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Chimneys & Chimney Sweeps Resources
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1. chimney top fireplace damper repair/replacement system. - [Report link]
Protect your home from animals, biochemical agents, and save 10% - 40% of heating and cooling energy costs! For new homes, or for repair/replacement of old fireplace dampers.

2. Chicago Chimney Sweeps - [Report link]
Olde English Chimney Sweeps, Inc. is a full service fireplace and chimney sweep company serving all of Chicago and most of the suburbs in the the collar counties (Cook, Dupage, Lake, Will & Mchenry). We employ technicians that are certified by the National Fireplace Institute and the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Our company specializes in fireplace and chimney cleaning, repair, restoration & installation.

3. Radford Chimney Works - [Report link]
We are the New River Valley and Montgomery County's premier care giver for chimney and furnace systems. Our primary job is to aid you in the prevention of fires related to fireplaces, woodstoves, gas, oil and coal heating systems, and the chimneys that serve them. We also specialize in chimney repairs, including tuckpointing, crowns and relining. If it's chimney related chances are we can help.


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More Chimneys & Chimney Sweeps Resources...

Chimney Caps - What do they do?
posted on September 11, 2009 09:05:00 am

Chimney Caps, chimney rain caps, chimney spark arresters, chimney tops, you may even call them by another name but what do they do anyway?  Some folks believe that a chimney cap will kill your draft.  Other folks believe that they are for asthetic purposes.  Some people have no idea what they are or why they would need one.  chimney cap for high wind area

For those of us who have heard some scratching noises in the chimney or have had a certified chimney sweep come out to remove a decaying, rather pungent smelling animal, the concept of having a chimney cap installed can be fairly straight forward and easy to understand.  What if that's not the case?  Should you still consider having a certified chimney sweep install a chimney cap for you? 

Rain, sleet, snochimney caps installed winter timew and ice are fairly common in New England.  Lately, the heat has been beating down on our chimneys too.  Even though it's not overnight, these extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations have their toll on any masonry.  A full size and properly installed chimney cap will protect the inside of your chimney flue, and will keep out animals who will compete to nest in your chimney.

Chimney caps protect your chimney, the appliances that vent through your chimney sweepers installing chimney cap in winterchimney such as fireplaces, woodstoves, oil and gas fired burners and other types of equipment.  They also protect the animals in your neighborhood from getting stuck in your chimney or roasted alive when the flue is in use.  When you combine all of the potential hazards that commonly become present with the cost associated with fixing the problems that are commonly created by these hazards, having a professional Chimney Sweep install a cap for you will be relatively short money.

Chimney caps pdead squirrel rotect the local wildlife.  I don't know how many carcasses our technician's have scraped off of dampers, pulled out of gas flues, or live animals they've chased out of clean out doors and vent pipes but I'm certain that it's too many.  Truth is thousands of animals die each year because they nest in chimney flues and it can be prevented simply.    To stop these kinds of things from happening, have your certified chimney sweep install a stainless steel or copper chimney cap, make sure they are seeing/inspecting all parts of your chimney with a camera to ensure there are no breeches or flaws in the flashing and other critical components of a healthy chimney, and please, have your chimney inspected and swept yearly.




Chimney Problems
posted on August 04, 2009 06:04:00 am

Chimney problems of all kinds can be hazardous to your life and property.  Dangerous chimneys can leak harmful gasdangerous chimneyes into your home, drip creosote in between bricks, near exposed wood, and even come tumbling down upon or through your roof or onto a neighbor's property.  Chimney Sweeps in Boston and the north shore of Massachusetts have seen hundreds of thousands of chimneys that are in such disrepair, it's no wonder more regulations and mandates have not been realized over the years.

 

The NFPA 211 code book (National Fire Prevention Association) has changed over the years to include several safety updates, procedures, and hazards that we and other chimney sweeps must study and become not only knowledgable about but must also become expert at the diagnosis of these progressively new standards.  Not long ago, it wasn't even mandatory to install a liner in your chimney.  Now, it seems almost criminal to not have a lining system, a properly installed chimney cap and a yearly inspection service.  How do average homeowners afford all of this maintenance?

 

This presents a real problem.  Our business here is to solve chimney problems.  It's fairly a simple approach: If you have a chimney problem we inspect it, find the damaged flue tilesproblem, document it, then propose a solution.  We give you the solution in writing with our estimates for fixing the problem.  If you don't have a chimney problem, we still inspect the chimney. The value here is that we have opportunity to keep an eye on the mortar joints, inside and out.  We realize small problems and propose to fix them before they become bigger chimney problems, saving our customers money in the long run.

 

These chimney problems can create other problems.  Was it the roof that caused the chimney problem or did the chimney cause the roof problem?  Well, that's like the chicken and the egg in most cases.  Fact is, chimney/roof flashing is super important.  One little thing like ice damming in the winter or some heaving in the shingles around the "not counter flashed" chimney flashing and you are risking major damage to your home.  We provide you with piece of mind through our inspection process.  The pictures we take of the inside and outside of your chimney tell a story after you've been with us for a few years and you can count on our ability to spot issues before they become huge projects.

 

Things you can do: 

 

certified chimney sweep

 

 

  1. Value shop for your certified chimney sweep and budget for maintenance!  

    1. This means look at the services you are buying. (we inspect the inside and outside of each flue and provide you with the photos).

    2. We provide you with piece of mind by physically inspecting every aspect of your chimney on a flue by flue basis.(we also insure a spotless, mess free cleaning of your chimney's flues).

    3. We do not compromise our inspection process - it's your safety and your family's piece of mind. 

  2. Talk to your heating specialist, the people who maintain your heating system. - We work with hundreds of local plumbing and heating specialists, we are members of several area chapters of non-profit organizations dedicated to the safe and efficient operation of your heating system.  Why do we do that? - Certified Chimney Sweeps are the only professionals actually qualified to handle the safe and efficient venting of your home's heating system.

  3. Talk to your neighbors.  Who put the cap on their chimney?  Who have they used, what have they experienced?

  4. You may comment below as well. 

Writing all of this down may become tedious; however, it will provide you with a basis for interviewing chimney sweeps.  On this page here, you can download a checklist that will help you evaluate a chimney sweep company's services. 

It seems funny but have you ever thought of having 1/2 a brake job or 1/2 an exhaust system replaced?  Probably for a minute, let's be honest.  Nonetheless, could you find a professional that was willing to do that work?  I don't think so.  This is why we do complete work.  We recommend fixing what's broken so that it is safe and doesn't get worse.  We recommend inspecting your chimney every year and sweeping it as necessary and we always sweep before an inspection.   We already know that soot is black, inspecting it just makes a mess.  We're interested in the chimney, once the soot is scrubbed off.

You can always call us, fill out one of our forms online and we'll assist you.  If you've visited our site before, are considering whether or not to have your chimney inspected and cleaned, please give us your business.  We will responsibly inspect your chimney, flue by flue and work with you over time to manage the results.  



Rock Bottom Chimney Sweeping Costs? Scammed again?
posted on July 31, 2009 03:48:00 am

 

The phone has been ringing off the hook with confused people on the other end of the line. Evidently, there are a few "alleged" companies calling home owners stating that they are in the area and are running a special on chimney sweeping. Now, that's a fairly common approach to acquiring new customers; however, what's going on here is that when the victims of these scammers book an appointment, disappointment is the least of their concern.

"As the truck pulled up, I noticed no company lettering, it was beat up pretty bad, and the guy had to borrow my ladder to get onto my roof." A recent customer stated who had called us furious that he had to deal with these scammers. "That guy got up on my roof for 3 minutes and said that he couldn't even sweep the chimney because it was so bad." "You need a liner, buddy!" the contractor said to him, "I can install it today for $1400 bucks, otherwise it could be more to book another appointment, we're only in your area a short time." This is just an example of one of the calls we've received from angry Massachusetts residents.

I felt bad for this home owner and you should know the following:
  • Responsible chimney service companies will be installing a lining system into your chimney flue, not a "liner". That's only part of the system. You should know that even though it is common "short hand talk" to say "you need a liner", be advised that it's ok to ask about the specific system they will be installing. Ask about the parts, what they'll need. If they don't know, then they may not be the right option to do the work.
  • If it's too bad to sweep, then it's too bad to install a lining system. Are you serious REALLY!!! They're kind of heavy! Any chimney that can't hold a lining system probably needs to be rebuilt first.
  • Rarely does a lining system install the same day! We've done it a few times out of luck because the customer was close and we had material in our warehouse to cover the proper installation of their lining system. Some questions to ask:
  • Did they measure anything?
  • If this is a fireplace, how are they addressing the multitude of draft issues that may/could arise from an improperly configured lining system?
  • How is it they have all the parts for a chimney's lining system in a state where they don't usually do business? hmmm, sounds amazing to me! How do they do that?
Certified Chimney sweeps are expert in the proper venting of harmful and deadly gases that are produced from your home's heating system, fireplace, woodstove, and other appliances that use a chimney. Do you want just anybody changing the configuration of your heating system? Your chimney sweep should be a member of your heating system technician's organizations too don't you think? It's helpful when the two experts who manage a rather important factor in your home's comfort maintain some dialogue and record of service. 

Imagine if automobile manufacturers never really understood or realized the complexity of properly venting the exhaust from their engines?  Ask your oil or gas technician if they've heard of your chimney sweep company and if they have an open dialogue regarding their customers.

Get the facts and hire only CSIA and NFI certified chimney sweeps. An article posted in the New York Times (google keywords: New York Times Chimney Scam) reported a quote from the Chimney Safety Institute of America representative, Mellissa Heeke stating: "We encourage people not to fall for a super-low price," she said, adding that no legitimate chimney cleaning would cost $25 or $30; they usually cost up to $300." And, there could even be additional charges that your sweep will not know about until he completes his inspection. Any first time in to inspect a chimney could possibly incur charges to remove obstructions, install clean out doors, caps, etc. What you should be paying for is a thorough inspection of your chimney AND its flues. The company should include sweeping to facilitate a thorough inspection. 

We hope this post reaches everyone in Massachusetts. Don't be scammed, these times can be challenging enough and we hope you have found this article helpful. Feel free to share any experience you have had with a potential scammer. Cheers!




Chimney Camera improves Chimney Repair Boston
posted on July 21, 2009 07:44:00 am

Our Chimney Camera aides in the process of diagnosing potential chimney repairs in Boston.  We perform some of the most challenging chimney rebuilds in Massachusetts.  Some of them are 35 to 65 foot chimneys that have multiple bends and returns in their flue design.  How's a flashlight going to help anyone inspect that!  Chimney cameras are the only way to go if you value your safety and home.

We use our chimney camera on every sweeping and inspection to provide our customers with real answers to real chimney problems.  I don't know of any other Boston chimney sweeper who can make the same promise to their customers.  We promise to provide the most valuable chimney service at an affordable price.  When we hand you a Chimney Service Report and it says, "The National Fire Protection Association recommends each of your flues be inspected yearly and swept as necessary."  You will KNOW that your chimney is safe to use and up to code.  If our report says anything else, ask to see the pictures or better yet, stay with our technician while he is on site and watch over his shoulder.  He'll make sure you stand in a safe and "clean" spot.

We are currently in the process of rebuilding 48 fireplaces and 4 furnace flues in Brighton, MA.  This is a major undertaking to say the least and we are progressing well through each phase of the job.  Had we never used our chimney camera during the inspection process, we would not have known the extent of difficulty each situation posed for our technicians.  We knew exactly where the chimney needed to be breached, how the liners would work, what parts needed to be rebuilt, where the older breaches in the chimney were EXACTLY, and more.  The process took a while and we broke a camera and several other parts during our inspection but in the end 48 condo owners in Brighton, Massachusetts are each going to be able to enjoy their newly rebuilt brick fire place.

If you know your chimney needs to be repaired then call us today so that we can set up an appointment to properly inspect your chimney.  We are ready and able to do this work until the weather makes us stop.  It just makes sense to hire a company who has taken on the responsibility of ensuring accurate and reliable chimney inspection procedures.  Call today!

 



Newest Certified Chimney Sweep - Sean McGillicuddy
posted on July 19, 2009 11:32:00 pm

Our Newest Certified Chimney Sweep, Sean McGillicuddy!  Sean has worked for us just shy of 1 year and has not only proven to be safe, confident, and efficient in his work but he has also demonstrated an eagerness to learn.  Certified Chimney Sweeps are the foremost experts in venting harmful gases from your home's heating systems and fire places. 

We send certified chimney sweeps to your home for each inspection along with an apprenticed helper.  Sean has worked with both Ed on several installations of liners, caps, masonry cloth, stainless steel screening for masonry caps, as well as other chimney rebuilds, grinding and pointing mortar joints, and more.  Sean has also worked closely with Jon on sweep routes and through this experience and his careful studying of the NFPA 2.11 (the National Fire Protection Association's code book) he successfully passed his exam.

With so much focus on changing over heating systems to more efficient and cost effective choices, we're glad to have Sean's experience in plumbing on our team.  The value our customers get from hiring us starts with the calibur of skilled people we employ.  Sean is no exception, in fact, people express more confidence in hiring us to solve their chimney problems because of the level of skill and professionalism we, as a company bring to each job. 

If you're looking for a company to responsibly maintain your chimney year after year, call today to set up an appointment.  Our certified chimney sweeps can solve any venting issue, answer any question about your chimney and its appliances, and work with your heating and cooling system contractor throughout the entire process.  Once we've completed the chimney inspection, we'll know what your options are and which direction you should go in to solve your chimney problem.  Call today to set up an appointment!  800-248-4900



High Efficiency Boiler - White Chimney
posted on June 25, 2009 10:54:00 pm

So  you want a high efficiency boiler for your home to cut energy costs and join the green movement right?  Good idea!  We can help you with that.  Chimney problems caused by high efficiency boilers are becoming more common as our communities move toward more energy efficient and cost effective methods of heating their homes.  One of the biggest problems created by these new boilers is the sense of false security.  Read on to find out what we mean by that.

Whether you are using an oil, propane, or natural gas fired condensing boiler, here is one thing to keep in mind. Ice, snow, and sleet from the outside freezes your bricks.  When the condensing air inside the frozen chimney rises it looses heat quickly.  Now, it's freezing.  One customer's  chimney in Portland Maine we serviced had a thick layer of ice forming on the inside of his chimney.  We couldn't even sweep it!  When Billy put the camera inside the flue to see what was there it was actually snowing inside, not outside, the chimney.  

What can happen next is called efflorescence and it's not good for your chimney.  Ever see a nice chimney with this kind of white film, barely noticible, and positioned vertically on one side?  The root of this chimney problem has to do with the fact that the bricks' core have a concentration of salts.  When the core of the bricks on your heating system side of the chimney get wet they begin to loose their integrity and let more water in, eventually spalling the brick face entirely.  As the salts move from the core of the brick out to the edges, they leave a white deposit called, efflorescence.  If this isn't caught in time, your chimney may fall apart.  You'll need a chimney sweep whose chimney services are expert at solving complex chimney problems.  You'll need to know the condition of your chimney lining system.  Call us, your plumber or heating contractor would.

This could happen to your chimney in a short number of years with a new high efficiency gas boiler so please make sure you have your chimney inspected annually for deterioration and efflorescence.  Proper maintenence of your chimney and it's lining system avoid you the trouble and inconvenience of a future emergency situation.  

Now, let's balance this out.  We love high efficiency in almost everything.  If you choose a high efficiency condensing boiler for your home, hire us to inspect, properly line, and warranty your chimney.  Our chimney lining products are warrantied for life and even our labor is unconditionally warrantied for one year.  Don't bargain your safety away by hiring the cheaper competition. We're here for the long haul, they may not be.  Get it done now.  Get it done right, the first time.



Contribute to Wildlife Preservation-Install a chimney cap
posted on June 05, 2009 07:36:00 am

How in the world would you contribute to wildlife preservation by installing a chimney cap?  Well, lets see what we've pulled out of some local chimneys (dead or alive): families of birds, we've scraped raccoon carcases off of damper plates and flue tiles, a couple of cats, and several squirrels.  And then there are the nests that get knocked off of the flue tops by roofers and other folks that mostly end up in a toxic compost in some unspecified, and now unsanitary location.  These are just a few examples of how installing a chimney cap can contribute directly to the welfare of local wildlife.  Since, they can't get in, it will help your wallet too by reducing how many times you call pest control or emergency services.

Our chimney services include installing chimney caps of all sizes.  We even have special screens developed for masonry chimney caps that protect both your chimney from animals but also the animals from your chimney.  It's a win win scenario!  

If we install a chimney liner for you, we'll automatically include the cap and we'll warranty the materials for life!   That's right, not all caps are created equal.  We only install materials that manufacturers will waranty.  It's just not worth your money to go with anything else.  Live greener and in harmony with your neighboring critters and support a healthy ecosystem by protecting wildlife at home.

Having a certified chimney sweep, like Jon, install a cap for you will give you solid piece of mind.  Live greener and happier, knowing that you're protecting your environment and saving money by installing caps that may never need replacing.  Our chimney caps are warranted for life, our labor is guaranteed for a year, unconditionally. Let's face it, we install chimney caps out on Marblehead neck, Gloucester MA, Nahant MA, as well as other coastal towns that experience high winds.  We have special caps for those jobs.

We sell and install thousands of chimney caps.  People call us and mention that they hear scratching sounds, cooing, and all kinds of things from inside their walls.  Poor little fellas in there were just looking for heat and when they found your chimney they found an open trap.  We pulled an entire skelleton of a sea gull out of a gas heating system flue in Gloucester once, fully intact. 

Dan rescued a family of racoons with new-borns one time.  They had taken up residence in the smoke chamber of the family's fire place.  The home owner said, "Oh my goodness, we almost had a fire last night in our fire place.  We would have killed them all."  We were happy to see the family of raccoons set free.  Wildlife management wasn't really on our resumes but we're happy to do what we can.

Call us (800-248-4900), email us, or fill out one of our forms and we'll actually call you back, or email you back, whichever you prefer.  Each of us is an animal lover and advocate of wildlife preservation. Call us today to inspect your chimney.  If it doesn't have a chimney cap, we'll certainly recommend installing one. 



Cambridge Chimney Sweep - historic rebuild with custom bluestone top
posted on May 27, 2009 03:13:00 am

The chimney repair work in beautiful Cambridge has been completed.  Ed, our field manager, was pleased to work with SeaDar construction on this job.  "Working with these contractors was a pleasure.  They were outstanding, professional, and communicative throughout each stage of this complex job."  What Ed is referring to was a large chimney rebuild, 3 in fact, with chimney liners installed, caps, fire places repaired, the whole works; however, what made this job particularly interesting for any chimney sweeper, never mind a chimney sweep in Cambridge, was the level of communication necessary to be accurate and efficient mixed with the complex staging involved to complete the work safely without holding back the other contractors on the job site.

Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep-Cambridge

 

This job site, not far from Harvard Square, hosted over 30 professionals performing beautiful remodelling work on this very old home.  We had 3-4 of our technicians working on the chimneys, efficiently moving from one project to another, sometimes inside, sometimes outside, to manage the job through inclement weather and to facilitate other needs of the job site.  SeaDar Construction appreciated our work and the feedback given to us from their site managers and office staff was exemplary.  In the meantime, a sincere thank you goes out to all of the professionals at SeaDar construction for choosing us and for running such an efficient and professional job site for us to do what we do best, solve chimney problems.

Here are a few before pics of the job site:

Cambridge Chimney Sweep-chimney repair

Fireplace below is in need of extensive repair. Here's what it looked like.

Cambridge fire place - fireplace repair

Here are some photos of the staging we set up to repair these chimneys.  Very complex staging for any contractor and we thank Boston Ladder Company for their outstanding service to us when we needed more staging.

Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep-staging cambridgechimney sweep cambridge staging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is Ed and Pedro finishing up the rebuild on one of the chimneys. and to the right is one of the blue stone tops we had custom made to the architects specifications.  

chimney rebuild ed harrigan pedro bonilla

chimney rebuild-bluestone cap cambridge ma

Beverly Chimney blocked by aluminum liner
posted on April 02, 2009 02:18:00 am

Aluminum is just not a useful material for a heating system chimney sweep beverly ma-blocked by aluminum linerliner.  We received a phone call from a customer whose chimney in Beverly Ma was blocked and the heating system had been red tagged by the gas company that services their boiler.  Look at what we found when our emergency services technician Jon White arrived on the scene.

You can see here through the breach that the aluminum liner is rusted and disintigrated. For this and a few other reasons, we won't install liners made from this material.

Now, Here is a photo of Josh, our certified chimney sweep, removing the bottom half of the liner.  We created a slide show for this that we're intending on posting as soon as it's optimized.  The pictures are very informative anAluminum liner - chimney sweep saves homed should assist any home owner looking into liners for their chimney and are curious about why aluminum is so much cheaper to buy.  Buyers beware!

 

 

If you've ever been curious about how sturdy these aluminum liners are, check these photos out that our certified chimney sweep Jon White took to demonstrate the hazzards associated with using aluminum liners.

 

 chimney problem - dangerous linerPlease leave your comments, they help spread the word about the hazzards in lining chimneys with aluminum chimney chimney blocked - aluminum liner - Beverly malining material.  One cheap fix early on, in this case, caused extra expence in the future.  This home owner will have to purchase a new lining system soon.  When it comes to lining materials, aluminum vs stainless steel, we choose stainless steel.  You can stand on our liners and they're guaranteed for life!



Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep's chimney services Exposed!
posted on March 30, 2009 01:01:00 pm

Yes, we have a services page; however, here in our blog we can expose more of what we do.  Homeowners, heating system contractors, and property managers throughout the Boston Metro areas, Southern New Hampshire and Portland Maine are experiencing what Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep's services offer.

We ensure that the chimney your appliances vent into is swept out and free from obstructions.   We then perform our comprehensive chimney inspection that includes 3 steps: step 1. We document digital photographs of the exterior chimney, any pipe work, heating system, wood stove, or fire place; step 2. We document digital images from our chimney camera of the inside of your chimney flues; step 3. We evaluate the pictures against the National Fire Protection Association's code book (NFPA 2.11) to diagnose any potential or expressed chimney problem and then return to you a solution.   

We focus on the Inspection, why?  People die and property burns.  The U.S Consumer Products Safety Commission released this safety advisory regarding solid burning fuel appliances and very serious safety concerns.  We are the venting experts and many heating system contractors, property owners and managers rely on our inspection services to ensure that their chimneys are working properly. 

Let's face it, most plumbers don't even want to deal with the chimney.  It's too much liability and not really their niche.  We at Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep are in business to create a great opportunity for plumbers and HVAC companies.  Hire a chimney contractor that will cover the liability that exists when performing this kind of specialized work. 

It doesn't matter what appliances you want to vent through a chimney, nor does it matter what the problem is, we'll help you with taking care of any chimney problem you have. We've deconstructed several right to the basement and then built them back up stronger and more beautiful than ever!  

So what are the chimney problems your customers are facing?  What other jobs could you be on top of if you just had a company who thought your customers were important like their customers and could be contracted to handle your chimney maintainence? 



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