Two words: Supply and Demand. Our “busy season” begins shortly after Labor Day and runs straight through the holidays and into February. Scheduling a chimney sweep and/or inspection during this time frame may push your appointment date out by two to four weeks. For this reason we recommend making an appointment outside of our “busy season”. This insures a more timely appointment and more flexibility of schedule availability.
A typical chimney sweep removes regular soot deposits and Stage 1 creosote which is flakey or crusty in appearance. Removing Stage 3 glazed creosote requires special power cleaning tools and sometimes even chemicals to remove. This process is slow and laboring and requires much more time to remove. If you know you have Stage 3 creosote or have had problems with creosote in the past, let us know at the time of scheduling. This will help us in allotting adequate time to complete the job.
Absolute Mess Free Cleaning! Our sweeps take every precautionary measure to ensure that our sweeping is completely mess free. Following meticulous steps, using high grade runners and triple motor vacuum systems with triple layer HEPA filters to capture all soot particulates, we guarantee a mess free sweep every time.
Using special brushes on extendable rods, we sweep the flue from the firebox all the way up to the very top of the chimney. After completion of the flue sweep, your firebox, smoke chamber and smoke shelf will be swept with handheld brushes. A typical chimney sweeping removes regular soot deposits and Stage 1 creosote which is flaky or crusty in appearance.
We offer Level 1, 2 and 3 chimney inspection.
Wood burning appliances are designed to safely contain wood-fuel fires, while providing heat for a home. The chimney’s job is to expel the by-products of combustion – the substances produced when burning wood. These include smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog and assorted minerals. As these substances exit the fireplace or wood stove, and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs. The resulting residue that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney is called creosote.
Creosote can be black or brown in appearance. There are three stages to creosote. Stage 1: crusty, flaky or a dust like appearance. Stage 2: Appears as tar-like, drippy and sticky. Stage 3: shiny and hardened in appearance. It is not uncommon for all types to occur in one chimney system. Whatever form it takes, creosote is highly combustible. If it builds up in sufficient quantities – and the internal flue temperature is high enough – the result could be a chimney fire. Certain conditions encourage the buildup of creosote. Restricted air supply, unseasoned wood and cooler than normal chimney temperatures are all factors that can accelerate the buildup of creosote on chimney flue walls. Restricting the air supply to your fireplace by closing the glass doors or by failing to open the damper wide enough can prevent the movement of heated smoke to rapidly exit the chimney.
The longer the smoke’s “residence time” in the flue, the more likely it is that creosote will form. A wood stove’s air supply can be limited by closing down the stove damper or air inlets too soon or too much. Burning unseasoned wood contributes to creosote buildup because so much energy is used initially just to drive off the water trapped in the cells of the logs. This keeps the resulting smoke cooler, than if seasoned wood is used. In the case of wood stoves, overloading the firebox with wood in an attempt to get a longer burn time also contributes to creosote buildup.
If your appliance or your venting system has not changed and you plan to use your system as you have in the past, then a Level 1 inspection is a minimum requirement. A Level 1 inspection is recommended for a chimney under continued service, under the same conditions, and with the continued use of the same appliance. In a Level 1 inspection, your chimney service technician should examine the readily accessible** portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible* portions of the appliance and the chimney connection. Your technician will be looking for the basic soundness of the chimney structure and flue as well as the basic appliance installation and connections. The technician will also verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.
A Level 2 inspection is required when any changes are made to the system. Changes can include a change in the fuel type, changes to the shape of, or material in, the flue (i.e. relining), or the replacement or addition of an appliance of a dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency. Additionally, a Level 2 inspection is required upon the sale or transfer of a property or after an operation malfunction or external event that is likely to have caused damage to the chimney. Building fires, chimney fires, seismic events as well as weather events are all indicators that this level of inspection is warranted. A Level 2 inspection is a more in-depth inspection than a Level 1 inspection A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus the accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior including attics, crawl spaces and basements. It will address proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations..– When a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection suggests a hidden hazard and the evaluation cannot be performed without special tools to access concealed areas of the chimney or flue, a Level 3 inspection is recommended. There are no specialty tools (i.e. demolition equipment) required to open doors, panels or coverings in performing a Level 2 inspection. A Level 2 inspection shall also include a visual inspection by video scanning or other means in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney. No removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required by a Level 2 inspection.
A Level 3 inspection addresses the proper construction and the condition of concealed portions of the chimney structure and the flue. Removal or destruction, as necessary, of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure will be required for the completion of a Level 3 inspection. A Level 3 inspection includes all the areas and items checked in a Level 1 and a Level 2 inspection, as well as the removal of certain components of the building or chimney where necessary. Removal of components (i.e., chimney crown, interior chimney wall) shall be required only when necessary to gain access to areas that are the subject of the inspection. When serious hazards are suspected, a Level 3 inspection may well be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.