Our Company Blog
January is the coldest month of the year for our customers and for much of the US. Many homeowners buy a home with a fireplace or have a fire unit installed for the ambiance. Others buy them specifically for supplemental heat, depending on fires throughout winter for zone heating and to lower the cost of utilities. You can too, but it’s important to use your fire properly for best results.
Burn Proper Fuel
Your wood-burning fireplace or unit should only burn properly-seasoned firewood. That means the wood has been cut to length and stored for 3-6 months before being burned. This time allows for the water in the living tree to dry and burn more completely. Burning wet, fresh, or “green” wood will make it difficult to light a fire. The wood will burn incompletely and produce more creosote and soot which will drop efficiency, cause dangerous buildup, and cause odors. When you burn green firewood you will burn more than twice the amount of wood to reach a desired temperature, and you will spend more time and money on chimney maintenance to boot!
Signs Your Wood is Ready
Your wood is not ready to burn when cut, but you can store it until it’s seasoned. Many homeowners don’t have their own accessible wood supply to cut from, but you can still buy seasoned firewood. All you have to do is find a local supplier who sells seasoned firewood at a reasonable price. Check the wood before you burn it, and make sure you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for.
Signs your firewood is seasoned:
- The wood flesh is dull in color.
- The bark pulls away from the wood.
- Cracks form along the edges of the wood.
- Wood is light in weight compared to freshly cut.
- Two pieces produce a hollow sound when hit together.
Correct Use and Maintenance
Part of keeping your chimney and fireplace working properly and lasting a lifetime is using it correctly and maintaining it properly. You should schedule regular chimney sweeps and annual inspections to help determine needs and repairs for your system. Your professional can also notify you of too much residue in the system which may be caused by what type of wood you’re burning, how you’re using your damper, and your burning practices.
- Never let your fire smolder.
- Never light a fire in a cold chimney without priming first
- Never close your damper while a fire is burning.
- Never burn clothing, trash, or leaves in your fireplace.
- Follow all the instructions of your trusted chimney professionals, and schedule all necessary appointments and services.
Schedule with us.
Our technicians are certified, our business is licensed, and our craft is exceptional. It’s our priority to bring safety and warmth to our neighbors and customers, starting with you. Call 617-469-4528 or schedule online.
The worst thing that can happen when you’re looking to fix a problem is for something to go wrong. You wouldn’t leave your health up to an amateur, so don’t leave your chimney care up to anyone other than the certified and insured professionals, trained in chimney science. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, our technicians are CSIA-certified, and our company is licensed and insured. That means if everything doesn’t go as planned, we have a plan!
The Billy Sweet Difference
At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we’ve provided chimney services to New England for over 30 years. We provide the highest level of customer service and care and we hold our technicians up to the highest standard as well. No matter the service, we maintain the cleanliness of the home as if it’s our own. We keep detailed documentation during the work process, and make sure the mess is contained with drop cloths, tarps, and a vacuuming system.
If you reside in our service area, you can count on Billy Sweet for all your routine chimney services. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) chimney systems that are cleaned and inspected routinely are the safest and most efficient. Chimney sweeps and inspections are our specialty, and we do so without damaging your system. If something goes wrong and damage is incurred at our fault, we handle it through our insurance. You won’t be bothered by the cost, and we’ll get it handled quickly so it doesn’t disrupt your life. It’s vital that you choose a company with insurance so you aren’t stuck with a big bill or costly damages after services end up in repairs.
Repairs and Restorations
Billy Sweet repairs and restores chimneys in New England no matter the size, style, age, or stone type. Our masons can repair your brick. We can bring an old chimney up to code. We can restore a neglected system back to efficiency and beauty. Don’t leave your repairs and restorations up to amateurs, and don’t count on D-I-Y Youtube videos. When it comes to your chimney system, chimney science must be considered, fire safety codes adhered to, and efficiency should be a priority. Only trained and certified professionals can show your system the best care and insure the best outcome.
When you hire a neighborhood handyman or uninsured company, it’s likely that they don’t have the funding for insurance, or could not be insured due to lack of training or certifications. The worst-case scenario may happen, and the contractor would leave you with a costly repair, or make the repairs in-house, with a large bill for you. An untrained worker might damage the roof, brick, liner, crown, and more. Roof damage may be the most common problem when hiring an inexperienced chimney sweep, and may be the most expensive to repair. Don’t leave your chimney up to chance, leave it up to the professionals–trained, certified, licensed, and insured. Count on Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep.
Call our Boston location at 617-469-4528.
Call our North Shore location at 781-593-2333.
Call our Portland location at 207-773-7933.
When you invest in a fireplace to add value to your property, you want it to match your home and your tastes. The housing market is trending toward fireplaces now more than ever. Additionally, they aren’t just practical additions to any home, but beautiful as well. When you have a fireplace and hearth professionally installed you get the option to personalize it to fit your exact specifications.
Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep fireplace and chimney experts are not only certified chimney sweeps! We also specialize in masonry construction and repair. We can build a hearth and fireplace from scratch. In addition, remodel an existing one with bricks or stone in a variety of designs.
Installation and Repair
Only a certified chimney sweep can properly construct or repair a fireplace or chimney. Your family’s safety and comfort is too important to leave up to chance. Hire a professional to get the job done right the first time.
- A professional will choose correct materials.
Too often, we are called in to repair damage from an incorrect installation. Amateurs and cons often use regular bricks instead of fire bricks to construct the fireplace. They may do this to cut costs or because they simply don’t know any better. However, either way it leads to frequent damage, increased fire risk, and unsightly heat stains.
- A professional should be able to install any design.
Whether you want a square or arched fireplace opening, an experienced mason should be able to do it and do it well. Professionals who have the expertise required should be able to assist you in designing your dream fireplace and hearth.
- A professional should know safety codes and adhere to them.
Interior fireplaces should abide by safety codes. Firebricks are available and rated as low, medium, or high duty. Also, designs should be compliant for safe use in a fireplace.
Your Fireplace Design
The homeowner has more freedom to design the hearth and mantel than the firebox itself, but there are many patterns that comply with safety standards. Your chimney expert should not only be able to comply with safety standards, but should be experienced in the actual design and implementation of it. The firebox withstands the most abuse of any part of the chimney system, with the highest temperatures for the longest periods of time. If the fire box isn’t constructed properly, you may spend a small fortune in future repairs and damage.
Protecting Your Fireplace Design
Once you’ve settled on your dream fireplace and had it built, you want it to last. With adequate care and professional maintenance to your fireplace and chimney, your system should last the life of your home, but there are certain preventative measures to insure it does. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we offer waterproofing services that protects your masonry from water damage. It’s water that does the most damage to the chimney’s masonry, and when water gets into your fireplace, it can mingle with the soot and ash there to deteriorate your masonry from the inside out.
Call Billy Sweet to discuss your firebrick design with a masonry expert today or request an appointment online.
Chimneys come with a lot of parts! There are chimney flue liners, caps, crowns, damper assemblies, and more. If your home is Victorian-style you most likely have a chimney pot topping your chimney. Chimney pots are effective for lengthening a too-short chimney to improve updraft, thereby increasing overall efficiency. Additionally, they last the life of the chimney. They only require a check-up every decade or so. Plus, they improve the look of the chimney.
Being the go-to certified chimney sweep in the Boston area, our technicians at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep are trained and experienced installing chimney pots. Sometimes a homeowner needs a chimney pot for a practical reason other than improving updraft. For instance, in this chimney pot job documented on our Facebook page, the homeowner needed chimney pots in order to allow the smoke and vapor to escape free of debris or obstruction. You can see in the photos that there is a neighboring fence obstructing the chimney’s ventilation.
In order to install chimney pots a few things have to take place. First, the technician should assess the job, then begin by removing the chase cover. Inside the chimney there is a flue liner. Sometimes there is more than one. Each of the flue liners will need a chimney pot. To attach the liner to the pot, your technician will design a carriage specifically for your chimney. Afterwards, they will secure the pots in place. Once the chimney pots are in place, the technician installs the chase cover and storm collar. This is essential for waterproofing, especially in the New England climate.
Trusting a Professional
When it comes to making adjustments of any kind to your chimney system, you should never attempt the work yourself. Only a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) has the training and expertise to properly install a chimney pot and more. Following any change or installation by Billy Sweet Chimney Sweeps, your technician will provide a report and inspection. This ensures that the job was completed properly.
Only an experienced professional knows when and how to utilize the chimney pot. This also includes how to match the appropriate chimney pot to the the type of chimney flue. Choosing a chimney sweep that not only recommends them, but installs them, is the best option for your home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends regular chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections. Doing this will keep your chimney at it’s safest and most efficient. Your chimney sweep should inspect the chimney pot during this inspection.
Before you make a decision about your chimney, or decide to make an online purchase and do the work yourself, you should call a professional. Don’t put your family’s safety and comfort at risk by cutting corners! Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep or contact us online.
Before your certified chimney sweep comes, it’s good to know the different levels of inspection and what they do in each level.
While it is accurate to say that no two chimneys are the same, it used to also be that no two chimney inspections were the same. This meant that depending on who you hired to do your inspection and subsequent sweeping, the inspection process could be entirely different, with widely varying degrees of thoroughness. Thankfully, in January of 2000, the Chimney Safety Institute of America introduced three levels of chimney inspection and adopted them into code. This means that any chimney sweep who has been certified by the C.S.I.A. (as any sweep should be if he or she is working on your chimney) will conduct one of three levels of inspection according to exacting specifications.
The 3 Levels of Chimney Inspection
The C.S.I.A. has clearly outlined three levels of chimney inspection. Depending on the condition of your chimney and the dangers that exist inside, one of the technicians at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep will be able to assess which inspection level your chimney warrants. Each inspection utilizes a closed circuit camera to gain a comprehensive look at the flue.
Level 1: The most basic (and most common) inspection looks at all “readily accessible” portions of the inside and outside of the flue, the heating appliance, and its connections.
Level 2: The next level of inspection is recommended when any changes have been made to the heating system. A Level 2 inspection will take a more in-depth look at the chimney and appliance and will include all parts of the chimney made accessible by attics, crawl spaces, and basements.
Level 3: The most comprehensive inspection of all, a Level 3 inspection involves the removal of some components of the chimney or the building to gain full access to the chimney. This inspection is recommended when a Level 2 inspection has indicated that there’s a hidden danger inside your flue.
Read more about chimney inspections here.
Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep is able to serve a wide swath of customers, as we have locations in Eastern Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, and Portland, Maine. Contact us today!