How is a chimney cleaned?
As CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®, we follow a methodical cleaning process in which we clean the entire system from the top of the chimney down to the fireplace and then from the fireplace on up above the damper, smoke chamber, smoke shelf, lintel area and flue. We then check the system for any visible problems both exterior and interior. With masonry chimneys, we will use our Chim-Scan video interior evaluation system to evaluate the interior liner system. Our written reports are completed on-site and cover the specific parts of your chimney for safety and maintenance compliance with NFPA 211 codes.
Do you clean out ash pits?
No. Cleaning ash pits is considered homeowners maintenance.
Will cleaning my chimney get dust all over my house?
Absolutely Not! We contain the mess by means of proper-sized brushes and rods, tarps and a heavy-duty vacuum system designed specifically for dust control. As long-standing professionals in this community, we take pride in our service and our impeccable reputation.
How often do I need to have my chimney cleaned?
In general, from a layman’s perspective, the chimney should be checked after burning about one cord of wood. A “cord” of wood is 4’ high x 8’ wide x 2’ deep. If wood, other than hardwoods are used, cleaning may be needed more often. Those with woodstoves or units used to heat the home may also be subject to more frequent chimney cleanings. The National Fire Protection Association recommends an annual inspection and cleaning when necessary.
How long does it take to sweep a chimney?
A typical sweeping can take from about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours or more depending on the type of chimney and the construction of the system.
Why does it cost more to clean a woodstove insert?
More often than not, an insert stove is merely slid into a fireplace and is not connected to a liner system of its own. In order to clean the chimney in this instance, we have to use an insert puller device to remove the insert from the firebox to clean the system properly. Both time and special equipment add to the cost of this service. Most chimneys containing inserts of this nature take 1.25 to 2 hours to clean and inspect.
Can repairs be completed at the time of the chimney cleaning?
Usually repairs are scheduled on a subsequent appointment to the initial chimney cleaning and inspection as there is no way to anticipate the time or materials needed for chimney repairs. However, we often can install caps on the day of a chimney cleaning.
Should I have my utility flue cleaned?
A utility flue often vents a furnace and/or hot water heater. These appliances can cause deterioration inside the chimney where debris can block the escape of deadly carbon monoxide. Although gas is generally a clean burning fuel, the chimney can become non-functional from bird nests or other debris blocking the flue. Modern furnaces can also cause many problems with the average flues intended to vent the older generation of furnaces.
What is a flue?
A flue is a passageway inside your chimney that vents the gasses and smoke out of your house. Chimneys can have several flues within a single chimney chase.
Do I need a chimney cap?
All chimneys should have caps to prevent leaves, sticks, debris, animals, birds as well as rain and snow from entering the chimney flue. Water and snow entering the chimney can cause damage to the firebox and damper and cause general deterioration to the liner system and mortar joints within the flue. Chimney caps are probably the most inexpensive preventive measure that a homeowner can employ to prevent water penetration and damage to the chimney as well as keep birds and animals from entering the flue.
How do I know there has been a chimney fire?
Often homeowners do not know they have had a fire. Evidence of a flue fire includes puffy creosote. It often has rainbow colored streaks. It is lightweight and fragile, with a tissue paper-like consistency. There may be cracked or collapsed flue tiles or tiles with large chunks missing or cracks present. Metal chimney components such as dampers, caps, or metal smoke chambers may be warped and/or discolored. Antennas mounted near the chimney may also be damaged and the chimney cap may be discolored or distorted. Large pieces of expanded creosote may be found in gutters or in the yard around the chimney. There may also be damage to the roof around the chimney.
When I build a fire in my upstairs fireplace, I get smoke from the basement fireplace. Why?
This is a common problem. Smoke can go from one flue to the other in one of two ways. The most common is that the smoke drifts from one flue to the other at the top of the chimney. This can be remedied with the use of a damper cap on the flue of the fireplace that is smoking. The second way smoke may go from one flue to the other is due to injuries in the flue between the fireplace and the top of the chimney. A damper cap will not work here and repair of the flue liners would be necessary for safety reasons as well as smoking problems.
Should I have my chimney looked at before I have roof work done?
If the chimney requires any maintenance or repair, the best time to work on it is before a new roof is installed. Coordinate the chimney mason with the roofing contractor and yourself to make sure all chimney flashing and chimney repairs are completed properly before the new roof is installed.
Why do I need rain gutters?
We are all mesmerized by large amounts of powerful rushing water. But how often do we think about the power and the damage repeated rain showers can do to our house? Uncontrolled rain water falling from your roof can cause many, if not major problems. A properly installed gutter system can reduce, and in most cases eliminate the damage caused by drainage problems. Without rain gutters you have a much higher percentage of having moisture build-up behind siding and fascia boards that will eventually cause decay. Water can enter your basement due to excess rain or an early thaw. The pounding force of rain coming off of the roof can cause dead or damaged plants, soil erosion, stained concrete, ruin landscaping, and cause wear and tear on siding, window casings, and garage doors.
Why should I have seamless gutters installed?
Seamless gutters are nationally recognized as the most popular form of guttering. It eliminates unsightly seams and reduces the possibility of leaks. There are many colors to choose from and the baked on enamel finish never needs painting. Seamless gutters protect the beauty of your home and expensive landscaping. Fabricating on the job provides you with a custom fit. Most jobs are completed in one day.
What are the advantages of using gutter guards?
Having dirty, clogged gutters prevents waterflow and in some cases can be worse than having no gutters at all. If you do not have the time or ability to clean your gutters and perform regular maintenance, then you will want the protection of gutter guards. Gutter guards help prevent clogs, birds nests, debris, and plant life from building up in your gutters while still allowing water to pass and drain through your gutter system.
When should I replace my rain gutters?
How you tolerate maintenance on your home will determine when you should replace the gutter. If you're the kind of person who doesn't want to be bothered with the time and money repairs demand, you should replace your gutters at the first sign of rust. Rust will often show up as little orange speckles that show through the paint, rusty colored stains at the end of the downpouts, or at gutter seams that are separated and leaking. Gutters rust from the inside out. When they begin to show rusting on the outside, the inside is rusting through. Often, however, because of standing water, the gutter may need to be repaired in just one or two areas. Keep in mind that just like a worn suit, you can't keep patching it forever. You may want to repair them for the rainy season, and plan on having them professionally replaced during the off season.
What type of hanging system do you use when installing?
How your gutter is fastened, is just as important as the type of gutter you select.
We use the hidden hanger system. The hidden hanger is a bracket that clips under the top of the front gutter hem and is secured to the back. The bracket is then screwed into the fascia board with a wood screw. Since it's inside the gutter, it is not visible. This system also allows easy removal of the gutter, should it ever become necessary.
Can you create a fireplace that will be the focal point of my new home – something awe-inspiring?
All of our work is unique, and yes, we specialize and take pride in creating works of art in stone that cannot be replicated.
I have a brick fireplace in my home that I do not like – can this be converted to stone?
In most situations, we can remove the brick and replace it with a more attractive stone veneer.
Can you look at a picture from a magazine and match the design?
Yes, in most instances I can. The biggest issue is availability of stone, which can change yearly. Luckily, I have long-standing relationships with many stone suppliers throughout the Northeast.
Would a bluestone patio be hotter than a patio constructed with another material such as granite or brick?
Bluestone tends to be a bit warmer. However, come evening or the Fall, the heat retention is a welcome characteristic.
Is bluestone more slippery in the winter?
No. Ice is ice.
Do you install interlocking concrete bricks and retaining wall units?
I could go on at length about this subject, but I will try to be brief. When I think interlocking concrete pavers and wall units, I think commercial applications. With the availability of beautiful and authentic clay pavers and an abundance of wall stone and granites, I would never recommend the use of man made concrete anything for a residential job. The concrete product simply lacks dimension and warmth.
Will weeds grow between the stones of my walkway or patio?
Weeds will not grow up from under the stones; however, some superficial growth could occur due to pollination, birds, etc. This is easily prevented by an application of weed killer early in the season.
Will frost heaves occur?
There is always the possibility of frost heaves. However, their potential can be greatly minimized with proper drainage and base materials.
I like the look of moss and lichen on stone. Can you assure that this effect will occur?
Given the right environmental conditions, you can apply a solution of Miracle Grow and buttermilk, which will help promote the growth of moss and lichen (and it will also attract the neighbor’s cat).
I consider the outside of my home to be an extension of the inside. I spent years decorating the inside of my home to achieve the look I was after. How can I be assured that the same degree of care and attention will be given to the outside?
We only work to our high standards. Anything less won’t do. With the bar set so high, I can absolutely assure you that the quality of our work will exceed your expectations. This is why I have a small, dedicated crew with the same vision in mind.
I have a stone wall on my property that has fallen into disrepair (that is, it’s leaning over/bulging out). Can you repair it?
It is likely that the reason your wall is losing its structural integrity is because of excessive water pressure. In order to fix it we would have to first tear down the bad sections; then rebuild the wall, using the correct batter and backfill to facilitate proper drainage.
What happens if chipmunks take up residence in my stone wall – will they jeopardize the construct of the wall?
In all my years, I have never seen a chipmunk carrying away a stone.
Can I replace missing and daxmaged tiles or shingles without calling a roofing contractor?
It is always recommended that you use a professional, but in case of an emergency, it is possible for you to replace a shingle or broken tile yourself.