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Chimney Repair Boston MA

QUESTION:I've read a lot about dangerous chimney problems in Boston - fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, to name just two. How often should I have my chimney cleaned?

Sustainable Construction
35 Woodland St
Sherborn, MA
Services
Custom Builder, Designer / Architect, Remodeler, Specialty Contractor
Membership Organizations
2009 CotY Awards, Build It Green, Eastern Massachusetts Chaper of NARI, NARI Certified Remodeler, NARI Green Certified Professional (GCP), National Association of the Remodeling Industry

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Byggmeister Associates, Inc
677A Sawmill Brook Pkwy
Newton, MA
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Designer / Architect, Remodeler
Awards
2007 Guildmaster, 2008 Guildmaster with Distinction, 2009 Guildmaster, 2010 Guildmaster with Distinction

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Tibma Design/Build
44 Winfield St.
Needham, MA
Services
Remodeler, Designer / Architect
Awards
2009 Guildmaster, 2010 Guildmaster with Distinction
Membership Organizations
2006 CotY Award, 2008 CotY Awards, Builders Association of Greater Boston, Eastern Massachusetts Chaper of NARI, NAHB Remodelers, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, National Kitchen and Bath Association, Rotary International

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The Wiese Company
28 North Main Street
Sherborn, MA
Services
Custom Builder, Designer / Architect, Remodeler
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Boston Society of Architects, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, National Kitchen and Bath Association

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Brad Stearns
CSA Home Services
617 549 7609
28 R Willow Ave
Somerville, MA
 
FBN Construction, Inc.
17 Wolcott Court
Boston, MA
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Remodeler, Handyman

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Don Foote Contracting
38 Montvale Ave
Stoneham, MA
Services
Remodeler
Awards
2010 Guildmaster

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Feinmann Inc.
27 Muzzey Street
Lexington, MA
Service Type
Designer / Architect, Remodeler
Awards
2009 Guildmaster, 2010 Guildmaster

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Krystal Puopolo
AJ Exteriors, Inc.
617-957-0904
2 Neptune Rd. Ste. 340
Boston, MA
 
Arlene Mackie
Peter Needham Electrical
781-396-4800
59 Oakland Street
Medford, MA
 
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Fixing Chimney Problems

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QUESTION:I've read a lot about dangerous chimney problems - fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, to name just two. How often should I have my chimney cleaned?

ANSWER: Although many people know that their wood-burning chimneys need to be cleaned once a year, they neglect maintenance of other heating-appliance venting systems, including oil- or gas-burning furnaces and hot water heaters. All of these systems are as important to care for as your fireplace. According to the National Fire Protection Association, wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, chimney connectors and all other types of solid-fueled heating equipment need to be inspected annually by a professional and cleaned as often as the inspections indicate.

There are two professions whose members clean chimneys: chimney sweeps and the heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) hygiene industry. Although there may be some cross over with pros offering both services, the procedures and issuing of credentials are different.

A word of caution: In most states these industries are unregulated. And since opening a business may require little capital investment, virtually anyone can claim to offer chimney sweep or heating repair services. The obvious risks to consumers for professional negligence can range from inefficiency in your heating systems and decreased air quality to catastrophic house fires and deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. However, two national organizations, the National Chimney Sweep Guild (www.ncsg.org) and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (www.nadca.com), offer stringent certification programs and refer consumers to competent servicers in their regions.

One more thing: Make sure the professional who cleans your chimney is completely insured. The National Chimney Sweep Guild says spring is a great time to schedule a sweep, since heating service professions will be more able to accommodate your schedule. Many people mistakenly believe that a flue that hasn't been used for some time is safe. The truth is that removing creosote buildup is only one aspect of chimney care. Other defects uncovered during a furnace inspection include cracks in the flue lining, bird nests, dirty filters and blockages - all of which can occur during periods of non-use. And what about the new engineered logs claimed by their makers to clean chimneys while they burn? They are not a substitute for professional cleaning. Although they may leave less residue behind, none makes the claim that they will keep your chimney completely clean. They are definitely not a substitute for a professional who can not only clean the flue and chimney, but also check for potentially dangerous defects.

Finally: To keep buildup to a minimum, learn to use the damper properly. Your chimney sweep, fireplace or woodstove retailer, or local fire department are good resources for this information. For more on home heating system safety, go to the National Fire Protection Association site at www.nfpa.org.

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