Our Company Blog

Don’t Ignore Your Chimney System!

While you work on your Spring Cleaning list, make sure you don’t forget your chimney. Your chimney system matters as much as any other system in your life. You get your oil changed to keep your engine running correctly. You have your teeth cleaned to prevent cavities. Likewise, you should have your chimney system serviced regularly to keep it working safely and efficiently. Your chimney is one of the largest systems in your home. It’s also one of the most dangerous and costly if neglected. A fireplace and chimney add value to any home, but when it’s neglected, it detracts from your home’s value while also putting your family and property at risk. 

Professional Services

Your chimney system should be maintained by a chimney professional with the training and experience to do the work properly. The team at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep are CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps with classroom and field training in both chimney science and technology as well as federal fire safety codes. We have a full selection of chimney services, including CSIA inspections and sweeping.

Why Service Your Chimney?

Whether your chimney has problems or works exactly as it should, your system needs to be serviced regularly. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) agree that the safest chimney systems are those that are inspected annually and cleaned regularly. During these important appointments, your chimney professional will catch minor problems before they turn into major ones. Minor wear-and-tear can be detected and repaired before it turns into serious damage. Having the chimney maintained on a regular basis by a professional is the best way to prevent costly repairs later and to keep your system efficient. Neglecting your chimney system will lead to wasted fuel, difficult-to-light fires, damaged masonry, stains, deterioration, and more. Save time and money by scheduling services this spring.

Your Serviced Chimney

Clean your chimney system this spring and you can avoid foul odors this summer caused by creosote and soot left inside the system. Having the system inspected this spring will help to prevent animal intrusion this spring and summer. Making sure that all parts are in proper working order also means that your system will be protected against water damage and will be ready again to use safely this fall. Don’t wait until the fall to schedule important services for your chimney system. It can be difficult and even impossible to get an appointment in the fall, often called The Fall Rush. If you get an appointment during this time, you may be surprised by reports of damage and necessary repairs. Schedule now so you will have plenty of time to make repairs before burn season. Many homeowners even build the chimney maintenance into their annual spring budget, utilizing tax refunds and taking advantage of end-of-season discounts. Call and find out if Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep has any deals or discounts to benefit your family. 

Schedule chimney services with New England’s chosen professionals today. Call 617-469-4528 today.

What is Creosote?

Many homeowners across the U.S. have been using their fireplaces for several weeks. In that time, the fires have produced soot consistently, and wood fires produce creosote as well. Every fire that burns wood will produce creosote because it is a natural byproduct, but how much creosote is produced will depend on the type of wood you burn.

The Problem with Creosote

Creosote can be no problem as long as it’s cleaned on a regular basis. When cleaned regularly, creosote can be removed safely by a professional using brushes and a vacuuming system during a routine chimney sweep. When these important services are neglected, the sticky creosote can buildup and lead to an obstruction that slows down the air in the chimney system. When homeowners continue to use a dirty system, the airflow slows significantly and the high temperatures cause the creosote to boil and the water in it to evaporate. Once the water evaporates, what is left is a dense, hard mass of concentrated tar–a highly flammable material left right in the line of fire.

Glazed Creosote

A level three creosote buildup is called “glazed creosote” because the creosote takes on a hardened, shiny look after repeated heating and cooling. As the creosote problem worsens, the airflow slows and heated air lingers in the flue, raising the risk of flue fire. When glazed creosote ignites, it results in an intense, fast burning fire that expends a large amount of gas and energy. This burst of energy can crack the flue liner, damage the masonry, and spread to other parts of the house. Other times a flue fire can occur and a homeowner won’t even notice. It’s important to schedule a chimney inspection if you suspect a flue fire. The first flue fire may damage the system, and a second flue fire can travel through damaged masonry to the rest of the house.

Glazed Creosote Removal

Soot and creosote is easily removed during a routine chimney sweep. Glazed creosote, however, cannot be removed using the same methods. Some amateurs may attempt to remove the creosote by prying it away, but this never removes it completely and even leaves scratches and other damage to the liner. Hire a professional who knows the safe and proper methods for glazed creosote removal. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we use industrial products to safely remove glazed creosote without leaving any damage to the system. This trusted product can be sprayed or wiped onto the glazed creosote. As it’s absorbed, the creosote flakes away and can be swept away and collected just like soot.

Prevent Creosote Buildup

You can prevent a dangerous and dirty chimney system by scheduling professional services annually and using your system properly.

-Schedule routine chimney sweeps to clean the flue of soot and creosote before a buildup occurs.

-Burn only properly seasoned wood. Green or fresh wood produces more creosote while burning.

-Schedule chimney inspections annually so you can rest assured your system is working properly and the wood is burning completely.

-Pay attention to signs such as flakes in the fireplace or slick, black material on the masonry.

Schedule services with the licensed professionals at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today. Call 617-469-4528 or schedule online.

Building Permits and Chimney Repairs

As cold weather sets in around New England, families are moving indoors. This is a big time for home improvements and renovations–especially after the holidays are over. Before you embark on projects around the house this winter, make sure you know the law in your area regarding building permits, licenses, and insurance. These things may not seem like a big deal when you’re just making minor changes, but your city authorities may see it differently!

Chimney Repairs and Permits
Chimney repairs are some of the most important that you might make to your home. The chimney keeps your home safe from carbon monoxide exposure, smoke inhalation, and unsafe fires throughout winter, and can save you money in utilities through summer. If you don’t hire a professional for repairs, constructions, renovations, and installations, you may end up paying more than you intend–in municipal fines and damage repairs.

Certified Professionals at Billy Sweet
Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep has been operating in and providing exceptional chimney services to New England for over 30 years, and we do this by certifying our sweeps. Our chimney sweeps are certified through the National Fireplace Institute (NFI)  and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) which gives us the ability to obtain building permits for any chimney work you need or want done. Don’t DIY your way through chimney work, and don’t hire an amateur. Certifications are gold in this business because they take money, training, experience, and continued education. When you find a professional with certifications, you can count on expert services and professionalism every step of the way.

Common Chimney Work Requires Permits
You will not need a permit for certain types of chimney services. For instance, routine and preventative services such as chimney sweeps and annual inspections shouldn’t require a building permit. Many installations will not require a permit either, but any construction will. This means you can have a unit installed, but you cannot have a fireplace or chimney built without a building permit. You can have a part replaced, but if it requires access through masonry or removal of components, it will likely require a permit. Extensive masonry repairs will require a permit as well. The reason that permits are required by the powers that be are to keep the citizens safe. Improper installations, methods, and work can put not only your family, but the worker and your neighbors at risk.
Just like your homeowners insurance requires a certain standard of training and certification for home services and repairs, the municipal authorities do the same. Know that when you schedule with a certified and licensed professional who works within safety codes and standards, your safety will not be an issue.

Before planning out your projects for the new year, talk with a Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we have all the necessary permits and documentation to work in our service area and to provide the best services to our customers.

Call our Boston office at 617-469-4528.
Reach our North Shore office at 781-593-2333.
Portland residents can call 207-773-7933.

Have Your Chimney Inspected Before Heating Season!

New England is still experiencing some warm weather worth enjoying, but winter is just around the corner. With only a few weeks before fall arrives, it’s important to make sure the fireplace and chimney system are ready for the first fire of the season. When your chimney is inspected, you can rest assured that it’s safe and efficient for burn season. A safe and efficient chimney keeps your family safe from harm and your wallet safe from costly repairs.Chimney Inspections Before Heating - Boston MA - Billy Sweet Chimney

Avoid the Fall Rush

When you schedule your chimney inspection now, you can avoid the fall rush–the time between October and January when chimney professionals are busy with installations, repairs, and emergency calls. Waiting until fall to have your chimney serviced may be a recipe for disaster. It may mean that you can’t get a convenient appointment time, may not fit into the schedule with your desired chimney sweep company or technician, and tempt you to light a fire in a fireplace that is not safe or ready!

CSIA Inspections – The Standard for Excellence

CSIA inspections are the industry standard for diagnostics. Both the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend annual chimney inspections and routine sweeps. There are three different levels of CSIA inspections, depending on how you use your fireplace.
Level One – The standard annual inspection for a chimney with no changes and no problems is the level one inspection. It includes an assessment of all readily accessible portions of the chimney system, including the interior, exterior, appliance, and chimney connection. This inspection is often included in a standard chimney sweep.
Level Two – If changes have been made to the system, including new installations or repairs, a level two inspection is necessary. They’re also required before a property is sold or transferred and if a storm, fire, or earthquake may have affected the system. This inspection includes a visual inspection by video scan to assess the interior of the chimney system, joints, and chimney components. There are no special tools required for this inspection, but it includes opening doors and panels or coverings to access portions of the chimney.
Level Three – If a hazard is identified or suspected, your chimney will require a level three inspection. This thorough inspection may include the removal of components of the building or chimney in order to access the hazard. If your chimney professional recommends a level three inspection, it must be done before winter to prevent damage and health hazards.

Schedule Today

Schedule your chimney inspection with Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep and you can rest assured that your chimney system is ready for winter. Our technicians focus on safety first. We use a Chim-Scan camera system and Wohler Vis2000-Pro to inspect and document every detail so we can make proper assessments and recommendations. Not only do we inspect the chimneys with expertise and authority, but we sweep every chimney we inspect. Scheduling today means you will have time to also schedule recommended repairs.

Not All Chimney Sweeps are Created Equal

When you’re shopping around for a new physician, you usually do your homework and choose the one with the most experience, the best training, and greatest reviews. This is commonplace for physicians, mechanics, lawyers, dentists, and more–yet, for home maintenance such as chimney care, we so often see homeowners choose amateurs, local handymen, and DIY projects. This is not only a waste of money, but it’s dangerous!Not All Chimney Sweeps Are Equal Image - Boston MA - Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep

Choose a Professional for ALL Chimney Work

Whether the chimney needs a sweeping, some brickwork, relining, a part installation, or more, there is no one better suited for the job than a trained professional. It is our goal at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep to bring down the amount of residential fires in our area by not only providing services, but also valuable information about fire and chimney safety. We know that the best way to keep your family safe, is when you hire a professional.

  • It is what your homeowners insurance wants (and they may pay for it!)
  • It is required by most municipal codes/permits
  • It is required to maintain many manufacturer warranties

Choosing a professional to do your chimney work may be the best decision you’ve ever made. When installations, repairs, sweeps, and inspections are done right, you save money and can rest assured your family and home is safe.

CSIA–Not Just Any Certification

When you do a quick search for CSIA certified chimney sweeps in and around Boston, Billy Sweet is at the top of the list. We make it no secret that we train and test our sweeps through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the nation’s standard for the chimney industry.

  • CSIA is accredited and meets the highest of education standards, regulated by the Indiana State Workforce Innovation Council.
  • CSIA was established in 1983 and is the national standard by which officials, manufacturers, and others measure chimney service excellence.
  • CSIA is a nonprofit organization governed by industry volunteers and dedicated to lowering the number of residential and commercial fires across the country.
  • CSIA members must adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics which protect homeowners from scams. If found in violation, certification can be revoked.
  • CSIA focuses on public safety and industry advancements that increase safety and reduce the number of residential chimney fires, carbon monoxide intrusion, and other chimney hazards.
  • CSIA certification requires re-certification every three years through examination or continued education credits.

All of the reasons why we make CSIA certification a priority here at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, are the same reasons you should at home! We are not only CSIA certified, but also members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild and active in our communities of Boston, North Shore, and Portland.

Don’t hesitate and call when you have a major problem–we offer preventative maintenance year-round. Make an appointment online or call 617-469-4528 today.