Massachusetts Chimney Cleaning and Sweeping

Massachusetts Chimney Repairs | Horizon Chimney Services Massachusetts

Call Horizon Chimney for all your chimney services and repairs | Horizon Chimney Massachusetts (508) 533 - 4202

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How often should I have my chimney cleaned?
The National Fire Protection Association says, "Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary." NFPA 211 Codes and Standards. A good rule of thumb for wood burning appliances is after a cord of wood has been burned, a chimney cleaning and inspection is recommended.

When is the best time to have my chimney cleaned?

The best time to have your chimney cleaned is in the spring or early summer. Having your flues cleaned early in the year may also help reduce possible problems with fireplace odors when the hot, humid days of the year approach. Scheduling your cleaning in the springtime will also reduce the wait time for an appointment as the fall time is very busy for chimney sweeps. At the time of your scheduled chimney cleaning, we will be happy to forward schedule your next years appointment for the following spring/early summer. This alleviates the hassle of trying to remember to call us for service the following year.

What about my oil or gas furnace flue? Why does this need to be inspected or cleaned?
Unfortunately, the most over looked flue in a home is the oil and gas heating appliance flue. This flue is the most important flue in your home. We recommend yearly inspection and cleaning of this flue to ensure soundness, freedom from deposits and proper venting of harmful soot and carbon monoxide in these flues. A draft reading will be done following the inspection and cleaning of your furnace flue to make sure the appliance is drafting properly through the chimney system. A common misconception is that the oil or gas service company takes care of the furnace chimney. The reality is that the oil or gas service technician may shovel out the base of a brick chimney and they may brush out the connector pipes, but will NOT clean the furnace chimney flue. Also, many service technicians may tell the homeowner that the venting system is okay without even inspecting the entire chimney. This includes inspecting and cleaning the interior of the furnace flue as well as inspecting the exterior masonry (if applicable), flashing, chimney cap, etc.

What does a fireplace chimney cleaning consist of?

As CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps, we follow a Six-Step Cleaning Process in which we clean the entire system from the fireplace up, which includes the firebox, smoke chamber, smoke shelf, and flue. We then check the system for any visible problems. Sometimes we use our closed circuit video inspection camera to evaluate the interior of the system.

Will there be a mess when the chimney is cleaned?
Horizon Chimney guarantees your home will stay mess free. Prior to the start of any cleaning, we will lay down special drop clothes and have an industry grade HEPA vacuum running while the cleaning process is performed. 99% of the time the flue is cleaned from the bottom, inside the house, allowing us to control the dust and debris that is falling down during the cleaning process. This method ensures that your house and belongings stay clean.

How long does a chimney cleaning take?
On average, one flue typically takes 30-45 minutes to clean. This will also depend on the type of fuel, type of appliance venting into the flue and the last time it was cleaned.

Do You Clean Out The Ash Pit For the Fireplace?
No. Cleaning ash pits is considered the homeowners maintenance.

Do I need a chimney cap?
All chimneys should have caps to prevent leaves, sticks, debris, animals and most importantly, rain and snow from entering the chimney flue. A chimney without a cap is like having a hole in your roof. Moisture is the largest contributor to the breakdown of the interior of your chimney and flues. Also, a chimney cap will act as a spark arrestor for any errant sparks that may make their way up the flue.

Will a cap prevent my appliance from venting properly?
A chimney cap is designed to have proper screen clearance and screen area. In some cases chimney caps actually help eliminate certain downdrafts and improve venting.

My damper is not working or does not open properly. Can it be repaired?
A damper that has come loose or off its frame can be reseated. However, if a damper has become brittle and parts have snapped off, it cannot be repaired. It must be replaced. A replacement damper is installed on top of the chimney flue and is connected by a cable to a bracket secured to the wall of the fireplace. This type of damper is air tight and helps cut down on heat and air conditioning loss when closed. It is recommended that a full size stainless cap be installed over this type of damper to protect the new damper from rain and snow.

My chimney has white stains on the brick what is this?
The white stains or powder-like material is often the result of water penetration of the chimney. During a rain, snow, or ice storm water is absorbed by the brick and mortar crown. When this occurs in the winter, freeze/thaw cycles can enlarge the cracks on the top of the chimney mortar crown allowing water to enter the structure this way. The chimney will soon saturate with water. As the chimney dries, lime and salts from brick and mortar are pushed out of the pores of the chimney.  This is a common problem which we can address. The easiest way to prevent such problems is by using a quality water repellent specially formulated for chimney's. Horizon Chimney Services can apply "Chimney Saver" water repellent to help protect and preserve your chimney structure . This product comes with a 10 year warranty.

I heat with gas. Should this chimney be checked too?
Without a doubt! 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.

My fireplace stinks, especially in the summer. What can I do?
The smell is due to creosote deposits in the chimney, a natural byproduct of wood burning. The odor is usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high and the air conditioner is turned on. A good cleaning will help but usually won't solve the problem completely. There are commercial chimney deodorants that work pretty well, and many people have good results with baking soda or even kitty litter set in the fireplace. The real problem is the air being drawn down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure problems in the house. Some make-up air should be introduced somewhere else in the house. A tight sealing, top mounted damper will also reduce this air flow coming down the chimney.

When I build a fire in my upstairs fireplace, I get smoke from the basement fireplace.
This has become quite a common problem in modern air tight houses where weather-proofing has sealed up the usual air infiltration routes. The fireplace in use exhausts household air until a negative pressure situation exists. If the house is fairly tight, the simplest route for makeup air to enter the structure is often the unused fireplace chimney. As air is drawn down this unused flue, it picks up smoke that is exiting nearby from the fireplace in use and delivers the smoke to the living area. The best solution is to provide makeup air to the house so the negative pressure problem no longer exists, thus eliminating not only the smoke problem, but also the potential for carbon monoxide to be drawn back down the furnace chimney. A secondary solution is to install a top mount damper on the fireplace that is used the least.

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