Our Company Blog

Checking Your Heating & Venting System Before the Cold Season

Summer is coming to an end, and fall is just around the corner. With the start of a new school year and new season, people can find themselves staying fairly busy. Fall is busy season for our chimney professionals too. It’s important to schedule heating and venting services now to avoid the fall rush, as our chimney professionals are busy with installations, repairs, and emergency calls.

Routine Maintenance

Checking Your Heating & Venting System Before the Cold Season - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney ServicesRoutine maintenance is preventative maintenance. Having your heating and venting system inspected and cleaned regularly prevents damage, waste, and health risk. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) agree that routine chimney sweeps and annual inspections keep your chimney system working safely and efficiently.

You should get your chimney serviced regularly to prolongs its life. A clean and properly-functioning chimney is easier to light, the flame is easier to control, and less heat is wasted. A clean chimney does not stink of soot and creosote when the fireplace isn’t in use. Keeping your chimney regularly cleaned and inspected also means less drafting issues, leaks, and other hazards! Hiring a chimney professional for your comprehensive chimney care ensure the optimal health of your chimney.

Chief Chimney is here for you!

It’s our goal at Chief Chimney Services to ensure all of our customers and friends in the Suffolk County area are safe and comfortable this winter season. As members of CSIA, the National Chimney Sweep Guild, and the New York State Chimney Sweep Guild, our goal is to decrease the occurrence of residential chimney fires.

By continuously educating ourselves on new techniques and technologies to improve chimney function, we strive to serve you with the best chimney tips and care. The best way to prevent chimney malfunctions and hazards is to schedule preventive maintenance. If you haven’t had a chimney inspection in the last 12 months, then it’s time to schedule one now. Call Chief Chimney Services today at 631-863-2460.

By John Pilger on August 17th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Why Are Professional Certifications Important?

You wouldn’t hire just anyone to rewire your home’s electricity, and you shouldn’t hire a neighborhood handyman to work on your chimney system. According to the U.S. Fire Administration there are about 1 million home fires annually. Of these house fires both electrical fires and home heating fires make up 7 percent. The truth is that a fireplace may add value to your home, but if not maintained and used properly it can cost you dearly in life, health, insurance, and repairs. The best way to save money tomorrow is to take preventative measures today. Hire a certified professional who specializes in fire and chimney science, masonry repairs, installations, and more.

Why Are Professional Certifications Important Image - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney ServicesProfessional Affiliations and Memberships

There are many affiliations that chimney sweeps can have that indicate a higher standard than others. If you’re shopping around for a chimney sweep, you should first look at their professional certifications and affiliations. If a professional in any field spends the time and money to join professional organizations, this is an indication that they are wiling to invest in their performance, their business, and their industry. Some professional affiliations to look for are memberships to national and state Chimney Sweep Guilds and training and certifications from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and National Fireplace Institute (NFI). These certifications mean the chimney sweep has advanced training and education in his field.

The Most Trusted Industry Standard: CSIA

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certification has been the industry standard since the 1980’s for many reasons:

  • Accreditation.
    CSIA meets the highest of education standards and is actually regulated by the Indiana State Workforce Innovation Council.
  • Longevity.
    CSIA was established in 1983 and has been the industry standard since.
  • Non-Profit.
    CSIA is a non-profit organization governed by professionals and technical experts in the industry from across the country.
  • Code of Ethics.
    CSIA members must adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics designed to protect homeowners from fraud. If they are found in violation of the Code of Ethics their certification can be revoked.
  • Public Safety and Industry Involvement.
    CSIA’s mission includes public and professional education and a commitment to eliminate home chimney fires, carbon monoxide intrusion, and other chimney-related hazards.
  • Continued Education.
    CSIA members must re-certify by examination or continued education every three years in order to stay abreast to industry changes.
  • Reciprocal Affiliated Trades Relationships.
    CSIA devotes resources to educating not just the public, but also similar trades that can contribute to the safety of homes and families including home inspectors, realtors, and homeowner associations.
  • National Recognition.
    CSIA has been nationally recognized as the industry standard. CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps have appeared on Good Morning America, Dateline, and 20/20, in the New York Times, Consumer Reports, and Popular Mechanics, to name a few. It’s the certification required by many homeowners insurance companies, municipal codes, and warranties.

It’s important to find a trusted professional when searching for someone on whom your home’s safety depends. In the Suffolk County area you can depend on the best chimney sweeps by calling Chief Chimney Services today at 631-863-2460 or requesting an appointment online.

By John Pilger on April 5th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

The Importance of Reviewing Your Chimney Sweep

When it comes to hiring a professional for any service, you want the best. The best professionals stand out and are easy to find because of their certifications, policies, reviews and, warranty.

Unfortunately, homeowners find a very good service provider, but because of poor reviews. This causes homeowners to not to visit their webpage to find out about about warranties, certifications, referral programs, and more. For this reason it is vitally important that you review your chimney sweep company. Good or bad, you’re review will help us be a better business and help other homeowners in Suffolk County find us.

Why Your Review MattersImportance of Reviewing Chimney Sweeps - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney

  1. Your positive review raises our score with sites such Angie’s List, Yelp!, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) which uses specific criteria to create an overall score, including your customer reviews!
  2. Your review, positive or negative helps us to adjust our practices and reflect on our pricing, services, and community image. We want to be the best chimney sweep and masonry repair company in Suffolk County, and your reviews help us improve everyday.
  3. Your review lets us connect with you—not just on a personal level with your field technician, but with our owners, trainers, and office staff. Making connections with customers and community members is invaluable.
  4. Your review lets us know we are appreciated. We love to get a smile and a handshake when we complete a job, but an online review, or a recommendation to a friend or neighbor is the best way to show us we’re appreciated and valued for our services and professionalism.
  5. When you “like” us or leave a review on a social media site like Facebook, you are helping a new audience find out about our services. We Want Your Review.

Choose Us!

At Chief Chimney Services we’ve been sweeping Long Island’s chimneys since 1986. We’ve been nationally recognized as a chimney safety authority since 1994, and we wouldn’t be either without our customers. It’s our neighbors in Suffolk County that keep us in business. Their word-of-mouth to their neighbors, showing off their new fireplaces, and bragging about their last home sale. We depend upon reviews to always be better than yesterday. You can help.

Leave an honest review recalling all the details from your interaction with Chief Chimney Services—the good and bad. This will help us improve where there’s a need, and let us know what we’re doing well. We appreciate all criticisms. We also love to share success stories.

You can be a part of the Chief Chimney community today. Call 631-863-2460 now!

By John Pilger on January 24th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

We Serve Suffolk County

There is no better place in the county for us to provide comprehensive chimney services than in Suffolk County, New York. Chief Chimney Services has been part of the Suffolk Country business community for over 30 years. Over that time we have seen a lot of changes to our area; however, nothing can offset the rich history and the spirit of past and current residents.

serving-suffolk-county-ny-suffolk-county-ny-chief-chimney-services

For those who have never been to Suffolk County, let us introduce you. Long Island is in Suffolk County. The peninsula extends into the Atlantic Ocean. The world renowned Hamptons is also part of Suffolk County. The area is characterized by its beaches, wharfs, farmlands, seaside villages, rolling hills, and farmlands. Long Island was named one of the Top Ten Wine Regions in the World by Wine Enthusiast magazine. Dr. Beach, a noted, beach expert, named Main Beach in East Hampton the Best Beach in America.

The first inhabitants of Long Island were the Algonquin Indians. The Algonquins and others who came to settle in the area were attracted by the waterways, local game, rich farmland, and native nuts, berries, and grains. Those interested in the development and chronological history of Suffolk County can click here.

There are almost 300 places in Suffolk County currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places which preserve the area’s rich history. Click here for a complete list.

The Vanderbilt name is synonymous with Suffolk County. Visitors and residents enjoy visiting the mansion, museum, and planetarium on the Vanderbilt estate. For more information click here.

It’s the local nuances of an area that gives it its character. Here are a few bits of information to enlighten and amuse you.

  • You can never get really lost on Long Island.All you have to do is drive until you come to water and then turn around, “re-routing re-routing”.Suffolk County is described as an “epicurean’s dream”.
  • “The word “fresh” takes on a different meaning. Here, the menu’s ‘catch of the day’ was likely hauled in that morning from the waters off our Island shores, prepared and served with vegetables – picked from a nearby farm – seasoned with herbs from the garden then paired with a Pinot Grigio from a vineyard just down the road.” Click here for more information on great dining experiences.

Suffolk County has several aviation museums and places to explore science, mathematics, history, energy, astronomy, and technology. To learn more click here.

Those interested in live entertainment will not be disappointed. The theatres and auditoriums in the North Shore area have performances for all entertainment genres and audiences. Click here for more information.

New York City is close enough to visit when you want to participate in all that one of the world’s most dynamic cities offer, yet far enough away not to interfere with the tranquility and charm and quaintness this historic county offers.

Quality of life is important to residents visiting in Suffolk County. Chief Chimney Services is proud to maintain chimneys and fireplaces and offer comprehensive and related service to new residents of Suffolk County as well as those whose ancestors are part of the area’s history.

Recent Bad Weather Could Damage Your Chimney

It’s been a winter of record-breaking weather in the Northeast United States. The Weather Channel is reporting some of the worst weather in years, and New York City has experienced some of the coldest temperatures in ten years. With the month of March expected to come in like a lion, many homeowners are concerned about the potential damage all this weather could be causing.

winter-chimney-damage-weather-image-suffolk-ny-chief-chimney

The Stack Effect

The cold weather could be affecting your heating bill, but beyond that harsh winter weather can also affect your chimney. During something called The Stack Effect, the cold air from the outside of your home battles with the warm air inside your home. When cold air is forced down your chimney and into your home (because of chimney leaks or a poorly capped chimney) this can force a back draft in your fireplace making lighting a fire almost impossible.

The Moisture Effect

Another major culprit of chimney damage is moisture. When there is an excessive amount of snow and/or ice like we’ve been experiencing in the Northeastern United States, this precipitation can make its way into your chimney. Not only can this make it very difficult to light a fire in your fireplace or stove difficult but it can also create a build-up of creosote. Creosote is a potentially harmful chemical build-up inside a chimney that occurs when a fire isn’t burning hot enough.

How You Can Protect Your Chimney From Winter Weather

Moisture and cold air are two of the main culprits causing chimney damage during the long and cold winter months. Luckily, there are certain precautions you can take to make sure you address chimney damage before it becomes a major problem:

After heavy snowfall, inspect the exterior of your chimney for any noticeable damage.
Inspect the interior of your home for water damage or peeling paint/wallpaper around your chimney or fireplace. This could signify a leak or other chimney damage.

Perhaps the best thing you can do to protect your chimney happens before winter sets in. Hire a professional chimney sweeping company like Chief Chimney Services in Suffolk County to inspect and sweep your chimney before the winter months. Your chimney sweeping company will make sure there is no major damage to your chimney and will keep it clean. Beyond that, your chimney sweeping company will:

Recommend a top-sealing damper
Re-line your chimney
Recommend and install a chimney cap

These easy add-ons can protect your chimney from harsh winter elements like cold air and moisture. After all, having an airtight chimney is the best way to protect against bad winter weather.

This winter has been one of the record books. Between the frigid temperature and immense amount of snow many homeowners can’t wait for spring to arrive. While you’re waiting out the storm, be sure to hire a reputable, professional chimney sweeping company to help you maintain your chimney and keep it in great working order. An airtight chimney will heat your home, as well as keep your loved ones safe while winter continues to rear its ugly head.

Signs You Need a Chimney Inspection

Pay close attention to the warning signs displayed by your chimney. Have it inspected as soon as possible.

Pay close attention to the warning signs displayed by your chimney. Have it inspected as soon as possible.

When you aren’t feeling well you often times will go see a doctor. Your chimney however, cannot tell you when it is not in top shape so you need to watch for the warning signs that come along with the need for chimney maintenance. Also, you should have at least one chimney sweep and inspection every year. If you sense that something is going wrong inside of your chimney it is important to call your trusted technician immediately. If you need someone, the professionals at Chief Chimney Services!

What are the warning signs?

  • Cracks in the structure or mold build-up

After the winter season cracks can begin to form in the chimney’s structure from the constant freezing and thawing of precipitation. This can cause the caulk to crack and water to have a place to collect. This water can turn to mold in as little as one or two days. With careful chemical treatments, mold can be removed. Most technicians will recommend waterproofing after the chimney is back in order to prevent similar instances in the future.

  • Odors have begun to make appearances in your home

When creosote is released from firewood it clumps together and slowly begins to block your chimney. When temperatures get warm and humid, the clumps will begin to cause a foul odor. Most people think that having a sweep will rid the odor, but in actuality it will only reduce it once the creosote has had time to soak into the structure. This is one reason you should keep your maintenance up to date.

Also, blockages caused by creosote can cause draft problems. When this happens air cannot properly exit the home and the room will fill with smoke. This can also lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning which can be fatal.

How do you know that your technician is qualified?

When hiring a techinican it’s important to make sure you have the right person. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has a few suggestions on how to hire the best for your chimney. Check how long the company has been in business. Also check to see if they have references or reviews from real clients. Lastly, make sure they are CSIA certified.

How do you prepare your home for the inspection?

You have nothing to worry about when your chimney gets its inspection. A few things you can do to help with the process is to not burn a fire for 24 hours and clean the area around the fireplace where the technicians have room to work. Also, lock up all pets for their safety.

What Is the Chimney Safety Institute of America?

Many homeowners use their fireplaces and chimneys without giving them much thought. However, it is important to realize that both structures can be quite dangerous if they are not used properly. The mission of the Chimney Safety Institute of America is to educate both professionals and homeowners on the proper, safe use of a chimney. This information is vital is preventing dangerous house fires as well as exposure to poisonous gasses.

The CSIA provides homeowners with invaluable information about how to improve efficiency and safety.

The CSIA provides homeowners with invaluable information about how to improve efficiency and safety.

If a homeowner has a question about their chimney or fireplace, The Chimney Safety Institute of America will have the answer. They provide a number of resources for homeowners with regard to common chimney problems and proper maintenance for safe use of the chimney. The information is all arranged online, making it very easy for homeowners to find exactly what it is that they are looking for.

The CSIA also has many ways of providing general information for homeowners, even if they do not have a particular issue at the time. Their blog offers many different articles covering all aspects of chimney and fireplace maintenance. This is a great place to start for someone who wants to be better informed about their chimney for the purpose of keeping their home clean and safe. In addition to the blog, all of this useful information is available via a convenient mobile app.

After looking for information regarding a particular chimney problem, many people realize that they need to call in a professional to take care of it. If this is the case, The CSIA can help locate a certified professional in the area. Their website features a very easy to use tool that locates chimney sweeps and other local professionals. This allows homeowners to rest assured that the person taking care of their chimney is a trustworthy, trained professional.

The CSIA can confidently recommend chimney professionals because they have a major hand in their training and certification. In fact, it is the CSIA that offers the certification that qualifies these professionals to do their jobs. They offer classes both online and in person to give individuals and companies the best possible training. In addition, they offer a variety of workshops and online resources to help these professionals continue to develop their skills.

In addition to providing training and information related to chimneys, the CSIA also works with professionals who deal with clothes dryer vents. They provide the same training and certification as they do for chimney sweeps and have a variety of information on the topic available to homeowners. Even fewer people are concerned with their dryer vents than chimneys, but the truth is that they pose just as big a risk in terms of both fire and wasted energy.

Both the chimney and dryer vents need to be clean and well maintained in order to be used safely. Failure to take proper care of them could pose serious health and safety risks for everyone in the home. The Chimney Safety Institute of America provides resources not only for homeowners but also for professionals. They offer training and certification that makes it possible for all chimneys and dryers to function safely. They provide up to date information for homeowners and make it easy for them to locate trained professionals should the need arise.

By John Pilger on August 21st, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Three Common Chimney Inspection Stories

Fred and his family have lived in the same home since it was built over 9 years ago. Every year during the cooler months, they enjoy gathering around the big pot belly stove that sits in the corner of their living room, providing warmth and comfort as it always has. Fred marks the beginning of the season with his annual order of one cord of firewood, which usually gets him through, more or less. The wood is always properly seasoned and stored, and on the day it arrives, his wife will make a big pot of chili as she always does, and the kids will help him unload the wood and stack it on the rack. Afterwards, they will all gather around in the living room and enjoy the first golden fire of the season.

The Firewood is Ready - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney Services

The Firewood is Ready – Suffolk NY – Chief Chimney Services

But Fred has never taken this important appliance for granted. Every year, he calls out his local chimney service company to perform a Level 1 inspection, and if necessary, a cleaning. The purpose of the inspection is to make sure that the stove and venting are in good serviceable condition, and there are no leaks, combustible deposits or obstructions. Since Fred uses the stove every year, and nothing has changed in 9 years, a Level 1 inspection is all that is needed to keep a well-maintained system working like it always has.

But late last spring there was an earthquake. Nothing too big, but everyone in the area felt it, and most of his neighbors had gathered out in the street in the middle of the night, in slippers and robes, comparing notes and calming down the kids and dogs before returning to bed. Later that same year, several friends down the street had reported some cracks they had never noticed before in the masonry of their homes. It was generally agreed that these new issues were probably related to the earthquake.

So this year, Fred needed a Level 2 inspection of his chimney, just to be safe. In a Level 2 inspection, a certified and trained chimney specialist will use a video camera to inspect the inside liner of the chimney flue, looking for cracks or gaps or other damage that would prevent safe use of a fireplace or stove. The professional will also access hidden areas that intersect with the chimney system, such as basements, crawl spaces or attics, to make sure that proper clearance to combustibles is observed.

During his inspection, the technician observed no damage to the brick, mortar or liner of the chimney system. But when he was in the attic, he did find that a large, high-placed box had spilled over, probably during the earthquake, and its clothing contents had landed against the outer bricks of the chimney, causing a fire hazard. Fred was more than happy to pay for this discovery, because it meant that his family was spared any unnecessary risk that year.

Also this year, Fred has an opportunity to purchase his first rental property. It’s a real country fixer-upper, but given the price and the way the market for such properties has been going, it’s almost too good a deal to pass up.

Given the age and condition of the house, Fred made sure that his offer was contingent upon a Level 3 inspection of the two chimneys, among other things. A Level 3 inspection means that it is necessary to remove certain components of the building or chimney in order to gain the access needed to properly inspect a chimney. In this case, it meant that a small section of plaster above the location of the old stove in the kitchen needed to be removed so that the inspector could determine if repairs would be necessary before a new wood-burning kitchen stove was installed. It also was necessary to remove a chimney crown on the second chimney, which was already in bad repair. These inspections revealed what they needed to reveal, and Fred made adjustments to his offer. If all goes well, his offer will be accepted, and he will start the renovations with his oldest son before the weather gets too chilly.

Chimney inspections are required in order to ensure proper and safe operation of any vented fire appliance. These inspections must be carried out by a certified chimney professional (A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep). If you are unsure about which inspection level is appropriate in your circumstance, please call us. We would be happy to talk about what we do and how we can help you.

By John Pilger on July 31st, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment