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Why Does A Sweep Cost So Much?

I have been asked why a sweep cost so much?  My first reaction is why, it seems to be too low realistically.

Face it, a Chimney Sweep/Inspector has more expensive tools, more expensive education, just as expensive insurance as a Home Inspector.  The proper Inspection on a real estate transaction takes almost as long as a Home Inspection does, and yet people expect it to be a lot less cost.  Why?

In part because there are many Home Inspectors who are offering WETT Inspections for low cost or free.  Problem is two fold.

a) these inspectors DO NOT perform a proper Inspection for Real Estate Transaction or Transfer / Sale of Property as per NFPA 211.

b) these inspectors – frankly do not have the necessary experience to perform the proper inspection – nor the tools necessary to do it!

c) a properly done Level 1 Inspection will take around 1.5 hours to complete on site; or more.  And another perhaps 30 minutes to complete report afterwards.

d) a properly done Level 2 Inspection will take perhaps another 30 minutes onside, or around 2 hours to perform.  Similar report writing time afterwards.

So I guess the question is why is a WETT Inspection not around the same cost as a Home Inspection?  I have taken the Home Inspector training, and believe it or not the WETT training actually cost as much money or more, at least when one gets to the proper level needed to perform a Real Estate level inspection – which is NOT SITE Basic Inspector level.

However, it is what it is right now, but over time things will change.  It just takes time for the process to work through the necessary process.

It Is True That Wood Is Good

Yes Wood Is GREAT

In the 21st century, heating a home with wood is clean, carbon neutral and renewable.

Using wood to heat your home can be the most logical and wisest choice for Canadians who live outside the large cities.

With the high cost of energy in rural Ontario, in particular that of electricity, it is necessary to find an alternate solution for many.  This is why there are over two million Canadians using wood stoves to supplement their home heating bill. Using a modern, efficient and clean burning stove to utilize a renewable energy source represents a major offset from the nonrenewable fossil fuels of oil and gas.

Realistically, there are no perfect fuels today.  The closet is likely hydroelectric, which also has environmental impact.  Some would think of wind or solar, however there are carbon impacts in the manufacturer of these devices, transportation to site installation and maintenance through their life-cycle.  They each require supplemental generation to be provided as neither the wind nor the sun is 100% reliable generation source, the supplemental generation is often a natural gas fired generation plant, which requires more carbon impact on construction, maintenance and operation.  The whole problem with Ontario is much of what is done by the government is politically based and not scientifically based, which is the same as the pesticide ban – where some of the pesticides which were retained are actually more dangerous and harmful than some of the banned products, any of the people in the pesticide industry will tell you this, yet what hey did was politically motivated to appease voters versus real maximization of benefits to the environment.  Does it surprise you, it should not as many political decisions are based upon the results at the next election.  Enough politics.

It is true however, that there there are no perfect fuels in today’s world, what is important is that we use an appropriate energy source for a particular application.


For rural Canada, wood burning is very appropriate and is environmentally responsible. The harvesting of firewood is proper scientifically based management of woodlots, and the Ontario government rewards homeowners for this practice.  Firewood in Ontario is  not a result of clear cutting.  The management of forests not only provides firewood, it allows the healthy and often younger trees room to properly grow.  Often times much of the wood harvested is not good for much else than firewood as they are culling the damaged and dying trees from the forest.

Firewood is also a locally sourced fuel, and is similar to those who are environmentally responsible and choose food grown within a reasonable radius of where they live.  Like firewood, locally grown food is environmentally responsible and contributes to greenhouse gas reduction.  On the other hand, oil and gas is transported often halfway around the world to get to us as fuel.


Not only is wood that is sourced locally environmentally friendly, so is the use of modern wood stoves.  Gone are the days of old open fireplaces and pot-belly stoves.  The advanced stoves and fireplaces today extract the maximum heat from the wood into the home and send as little as possible up the chimney.  This results in cleaner air, more heat and less wood for you to supply as an energy source.  The most advanced stoves today emit only between 2 to 4 grams of pollution per hour compared to the older “air tight” stoves of a few years ago which would send 40 grams or so into the environment each hour.

 

Yes, Wood Heating is Carbon Neutral, in fact in net carbon contribution it is one of the lowest contributor of any of our modern fuel sources.  Net contributions take into account not only the burning of the fuel, but in the production and transportation of it as well.

Firewood is a renewable resource!  Solar, wind and hydro-electricity is also considered renewable, as the resources are not depleted. Firewood from a managed forest is also a renewable energy resource as the woodlot is sustainable for generations into the future.  In fact most firewood used today is produced from old, damaged or low-grade trees that would be otherwise unusable for any other purpose.  These trees are harvested as part of ongoing forest management under the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources program, and is a tax benefit to the landowner for managing their woodlot.  As many are unsuitable for other use, they would simply otherwise go to waste, by using for firewood, not only are we using a clean energy source but are using one that is carbon neutral.

In a managed forest, the younger and healthier trees grow more quickly and absorb more CO2 than the one removed. Science has provided a means to selectively harvest firewood from the woodlot that will actually improve the quality of a woodlot over many generations, while it continues to provide a renewable fuel that can be used to displace fossil fuels.

There is no other energy source that brings family together like wood burning.  The reality is that the harvesting, carrying, splitting, and stacking of firewood is hard work, but it can also be a cherished annual ritual that brings family members together. Today there are too many activities that draw us apart, and we loose contact. Firewood tends to do the opposite and bring us closer.

A Chimney and Fireplace Can Add Value to Your Home

When selling your home a fireplace and chimney might not always be at the top of your check list, however, if in good working condition can add appeal and value to your home.

In fact in some parts of the country, a fireplace is considered to be expected.  In fact across America the National Association of Realtors has reported that a fireplace can add up to $12,000 to the value of your home.

encourage you to have your fireplace and the flue regularly checked by a WETT Certified Chimney Sweep.

A Clean Chimney Can Help Prevent House Fires

There are millions of dollars damage done each year across North America with the tens of thousands of chimney related house fires.  Many of these with a few precautions or better understanding of stove use could have been prevented.  A small chimney fire can spread into a much larger and more devastating house fires in a matter of minutes. if they are not noticed or taken care of.

Have You Had A Date Recently With Your Chimney Sweep?

Sitting in front of your roaring fire in a wood-burning stove?  How confident are you that your chimney is not going to catch afire?

Fact is the longer you wait between dates with your Chimney Sweep, the greater the risk you take with your family and home.  Every year there are several thousand Chimney Fires in Canada.  Some Chimney Fires can spread and cause serious damage, and many of these could have been prevented.

Realistically the likelihood of a chimney fire is significantly reduced if your flue is not covered in a layer of soot, and you are not overdue on your visit and checkup by your local WETT Certified Chimney Sweep.  Often times you think about making an appointment, but just never get around to it. If you do experience a chimney fire, the sound of the roaring noise generated as the fire attempts to suck in more and more air will most certainly terrify you.  The speed at which the fire can begin and grow is utterly amazing if you have not experienced before.

 

When speaking with a local fire department, we were told that ‘‘Getting your chimney swept once or twice a year is like servicing a car – it’s very important,’’   Would you neglect service to your automobile?

There are other factors which can make servicing your chimney more regularly necessary, which can include using green wood (not dry enough – wood should be no more than 20% moisture content), burning materials other than wood (garbage, construction wood waste, etc) and a few other factors.

Regardless, if you have not had your chimney inspected and cleaned recently; call your WETT Certified Chimney Sweep TODAY.

Home Inspections

I work closely with a few Home Inspectors and have taken all the necessary Home Inspection training myself.  In fact I have completed the same education as the best Home Inspectors in the industry.  And although I love it, I just loved the chimney work better and returned to it full time.

I have also taken the necessary training to be certified on Mould and Radon and Indoor Air Quality.  Giving me a huge advantage on how homes operate as a system over the average Chimney Sweep.  Yes – the Chimney Sweep who became a Master Home Inspector.. and rather unique twist.

But – my real passion was back with the wood energy – hence I have returned to it.  But I do have my credentials to indicate I did put in the time, sweat and tears to get to the Home Inspection side.

Although I am not really involved any longer, I do know some of the best Inspectors in the industry.  Yes, those who are in the or were in the industry do know perhaps better than anybody else who the REALLY GOOD ones are.  Do you want the BEST.. I can send you to them.  If you need a WETT Inspection with your Home Inspection, we can take care of that with ONLY ONE CALL.  The Best WETT Inspection & BEST Home Inspection at the same time.  Really it does make sense for wood appliances to have a specialist do the job.

Wood Stoves – Why Do You Need One & Why Should You Want One

Have you been contemplating a wood burning stove?  Wondering if it is right for you and if it fits into your lifestyle?

There are some valid reasons people purchase wood stoves, lets look at a few below.

Cost Savings

Perhaps one of the most common reasons is simply money, saving money.  Wood heat is lower cost per btu than most other energy forms, especially electricity.  In fact if you have access to wood, as many in Midland and Penetanguishene area do, it may be very low cost of sometimes even free.  Some even reduce costs by having their wood stove space here in a central area, and keep it warm but let other parts of the home remain cooler.  This used to be the normal way to live, we have gotten away from this practice with forced air heating systems which heat everything and frankly heating areas we do not use is simply a waste of energy, waste of earth resources and a waste of money.  In fact the way many of use heat our homes is a big contributor to green house gases, simply because not only is the natural gas a contributor but the way we use it only makes it worse.

Today’s modern wood stove are high efficiency systems, approaching the same efficiency as many oil or gas burning systems, and they work well at maintaining low particle emissions as well – the major concern in the past with wood burning systems causing pollution.

Maximize Comfort!

Many have ultra modern high efficiency gas fired forced air furnaces, and high tech thermostats.  Leading edge in energy conservation, and they are slightly ahead of the best wood stove systems no doubt.  But they are often not comfortable.  Part of a heating systems job is to keep us comfortable!  The fact that a wood stove uses radiant heat, the same as the sun, makes it really difficult for any other system to compete in the way of comfort. The radiant heat of a wood stove truly warms in a way that hot air systems can’t.

A Green Energy Solution

Realistically if anybody has truly studied the net greenhouse gas emission of wood burning compared to other fossil fuels then this needs no explanation.  Studies have concluded that oil and gas are both higher contributors to net greenhouse gas than wood heat, on average. If you have your own woodlot and cut your own wood then you are likely much below average!

There is also the positive impact of having heat without any power, yes when electricity goes off the wood still heats your home.  This is something that not many other heating systems can claim.

But if you use wood keep safe, call at least annually for an inspection and chimney sweep.  Find a WETT Certified Chimney Sweep or WETT Certified Advanced Chimney Sweep!

And to finish it off, many systems today are amazing in appearance.  They just look great in a living area, and only get better with a fire flickering in the firebox.