Tips for Hiring the Right Chimney Sweep

chimney-sweeper-cleaner-workerWith so many companies out there, picking the right one for your chimney needs can sometimes be challenging. Probably, you have heard some news stories about con artists who try to defraud homeowners a lot of money for non-existent or shoddy work. Because many unsuspecting clients aren’t educated about heating appliances, stoves, fireplaces and their venting systems or chimneys, such crooks usually victimize them. It’s therefore important to consider specific things when looking for the right chimney sweep for your chimney sweeping or repair needs. Here are a few factors to consider:

1. Insurance

Before choosing any company, ask if they have full coverage insurance against all damages that may occur while cleaning or repairing your chimney. Make sure they’re fully insured and try to find out what their insurance policy covers. If the contractor you hire doesn’t have the right coverage and damages your property or gets injured the liability will definitely be yours. A good company that offers chimney repair or cleaning services should carry full insurance to protect you and your property.

2. Certification

There are many benefits that come from only hiring a certificated chimney sweep. This is actually the most crucial qualification you should look for when hiring one. In America, for instance, the CSIA is the standard for training throughout the country, particularly when it comes to the maintenance, repair and care of all stove, furnace and fireplace systems as well as chimneys and vetting systems. Before hiring anyone, ask for proof of such certification for the company’s technicians.

3. Proper Identification

Before hiring anyone to work on your home, it’s important to ask for his or her identification. Most reliable companies that offer chimney sweeping services provide identification (ID) badges for every employee, and they’ll often arrive in a marked vehicle and uniform that identifies that particular company. This means you should avoid any strangers that come at your place soliciting you to offer chimney repairs, cleaning or inspections.

4. Ask For Current References

The right chimney sweep company should also be able to provide phone numbers and names of their clients. Don’t hesitate to make a quick phone call to determine if their references were happy or not. If a company gives you excuses when you ask them for their current references, keep on shopping.

Lastly, professional chimney service companies like offer various chimney sweeping services. National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), for instance, is actually one of the organizations dedicated to promoting ongoing education and professionalism to keep all sweeps in the America up with the latest equipment and technologies. it’s necessary to look for a contractor that belongs to the right organization.

Practical and Easy DIY Roof Repair Tips

When you are in your house, the only place that you would want to have water falling on your head is in the shower. But when you have water seeping through your roof and causing major damage, it can be a major headache. While some types of roof damage may be solved by dedicated DIYers, others require the expertise of professional roofers. For instance, if you have extensive roof damage that is characterized by multiple leaks and your own roofing repairs are not holding, or the repairs are generally beyond your realm, then it is time to call in the cavalry. However, in most cases, simple roof damage can be addressed by a committed DIYer over the course of a weekend. Below we take a look at 5 easy roofing repair tips as follows:

1. Identify the source of leaks

This is often easier said than done. The first sign that your roof is leaking is usually water stains found on the ceiling. Therefore, work from the ground with binoculars or use a ladder to see if there are any missing, cracked, or curled shingles. Also, be aware that leaks can be found where flashing and caulking have been damaged, at points where shingles butt, or through tent-shaped shingles and end caps. Lastly, do not forget to check for wear around chimney vents and pipes and for any loose materials around the chimney.

2. Flatten any curled shingles

You can secure and flatten any curled shingles by using adhesive compounds in a caulk gun, or applying asphalt roofing cement using a brush. Hold down the shingles’ edges and corners as you carry out the roofing repairs to ensure that they do not lift up again.

3. Replace missing, rotten, and damaged shingles

To remove damaged shingles, raise up the edges of surrounding ones and remove nails using a pry bar or hammer. The selected shingle should then slide out. Thereafter, align and slide in the new shingle(s) with those on either side and fasten it using galvanized roofing nails (ensure that you hammer one nail in each corner of the shingle(s).

4. Reseal dormers and chimneys

Using roofing cement and a caulking gun, you can prevent the leaks that sometimes occur around dormers and chimneys by resealing the metal flashing joints.

5. Get rid of the old roof

If you decide to call in professional roofers to remove your entire roof, then you can begin facilitating the process by getting rid of the old shingles yourself. There are instances when contractors may be inclined to leave an old roof in place and construct a new one on top of it. However, with the roof cleared, you and your contractor can inspect not only the decking, but other areas for structural damage as well; saving you a lot of grief and money down the road.


How To Properly Clean Your Chimney

Did you know that most of the home fires start in uncleaned chimneys? By omitting chimney cleaning, or by doing it inappropriately, you expose yourself to many risks. So you should clean your chimney at least once a year, as advised by NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). Cleaning your chimney once per annum eliminates the risk of accumulating creosote, a highly flammable substance which causes the majority of chimney fires.  Every homeowner needs to know the proper method of chimney cleaning.

So how to clean your chimney properly?

Before you start cleaning your chimney, you need to undergo certain preparations. First of all, a chimney must be cleaned if the creosote accumulated is at least 3mm thick. You’ll, of course, need proper cleaning supplies. To get the right supplies, you need to measure your flue. Primary chimney cleaning supplies include a brush with a long extension handle; a tall ladder; a broom and a dust mask or bandana. Don’t forget to wear work clothes so you don’t get your regular clothes dirty!

If you’ve done all of the preparations, it is time to start cleaning your chimney.

There are a few methods to chimney cleaning. We’ll first discuss the most common method.

The Top-Down Option. This process requires you to climb the roof. Pack all of your cleaning supplies in a bag and use the ladder to climb to the top. Now it’s time to start cleaning. Attach the brush to the handle and start brushing the chimney from the inside using up and down motions. If you can’t reach deeper, detach the short handle and attach the longer one to reach deeper. Proceed until the whole flue is scraped and clean,  after that pack up your supplies and climb down the ladder. Check the fireplace to see if you have omitted some residue and, if so, use a small brush to scrape it into a dustpan.

The second method of chimney cleaning is the Bottom Up Method. Although very similar to the previous method, this method is done from inside the house. You use the same process we used when we discussed the Top Down Method, just instead of starting from the bottom of the chimney. You start from your fireplace and move from bottom up. The scraping method is the same as in the previous method.

After you finish with scraping, you should clean the flue entrance and the fireplace from soot and creosote and make sure to dispose of it in a sealed container as creosote is highly flammable and harmful to the lungs.

And there you go! You have learned two proper methods of chimney cleaning: Top Down and Bottom Up Method. Both of these methods are useful, choosing which one to use depends on your preferences.