Our Company Blog
Your chimney may look healthy from the outside, but it may have a hidden problem that is wreaking havoc on all of the unseen parts. Because of the porous nature of masonry and the materials it is made of, masonry chimneys are highly susceptible to water penetration and damage, which may go unseen for many weeks or even months before anyone notices signs of a problem. By this time there is usually serious unseen damage within the system–damage that is 100 percent preventable.
Whether it falls in through an exposed flue, penetrates through the masonry, or seeps in through damaged flashing, water will produce the same result–damage. Water doesn’t only damage parts of the chimney itself, but usually results in other leaks that affect your home. When water comes in through the chimney system, it will travel through the structure of your home, in ceilings, floors, and walls until it pools in one low area where it will form a leak. For this reason, if you have a leak anywhere in your home, even rooms away from your chimney, it’s important to call a chimney professional. The chimney is the first thing that should be checked because it’s usually the culprit. Besides damage to the home, walls, floors, and furniture, the chimney takes on damage that is costly to repair.
Water causes serious damage to the chimney, including:
-Rust to parts, assemblies, ducts, and connections
-Deterioration of assemblies, masonry, mortar, and mortar joints
-Rotting adjacent wood, wall coverings, walls, and floors
-Water stains in home and masonry (interior and exterior portions)
-Cracks and damage to flue lining system
-Collapsed hearth support and foundation damage
-Leaning, tilted, or collapsed chimney structure
-Odors, spores, and mold affecting breathable air in the home
Preventing Water Damage
At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we understand the importance of water damage prevention due to our sometimes harsh winters and proximity to ocean waters. Falling precipitation isn’t the only water that can penetrate the chimney system. Moisture in the air, especially corrosive moisture such as salt water, can be just as damaging to the masonry. It’s important to schedule routine maintenance with a chimney professional in order to make sure your chimney is protected against water penetration. At Billy Sweet we offer chimney inspections year round that will identify problems and hazards that put your chimney and home at risk. We also diagnose leaky chimneys, and the first thing we’ll check is the flashing because it’s often installed incorrectly. Billy Sweet will also check that your flashing, cap, crown, and masonry is in good shape and will keep water out. To add extra protection to the masonry, we apply a waterproofing product that will keep water out year after year.
It’s unsafe to put latex sealant or other outdoor water repellent products on your masonry. They may keep water out, but the chimney won’t work properly, or safely. The water repellent that we use at Billy Sweet actually repels water, keeping water molecules from getting in, while still remaining vapor-permeable so that gas and heat can escape.
We not only waterproof chimneys year-round, but we offer this service free after exterior masonry repairs!
To schedule your waterproofing services, call 781-593-2333 or contact us online.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
I heard St. Nicholas let out a horrible sound.
He was stuck in the chimney, I could only see his foot!
Dangling out of the chimney, blocked with ashes and soot
I knew once he got loose, there’d be no presents for me
Why didn’t I just call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep?!”
The most important time to have your chimney inspected and swept is before the wintertime. This is when you will use it most. Not only will it help Santa deliver your presents, but it will also keep your home safe and your chimney working efficiently!
Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep offers a variety of services to keep your chimney in tip-top shape:
It may sound like a simple task, but it’s not. When it comes to clearing your chimney of ashes, soot, and debris, hiring a professional is your best bet. This will keep your home safe and warm. According to Enlightenme.com, “Dirt can block your chimney’s flue, causing smoke to back up into your home and make your fireplace noxious. Excessive creosote can potentially ignite and cause an uncontrolled fire hazard.” Having your chimney swept annually can not only keep you safe, but will save you money in the long run. In addition, it helps prevent the buildup of creosote and damage beyond normal use.
It’s important to have a professional check for cracks in your chimney. This is because they pose a safety hazard, and can even leak harmful gases into your home. According to Home Advisor, “ The smoke from a fire can contain dangerous gases, among them carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can cause illness, or even death, in large amounts. Cracks in a chimney can leak heat into the surrounding walls, and lead to structural damage or even house fires.” Annual inspections will help you know whether or not your chimney is in a good state, or if it needs to be serviced, repaired or restored. Knowing is half the battle, and Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep is here to help!
Your chimney liner helps prevent damage to your chimney’s masonry or mortar joints. It helps prevent emissions of harmful gasses, and keeps heat away from flammable materials in your home. Whether your chimney doesn’t have a liner and needs one installed, making sure your liner is in good shape helps extend the life of your chimney and keeps your home safe.
If your chimney is leaking, three common areas to check are the cap, crown, or flashing. The chimney cap, or protective cover at the top opening of the chimney, helps keep water and debris out of your chimney. In addition, sometimes this part may be damaged or missing. Below the cap is the chimney crown, which is built to keep the elements away from the chimney opening. The crown may also have cracks or spalling, which could result in water leaks. Lastly, damaged flashing, where your chimney meets the roofline, is another common area for water to sneak into the chimney. Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep can inspect your chimney for leaks and even waterproof your chimney by applying a protective sealant to ward off the elements.
If you haven’t gotten your chimney ready for Santa yet, what are you waiting for? Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep is here to help with all of your chimney needs whether you need a sweep, inspection, new liner, or all of the above! Contact us today to keep your family safe and warm this winter.
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.
Common 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:
- It’s missing. This is not acceptable. There is no substitution for flashing.
- It’s damaged duet to weather-wear, poor materials, or animal tampering.
- 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.
Chimney caps are the most inexpensive way to prevent water penetration to the the chimney system. 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.
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.
In Boston, we are used to heavy snowstorms and blizzards during the winter. In January and February of 2015, we experienced a blizzard that lasted over six weeks and dumped a record 108.6 inches of snow in our area. Even though long-time residents know how to be ready for these types of storms, Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep would like to remind you of how you can prepare your fireplace so that you will not have to worry about being without heat when the power goes out during a blizzard.
Schedule a professional chimney sweeping and inspection before winter arrives.
This maintenance task will take care of removing all of the accumulated creosote from the inner walls of your chimney, which increases fireplace safety and reduces fire hazards. During the inspection, our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps will examine the condition of your fireplace and chimney to be sure everything is working safely. If we find any damage, we will make recommendations of the repairs that are necessary for you to use your fireplace safely.
Check the gaskets to see if they need to be repaired or replaced.
You want to ensure that the gaskets on your fireplace doors, damper, and ash dump are providing an effective seal. According to Cabin Living, without a proper seal, too much air can leak into the firebox and cause overfire and permanent damage to your fireplace.
Have the blower cleaned.
If your fireplace is equipped with a blower, you should clean off the dust and dirt from it to protect the balance of the blower. When the blower has too much dust accumulation on its blades, the balance can change and cause the bearings to wear out prematurely. Your fireplace blower typically will not have a filter to keep dust off, so you need to check it regularly to be sure it is clean.
Replace broken or deteriorated bricks in the lining.
When the brick lining is so damaged that it has deteriorated so much that the steel body of the firebox is exposed, the high temperatures can lead to permanent damage. Be sure the bricks are in good shape so you will not have to worry about damage occurring that could make your fireplace unsafe.
Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep is here to help you prepare your fireplace for dangerous storms this winter. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a chimney sweeping and inspection so that you can stay warm and safe this winter.