Our Company Blog

All About HeatShield®

Your chimney is designed to last, but many factors can cause it to become worn and damaged. In some cases, your chimney can require drastic repairs and even a rebuild. When damage is caught in time, it can be repaired simply, with industrial solutions that have been tested and designed for just that.

All About HeatShield Image - Boston MA - Billy Sweet Chimney SweepHeatShield® Cerfractory® Technology

HeatShield® combines the strength of a high fired ceramic with the heat resistance of high temperature refractory cement. This technology is long-lasting, heat resistant, and versatile. Thus, it can repair in a few ways. The material is a powder that is mixed with tap water before the job is done. Therefore, HeatShield® Cerfractory® sealant is not wasted, and costs remain low. Since it’s creation, chimney experts have been using HeatShield® to restore chimneys, using one of three systems of repair:

  1. Joint Repair System
    This system repairs joints correctly, strengthening your chimney and restoring it to full function. When there are gaps between flue tiles, a foam applicator blade is fit for your chimney and positioned below each gap. The HeatShield® mixture is placed into the gaps by the tool and the flue is smoothed as the tool moves upward.
  2. Resurfacing System
    What if the chimney is sound, but has cracks, spalling, and gaps in the flue? The resurfacing system restores the flue from top to bottom. The custom foam applicator is used, as it is in the joint repair. However, this time it is placed at the bottom of the flue, and hoisted upward with a wench. This tool applies a “tie coat” material to the flue walls, which cleans and primes the flue walls. After this coat dries, HeatShield® is applied, with a thickness of 1/4″ again using the foam applicator/wench system. This process is completed with a video scan to ensure the flue is restored, smoke-tight, and smooth.
  3. CeCure® Sleeve Relining System
    Much like the resurfacing system, this system requires a custom foam applicator/wench that applies HeatShield® Cerfractory® Flue Sealant. Next a CeCure® Sleeve is lowered into the chimney and attached to the top. This sleeve is a high-density, low profile, ceramic insulation sleeve, reinforced with stainless steel fabric. It is pressed firmly into place when the foam applicator tool is pulled back down the flue. Afterwards, the job is completed when a coat of HeatShield® Cerfractory® Flue Sealant is applied on top of the sleeve. This job is checked with a video scan, and a complete relining system. This restores a damaged liner, or lines an un-lined flue. This system is appropriate for all fuel types and is long lasting.

Why HeatShield?

This technology was developed in Europe over 20 years ago. In addition, it is the top choice for chimney professionals across the United States and Europe. It is an eco-friendly choice. Also, it is as dependable and long-lasting as a stainless steel liner. It’s affordable and comes with a 20 year limited warranty.

We stand by HeatShield® products because they are the best. Here at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we put customer safety and satisfaction first. For information about our chimney lining services ask a technician about HeatShield® today. To find out more about liners and their importance, click here. Remember that Billy Sweet is certified to get the job done right, and we can repair your flue before fall!

We Think Portland, Maine is a Special Place

Portland, Maine is such a special place because it is Authentic. The Visit Portland website describes Portland, “With its heady mixture of artistic and outdoor adventures, our region is stylish and sophisticated, yet remains genuine and unpretentious, a place where grey flannel and plaid flannel coexist companionably. And underlying the latest tech, fashion, and culinary scene is a deep sense of continuity” and the entire staff of Billy Sweep Chimney Sweep is in total agreement. We love Portland!

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Portland was originally called Casco during the 1600s and went through several name changes until 1786 when the town was renamed Portland. It was a rail town in the day and an accessible seaport for Canadian exports. The population has grown from approximately 2200 in 1790 to over 66,000 today.

There is so much to see and do in Portland that no one of any age, visitor or resident alike, will ever be bored. Portland’s beautiful island setting offers unique adventures. Whether you are exploring by land or sea in a trolley, ferry, vintage fire truck, or schooner you will find the area breathtaking. Lighthouse tours, art tours, food and beverage tours, and historical tours offer days of fun, education, and entertainment. Portland is a cyclist’s dream. You can even explore Portland aboard a vintage lobster boat. Did someone say lobster? Seafood doesn’t get any fresher and delicious than that which is caught in Casco Bay! You can catch your own during a chartered excursion or enjoy your seafood prepared by the world renowned chefs throughout the area. Besides first class food, Portland’s breweries and wineries have been drawing residents and visitors to taste local beer, wine, and there is even a local distillery of vodka in nearby Freeport.

What goes best with food? Entertainment, and Portland offers a variety of venues including Port City Music Hall, One Longfellow Square, and Portland Ovations. Kids love Funtown Splashtown U.S.A..

History buffs love spending time at the various museums and historical sites in Portland. The Maine Historical Society is located in Portland, as is the Maine Narrow Guage Railroad Company & Museum and the Museum at Portland Head Light which is the oldest lighthouse in Maine, The Portland Observatory Museum is a national historic landmark and is the only signal tower in America. Portland is especially proud of its new Science Center that is “illuminating minds”.

“Uptown” is known as the “artsy” side of Portland, while “Old Port” is known for its entertainment, clubs, and the beer gardens. Sports lovers will want to catch a game when the Portland Pirates (the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers), Maine Red Claws (the NBA affiliate of the Boston Celtics) or the Portland Sea Dogs (the AA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox) are playing at home.
When winter comes to Portland, it’s time to get cozy and warm in this picturesque town. There is cross country skiing in the local parks, and Deering Oaks Park offers ocean side skiing and skating adventures. As you can imagine, art and artists are prolific in Portland. Well-known artists such as Homer, Marin, and Jamie Wyeth have strong ties to Portland. To learn more about their inspiration and careers, as well as view beautiful works of art, be sure to devote some time to spend along the Maine Art Museum Trail.

There is beauty and and art to most everything in life and Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep knows Portland is a very special place and we are proud to serve its residents.

We Love Serving The North Shore

North Shore, Massachusetts encompasses the area between Boston and New Hampshire. The area is beautiful and coastal. Describing the North Shore must include a special and rich culture in addition to stunning and diverse geography. That’s why the entire staff of Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep loves serving the North Shore.

Here is a list of the cities and towns included in the North Shore area:

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  • Amesbury
  • Beverly
  • Boxford
  • Danvers
  • Essex
  • Georgetown
  • Gloucester
  • Groveland
  • Hamilton
  • Haverhill
  • Ipswich
  • Lynn
  • Lynnfield
  • Manchester
  • Marblehead
  • Merrimac
  • Middleton
  • Nahant
  • Newbury
  • Newburyport
  • Peabody
  • Rockport
  • Rowley
  • Salem
  • Salisbury
  • Saugus
  • Swampscott
  • Topsfield
  • Wenham
  • West Newbury

Geographically, the region has a rocky coastline, marshes, wetlands, beaches, and harbors perfect for recreation, wildlife, and inter-coastal commerce.
One of the best known cities in the North Shore region is Salem, well known for the tragic Salem Witch trials of 1962. The Salem Witch Museum provides an insight to that unique time in our history. The Peabody Essex Museum includes the Ying Yu Tang house which was originally located in southeastern China and depicts the life of the many generations of the Huang family who lived in the home for over 200 years. Gloucester, a fishing town, was venerated in “The Perfect Storm” by Sebastian Junger. Newburyport is the quintessential coastal town with a boardwalk, red-brick downtown, and active commercial wharf. The North Shore area includes activities such as whale watching and harbor cruises, beaches and lighthouses, theatre and restaurants, contemporary and historic architecture. And yet, there is so much more.

Sports fans of the North Shore breathe black and gold in honor of their beloved Bruins. Babies in the North Shore towns (or to parents who once lived in North Shore) are mysteriously born with a Red Sox logo tattooed on their chest. We’re kidding, but the dedication and spirit of Red Sox fans is undeniable. And no matter what happens, The New England Patriots will never lose favor with their devoted fans in North Shore even when the rest of country is badmouthing the team.

Patriotism is also abundant in the area. North Shore is the birthplace of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. The Atlantic Ocean fosters international commerce as well as provides the freshest and finest seafood in America, which diners enjoy along with their favorite craft beer. Local breweries are abundant. Donut aficionados say the only donut worth eating comes from Dunkin Donuts. If you are lost and ask for directions, if you are told “it’s just past the Dunkin Donuts”, you better ask someone else. Dunkin Donuts is so popular in North Shore you will find one on practically every street.

Residents of North Shore speak with a unique Revere accent. The surest way to unintentionally insult a resident of the North Shore is to remark on their “Boston” accent. It’s not Boston; the speech pattern is a local dialect exclusive to the North Shore.
Ultimately, it’s the people who make the North Shore so special, it’s always been about the people and always will be. Past and present residents of North Shore are strong, determined, loyal, full of community spirit, enterprising, generous, and fun loving. The people of North Shore have learned from the mistakes of their ancestors and work diligently to secure a prosperous and praiseworthy future for generations to come.

“We love serving the North Shore”, is the mantra of the team of Billy Sweet Chimney Service and are proud to bring our chimney services to its residents.

Common Problems with Masonry Chimneys

The autumn weather has arrived in full force. The chilly wind has colorful leaves falling from the trees and has everyone digging up their cozy jackets. This time of year also has homeowners thinking about how to heat their homes. In the frigid New England winters, this is a big concern. Many homes utilize fireplaces for some or even all of their heating needs. With a fireplace, however, comes some maintenance responsibilities. Fireplaces with masonry chimneys, in particular, are prone to specific types of issues, so you need to keep an eye out for the safety of your home and family.

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A major issue that masonry chimneys face is water damage. Many homeowners never even consider that their strong, robust chimney could ever succumb to damage from a little water. Chimneys are built to live outside, after all. Unfortunately though, water can cause serious problems. The materials used to build a masonry chimney like brick, mortar, and concrete are all very porous, meaning they readily absorb water. While stones do not absorb water, the mortar holding them together does. The trouble with a masonry chimney filled with water occurs during the freeze and thaw cycles of winter. The water expands as it freezes, which means the bricks, the mortar, and the concrete all expand as well. Over time, this expansion causes damage.

You may see water damage in several different forms. The first clue is cracked or missing mortar. The constant movement of the materials during freezing weather loosens the bonds of the mortar. Thus, the mortar wiggles its way out from between the bricks, appearing as a crack or as a decent sized hole. A mason can usually fix isolated mortar cracks or holes using a process called tuckpointing.

Another sign of water damage is a cracked chimney crown. This concrete slab on top of your chimney acts as an umbrella to keep water from entering the flue. If it has cracks from water damage, water is entering your chimney, which leads to a whole new set of problems. Ask your mason if he can patch the cracks. Otherwise, the chimney crown may need to be completely replaced.

The most devastating sign of water damage to the chimney is partial or total collapse of the structure. This most likely occurs after years of exposure to water and freezing temperatures, but a poorly built chimney could suffer from collapse in less time. Chimneys are very heavy, meaning a collapse could be a danger to anyone on the ground and to the structure of your home. Any signs of a collapsing chimney must be addressed by a mason right away.

Luckily, you can take some steps to prevent water damage, like sealing your chimney and adding a chimney crown. Ask your mason what can be done to protect your chimney. If you live in the Boston or North Shore area or around Portland, Maine, contact Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep for a professional consultation. The experts at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep can help make your chimney last for many more years.

Use HeatShield to Protect Your Home and Chimney

The fireplace in your home has steadfastly provided you with warmth and an ambient, crackling background on chilly evenings. In return, you have lovingly followed through with an annual chimney sweep to keep your fireplace functioning. Unfortunately, a sweep might not catch the hidden damages inside your chimney. The flue tiles lining the inside of your chimney suffer the most neglect because you cannot see them without a through video inspection of the inside of the chimney. If these tiles are cracked, missing mortar, or completely absent, you can have a serious safety hazard on your hands. Luckily, all of these issues can be easily resolved using the HeatShield system.

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Flue tiles are heat resistant units that line the interior of your chimney. They protect the masonry structure from the smoke and heat and guard the combustible materials in your home from starting on fire. If the flue tiles in your chimney are damaged or missing, you are putting your safety at risk. The corrosive products of a burning fire can cause damage to the masonry structure, meaning that a burning fire is slowly deteriorating the integrity of your chimney. In addition, flue tiles protect the combustible materials in your home, like dry wall and wooden beams, from catching fire. In a study done by the National Bureau of Standards, a fire in a unit with an unlined chimney resulted in adjacent woodwork lighting on fire within 3 ½ hours.

To protect your home from structural or fire damage, you need to have a professional assess the condition of the flue tiles in your chimney and repair any damages with HeatShield. If your flue tiles are only missing mortar, the simple fix involves applying HeatShield flue sealant to the interior of the chimney using a custom made application blade.

The Resurfacing System is used for flue tiles with missing mortar and other superficial damages. The professional will apply a special primer to prepare the surface for the HeatShield, then a fine layer of HeatShield flue sealant will fill in all cracks, crevices and holes. Upon the final application, the flue lining is as good as new.

Finally, some chimneys are missing entire sections of flue lining or do not have a flue lining at all. Before burning a fire under this chimney, you need to have a professional install a HeatShield lining. First, a layer of HeatShield flue sealant is laid against the bare masonry. Next, custom fit steel fabric is fitted against the sealant. The final step is to apply another layer of HeatShield flue sealant over the steel mesh to form a strong, heat-resistant flue lining.

All of these applications must be performed by a professional chimney service certified to properly use HeatShield products. If you live in the North Shore or Boston, Massachusetts area or the Portland, Maine area, contact Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep for a professional consultation.