Our Company Blog
At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we love serving the greater Boston area. We think Boston is a great place to live and feel grateful for the opportunity to serve the homeowners of this beautiful city year after year. From exciting nightlife and sports to beautiful historic homes, there are plenty of reasons why we love working and living in Boston. Here are some of the things we think make this city great.
Sports In Boston
Fenway Park, need we say more? Boston is home to one of the most historic baseball fields in the United States, and the Boston Red Sox is arguably one of the most famous baseball teams in the major leagues. But Boston doesn’t stop there. We are also home to the Boston Celtics and the New England Patriots. If you are a sports lover, Boston is a great place to visit and live.
Nightlife In Boston
From shopping and dining, to shows and concerts there is no better place to take in the sights than in one of the most historic cities in the United States. We have the Boston Symphony and the Boston Opera House and great concerts all over the city, the Boston area is a great place to take in a show.
Historic Theaters In Boston
- Cutler Majestic Theater
- Wilbur Theater
- Shubert Theater
- Wang Theater
History In Boston
Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Early European settlers came to America in the 17th century and created a prominent city for the earliest colonists. Boston was also home to monumental historic events such as the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, as well as Paul Revere’s famous Midnight Ride. These historic events make Boston an interesting and exciting place to live and visit, even if you are not a history buff.
Living In Boston
Boston defines itself by its beautiful neighborhoods and at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we love serving every vibrant neighborhood. The vibrant economy and unique neighborhoods truly make Boston a beautiful place for families to live. Each neighborhood has its own feel, which makes it a diverse place for young entrepreneurs, families and retirees.
Neighborhoods In Boston
- Hyde Park
Taking Care Of Your Boston Home
If you live in Boston, you already have great pride in where you live and what your home looks like. Take that pride a step further by using a local company to care for and maintain your chimney and wood-burning heating appliances. At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep, we have years of experience sweeping, inspecting and repairing chimneys in different types of homes.
When you live in Boston, you have a respect for the economy that keeps our great city going. Employ a local company with certified professionals that will come to your home and make sure your chimney is in top working order. Not only will you be supporting a local Boston business, but you will also be keeping your chimney and your home in top working shape. Contact Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep in Boston to find out more about our chimney sweeping services.
Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that can cause poisoning when you are exposed to it. It is a particularly dangerous threat because it is odorless, colorless and otherwise undetectable to the naked eye. When you are exposed to carbon monoxide you inhale the fumes, which prevents oxygen from reaching your organs. The most important thing you can do to protect you and your family from carbon monoxide dangers is to prevent exposure in the first place.
How Does Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Occur?
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs in several ways, but in residential homes the most common way is through the misuse of heating appliances. In homes where wood-burning heating appliances are used, by-products can be left behind in chimneys. Soot, animal debris and flaked off masonry can all lead to dangerous toxins being release inside the home. Additionally, homes that aren’t well-ventilated can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning because there isn’t efficient air-flow while heating appliances are in use. Lastly, misuse of heating appliances can lead to poisoning, especially if inappropriate materials are being used or the operator doesn’t understand all components of the appliance.
Damaged Chimneys Can Lead To Carbon Monoxide Dangers
In homes where chimneys are older or have not been properly maintained chimneys can become blocked or rusted and this can result in carbon monoxide and other toxins being released into the air. Backdrafting, a common occurrence when chimney dampers and flues are not operating properly, can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Symptoms Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
If you suspect you or someone in your home is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, look for these common symptoms:
- Loss of vision
- Loss of consciousness
While these symptoms may seem subtle, they are life threatening. If you see any of these symptoms, remove everyone from the area and get emergency medical care immediately.
Luckily for homeowners, there are ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning including:
- Invest in a carbon monoxide detector that will alert you if the dangerous gas is detected.
- Never use stand-alone heating appliances like space heaters in small, enclosed areas.
- Only use wood-burning appliances in well-ventilated areas.
- Make sure you understand how to operate ALL components of your chimney before you light your first fire.
- Only burn appropriate, chemical and paint free wood in your wood-burning appliance.
- Inspect your heating equipment before use to make sure it is operating properly.
The single most important thing you can do as a homeowner is have your chimney professionally swept and inspected at least once a year. Hire a professional and experienced chimney sweeping company like Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep serving the Boston, North Shore and Portland areas to inspect, repair and if necessary, rebuild your chimney. Having an airtight chimney with a working damper and flue is the best way to prevent carbon monoxide build-up from your heating system. Our certified chimney sweeps are ready to inspect your chimneys and recommend any necessary add-ons or repairs. Contact the best in chimney sweeping to keep your home free of carbon monoxide dangers.
The bad news is that your roof may leak from time to time, especially after heavy rain or snowfall. The good news is that often the repair is as simple as replacing the flashing, rather than replacing the entire roof. Chimney flashing is not a shingle, but rather a detail that is installed in order to seal the joints that connect the roof to the chimney. These joints are not water tight, so thorough, professionally installed chimney flashing will help keep water away from your chimney. The result is not only a dry chimney, but also a dry and protected home interior.
Types Of Chimney Flashing
There are a few different types of chimney flashing. Aluminum is common and inexpensive, however it is susceptible to corrosion, so it may need to be replaced every so often. Vinyl is another popular choice because it is still affordable but not as durable as other materials. Vinyl can become brittle and crack under harsh weather conditions and like aluminum will probably need to be replaced. On the other hand, steel is more expensive and takes longer to install, but is one of the more durable choices because it will not corrode. Similarly, copper flashing is the most widely recommended material for flashing because it will not corrode or crack but is lightweight like vinyl. Keep in mind, copper is the more expensive option, but after initial installation copper will not need to be replaced and will likely last as long as your roof.
Without Flashing You Can Damage Your Chimney
As a homeowner, if you are wondering whether or not flashing is important, let us save you some time. Flashing is very important! Without proper protection from external elements, your chimney could be vulnerable to water damage. Chimneys are made from brick and concrete, and if exposed to rain and snowfall over time, these materials can chip, crack and crumble. The result is almost always expensive chimney repairs that could have been avoided. If you do not install proper flashing you could be damaging your roof, and leaving your ceilings and wall treatments susceptible to leaks. Flashing is a simple and necessary installation that can save you a lot of homeowner headaches.
It is important to install flashing, but it is equally important to have your chimney inspected to make sure your chimney flashing is doing its job. Depending on the materials used in initial installation, the flashing material could have been damaged, or the joints could have loosened, which is why it is so important to have your chimney regularly inspected by a professional inspection company.
Always Have A Professional Install Your Chimney Flashing
Installing flashing is a task that is best left to the professionals. The experts at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep in Boston have years of experience inspecting chimneys and making sure flashing is installed properly. If you attempt to install your own flashing you run the risk of installing it incorrectly as well as injuring yourself in the process. Trust the experts to help you maintain your home and recommend the chimney flashing products that are right for your chimney and right for your home maintenance budget.
At first glance, chimneys seem very robust. They live outside all year, exposed to the elements, and can withstand hundreds of degrees worth of heat, fire after fire. Despite all of this, however, chimneys do need some regular care to keep up with these high demands. Industry experts strongly recommend having the chimney swept and inspected at least once every year and for good reason. Failure to keep up with chimney maintenance can have some devastating consequences.
For wood burning fireplaces and stoves, the chimney will contain a buildup of a material called creosote. This black, tarry material clings to the surface of the chimney and can build up to the point of blocking air flow. Creosote is also highly flammable and is the cause of many destructive chimney fires. It burns at a much higher temperature than wood or gas, and once burning, it can be very difficult to extinguish. To keep your home and family safe, having a chimney sweep remove the creosote is imperative.
Debris found in the chimney can also take the form of an obstruction that reduces or blocks the flow of air. A common obstruction in the chimney is an animal and its nest. Warm chimneys attract small animals like birds, squirrels and raccoons that need a cozy space to wait out the winter. Unfortunately, this means trouble for the home owner. When the toxic fumes from the fire cannot escape through the chimney, they end up in the house. Not only does the creosote and soot leave messy, black residue on walls and furniture, but this lack of ventilation can actually be dangerous. Carbon monoxide, a product of combustion, can cause death when inhaled in high enough concentrations. It also has no color, smell, or taste, making it impossible to detect without relying on a special detector. To avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide from the fireplace, have a chimney sweep out every year.
Chimney inspections should also be done every year. The inspector examines the chimney from inside the house and from the roof to determine its structural soundness. A common problem that inspectors uncover is water damage. In a masonry chimney, water can enter the brick and mortar and cause cracking or even collapse. In all types of chimneys, water can also cause damage to the interior. If the flue lining is made of metal, water exposure can lead to rusted cracks or holes, which then exposes the house to further water damage, carbon monoxide leaks, and potential house fires. A simple inspection could determine if the chimney cap needs to be replaced, which can prevent these problems most of the time.
All in all, failure to keep up with chimney maintenance could cost you money in repairs, your house, and even your life. Instead of risking it, just call to schedule your annual sweep and inspection today. If you live near Boston, Massachusetts or Portland, Maine, contact Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep to speak with a professional.
Now that summertime is coming to a close and the kids have returned to school, we can enjoy shift into fall. The time of year filled with changing colors, crunchy leaves and pumpkin carving has begun, in addition to the promise of cooler weather. While the first few days of fall might warm up in remembrance of a sizzling summer, the weather will eventually cool off. Before you know it, snow will cover the ground in the midst of a furious New England winter.
Usually, now is when everyone shuts off the central air conditioning and opens the windows to keep everyone comfortable in the house. For many, starting up the fireplace is a passing thought in the back of their mind, but sooner or later the time will come to build that first fire. These same people who fail to remember their fireplaces until high time must battle the busiest season to find a service person who is free to inspect and clean their chimney.
Instead of rushing right before your holiday get-together to have your chimney cleaned, schedule a date for regular maintenance now. Starting in fall, the chimney cleaning services are swamped, and it lasts through the holidays. Many companies book up several weeks in advance at this time, and as the weeks go by and the temperature drops, any snow and ice may make it impossible to get on the roof anyway.
Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep today to make an appointment to have your chimney swept and inspected. Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep works out of Eastern Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, and the Portland, Maine area.
This business provides reasonably priced chimney sweeping services in addition to inspections that meet the most up to date codes set by the National Fire Protection Association. Along with each inspection, Billy Sweet offers a courtesy video scanning of the inside of your chimney with Chim-scan products. You receive a comprehensive overview of the condition of your chimney with this closed circuit video inspection, and it aids you in making the right decision on repairs and updates.
You should have your fireplace and chimney inspected once every year, but especially if you recently moved into a new house, your fireplace has been inactive for an extended time or if you have run into any problems with the fireplace. The freeze-thaw cycle of a New England winter and any water leaks into the masonry may result in structural harm to the chimney, which needs to be inspected annually. If a fireplace has lay dormant for some time, such as since it was used last winter, pests like birds may have made a home of the chimney and created an obstructed vent. Lighting a fire in a fireplace with a clogged vent poses serious risks to your house and family.
With summer wrapping up and fireplace time quickly approaching, right now is the best time to make your chimney sweep and inspection appointment with Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep.