Our Company Blog
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
Every year there are approximately 22,000 residential house fires due to the fireplace, chimney, or chimney connector. These fires surpass those caused by other heat sources, cooking equipment, electrical wiring, and large appliances. Chimneys can be the most dangerous thing in your house; because if it isn’t maintained properly, it doesn’t hold a fire. Likewise, if it isn’t maintained properly, it won’t vent the fire. House fires lead to property loss, injuries, and death. Carbon monoxide intrusion caused by venting issues can lead to irreparable damage, medical costs, and death. Protect against property loss, lost money, and endangering your family by having your chimney system regularly maintained by a professional.
The CSIA Difference
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is aware of the hazard a faulty fireplace and chimney system can be. Since its establishment in 1983, CSIA has become the national standard for the chimney industry, making a goal to bring down the number of residential house fires and saving lives in the process.
The CSIA credential meets the highest standards of education and is regulated by the Indiana State Workforce Innovation Council, Office of Career and Technical Schools to this day.
The CSIA is a non-profit organization whose mission is the elimination of residential fires, and it’s governed by industry professionals from across the country to further this mission.
Code of Ethics
When a chimney sweep earns CSIA certification, he or she must abide by a stringent code of ethics designed to protect homeowners from scams in this under-regulated field. If a sweep is found to be in violation, certification can be revoked.
A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) must complete classroom and field training before passing an exam which includes a portion on chimney sweeping, and a portion based on the International Residential Code (2016). After three years, sweeps must recertify through examination or continued education credits to keep up with a changing field and safety standards.
Protect Your Home and Family
When it’s time for your car maintenance, replacing your roof, or treating a bad tooth, you don’t cut corners. You hire the professionals. Don’t cut corners when maintaining and repairing the most appealing and most dangerous part of your home. Call the professionals who are licensed, certified, and insured so that your chimney gets the best care possible.
Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep has provided the highest level of customer service and comprehensive chimney care in the Boston, North Shore, and Portland area for over 30 years. The difference is the CSIA difference. Our goal is customer safety and comfort. We offer CSIA inspections and chimney sweeps to keep your chimney safe and efficient. We sell, install, and service the best products on the market, and we repair chimneys and hearth products year-round.
There is still time to have your chimney serviced to prevent chimney fires and winter damage this season. Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today. Dial 617-469-4528 or use our online scheduling tool for your convenience.
Spring isn’t just an ideal time for spring cleaning. It’s also a great time to complete your chimney checklist to ensure the safety and efficiency of your chimney system. As the saying goes April showers bring May flowers, and if your spring showers have caused you some chimney worries, you might have a leak, and a leak is a big deal.
It is important to call a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) as soon as you suspect a chimney leak. By the time a homeowner notices signs of a chimney leak, it’s likely that it’s caused substantial unseen damage.
Some Signs of a Chimney Leak
1. Water stained walls and ceiling
2. Clogged clean-out area
3. Rusted parts
4. Dripping in fireplace
5. Fowl smelling chimney and fireplace
6. Stained Chimney
By the time these problems are noticed by the homeowner, the damage has been done. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) water can cause much more extensive damage that can be detected by a professional during a cleaning or inspection.
Why Hire a Professional
A general contractor or roofer is not the right professional to make this diagnosis. Calling a certified chimney sweep insures homeowners that the job will be thorough, and damage will be detected and repaired in a timely and professional manner. When water penetrates your masonry chimney it causes damage such as: deteriorated firebox, decayed mortar, cracked or damaged flue lining, collapsed hearth support, tilting or collapsed chimney structure, and chimney settlement.
Not only will a professional chimney sweep inspect and diagnose your chimney problems, but should offer the homeowner a detailed report and repair plan.
At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, serving Boston, North Shore, and Portland area, we don’t only repair the damage, but trace the leak back to the source, and offer waterproofing services.
Waterproofing Your Chimney
Another reason to hire a professional chimney sweep is because prevention is cheaper than making repairs! At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweeps we apply a waterproof product on masonry chimneys that is created specially for chimneys to keep water out, but allows vapors to escape. We even offer FREE Waterproofing on exterior masonry repair.
Other Chimney Leak Prevention
While discussing your leaky chimney with a professional, don’t forget to mention these other preventative measures:
- chimney cap repair or replacement
- damper repair or replacement
- chimney crown inspection and repair
While planning your spring cleaning, do not neglect your chimney. Your annual chimney inspection is a great time to discuss waterproofing and leak prevention with a certified chimney sweep. A Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep is waiting for your call today.