puts our sweeps at the top of the industry for chimney maintenance. We offer waterproofing services and repairs to leaky chimneys, at fair rates and professional service.

Water Damage

Billy Sweet Chimney Sweeps make it our top priority to keep your fireplace system working and safe for your family, home, or business. When water is allowed to penetrate the chimney system it can affect everything, as the chimney is a system of many parts. Water damage can cause, rust, rot, deterioration, cracks, decay, stains, and more.

Call a Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today or make an appointment online to check your chimney cap.

Fireplace Restoration and Why You Can’t D-I-Y

There are many reasons to have a chimney inspection, including new property, damage, fire, and more. When you schedule a professional chimney inspection you should receive a report on the condition of your fireplace and chimney, along with a recommendation for needed repairs.

Fireplace Restoration and why you cant diy - Boston MA - Billy SweetProblems with the Fireplace

Common issues with the firebox can include cracks, water damage, and deterioration to the masonry. Some minor problems can be repaired quickly and easily, but more extensive damage calls for further inspection, and sometimes restoration.

Since cracks in the masonry are considered a fire hazard by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) it is vital to repair them immediately. Not only do cracks allow creosote to form on interior walls, but they also allow more water damage into the firebox. When damage becomes irreparable, a professional will recommend fireplace restoration, which will restore your fireplace to safe use.

Another reason a fireplace may need restoration is because the firebox dimensions do not allow for proper ventilation, causing smoke to fill the room. With the growing use of prefabricated fireboxes, the art of chimney construction has been a dying one. Many general contractors aren’t trained or experienced in the ins and outs of building a properly-dimensioned fireplace and chimney system, and should always consult a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS)  during construction.

Don’t D-I-Y

Only a Certified Chimney Sweep® constantly trains in and implements the safety standards of the industry. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we strive to offer the best service to the Boston, North Shore, and Portland areas, while upholding the safety codes of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). When you hire a Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep you get a detailed cleaning, a thorough inspection, and an expert recommendation. Your fireplace restoration should leave you confident in your system’s safety, beauty, and efficiency. Because we know how important your home is to you, we work with homeowners closely to insure they’re not only pleased with the final result, but it adheres to the standards of home owners insurance, and safety codes.

In this do-it-yourself world, there are just some things you don’t chance. The safety of your family and property is one of them. Only a profession is experienced and trained in chimney safety and repair, and only Billy Sweet Chimney Sweeps have thirty years of experience servicing chimneys in New England.

When you hire a Billy Sweet professional we will take before and after photos for insurance or real estate purposes. We also invite homeowners to review our services on Google and Yelp so that you know what you’re getting when you hire us to come into your home or business. We let our service speak for itself.

If you have a problem with your fireplace or chimney system and are ready to make the necessary repairs before burning season, contact Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today!

When Your Fireplace Smokes

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

Yes, smoke generally means a fire exists. However, in your fireplace or furnace, smoke usually indicates a less-than-efficient fire. If your fireplace is smoky, you most likely have a problem with your fuel, or with your venting system.

When Your Fireplace Smokes - Boston MA - Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep

Proper Fuel

It is very important to choose properly seasoned wood to burn in your fireplace or furnace. If your wood is green or wet it will burn slower, less hot, and maybe incompletely. When green or wet wood is burned it often doesn’t burn hot enough to push the smoke up the chimney, causing the smoke to stall, and fall back down.

Improper Use or Maintenance

If your fireplace is releasing excess smoke into your home, you should first check the damper. The damper should be open in order to allow the smoke to rise up the chimney. If the damper lever is opened, the opening may be blocked by soot buildup or debris. Like the damper, if the chimney isn’t routinely cleaned, layers of soot can prevent the smoke from rising up the chimney and out of the home. You can schedule your routine chimney sweeping to have your chimney flue and damper cleaned thoroughly.

Venting Problem

In order for gas to leave the home through the chimney, it has to pull from inside the home. When air is removed from the home it must be replaced. Modern homes are built tight, so air isn’t pulled from outside as the gases attempt to rise up the chimney. Even adding insulation or replacing windows in the home can create a smoke problem for this reason. An easy way to fix this problem is to open a window in another part of the home.

Also, it’s important to note that other home appliances can compete with the ventilation of the chimney. Even something as simple and harmless as a ceiling fan can compete with your chimney. Also, a leaky chimney can disrupt the draft of your fireplace.

Regardless of the cause, no home or business owner wants to deal with a smoke problem in the fireplace or furnace. Not only is it unpleasant, but it can cause respiratory issues if not corrected, and can also be a fire hazard. If the heated gases aren’t moving up the chimney, they can stall in the chimney flue and cause a flue fire. Because your chimney system is important, and the safety of your family and property are our top priority at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we recommend calling a professional if a smoking fireplace persists. Schedule your appointment today.

For more information about why your chimney isn’t working, check out the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and “100 Reasons Your Fireplace Doesn’t Work”.