Cre-Away Creosote Modifier

Cre-Away is a product applied by professional chimney sweeps in assisting the removal of creosote glazing.  It is not used by all sweeps as some neither have the equipment nor the training for proper application.  Some may even say it is not needed or does not work, but generally that is because they do not have the means to apply and are simply attempting to steer you toward something they do offer.  There is one other product on the market similar to Cre-Away but is applied the same way.

While the product works and works well, it is not an inexpensive product to buy and apply.  Cre-Away is a four part power product that is sprayed into the chimney and activated with heat.  The product will safely modify glazed creosote making it easy to sweep clean.  The Cre-Away will also neutralize the slightly acid creosote making it less corrosive and it also has a component to make the creosote less flammable.  The product is designed to also reduce or eliminate odours from the creosote.  Finally the magnesium component breaks down the glazed creosote.  Cre-Away is effective in all types of creosote, reducing odours from creosote, reduces corrosion and makes it easier to clean the chimney.

Call today and have a Certified Advanced Chimney Sweep help you.

Inspection Duck Bay Road

An inspection last week on Duck Bay Road near Waubaushene.  Found a couple of small items on the wood burning system that needed some attention, however overall the system was in good condition and installed to meet code.

However, interestingly enough the customer mentioned that it had been looked at by two other companies.  One from Orillia who had found it to be installed properly with no problems (they did miss one clearance item which was clearly marked on a certification label).  The other local company apparently said that it was all installed wrong and had to be completely torn out.  How does one go from one extreme with one company to the other with another?  This particular company had even given them a quote on replacing the entire system.A serious gap there for sure.  Well there was a clearance problem for sure, not bad but the stove pipe (flue pipe) had a small section which was about one instance too close to combustible materials.   Not something that could not be fixed.   I even ran the chimney camera up the entire chimney and performed a Level 2 inspection to ensure there was not something I had overlooked.

All I can say is if any company says your stove is in need of replacement, they may be correct and they may be simply trying to sell you a new system. Many do not understand wood burning systems and often feel they have no choice but to change the system and pay the cost, or perhaps give up their wood burning system.  All I can suggest is get a second opinion, preferably from somebody who does not sell stoves themselves and therefore has nothing to gain either way.  Yes it is important to protect yourself and family but it is also necessary to ensure you are not simply spending hard earned money for no reason.

If you want a second opinion then call today.

Fireplace Cleaning Mount St Louis

Cleaned and inspected a fireplace yesterday in the Warminster / Mount St Louis area.  Nice fireplace and nothing wrong with it functionally.  However it did need cleaning.

This fireplace apparently had been cleaned by another local company in the past but not for a year.   So after inspection we cleaned fireplace and chimney and all went well.   Until at least we cleaned the ash dump.  The ash dump had never been cleaned at all, there was almost four feet of ash in it!  We pulled out six garbage bags and filled the RoVac vacuum three times with ash.

So one then begins to wonder how well a job was done in cleaning this system, or others for that matter?  Not knowing who cleaned it, really makes it hard to know.  But keep in mind that not all chimney sweeps clean everything, in fact few really do a complete job of cleaning everything.  Sadly, most seem to clean the chimney, grab the money and run.   It is not about making a lot of money on each job, it is about honesty, integrity and customer satisfaction – in fact exceeding expectations on each job!   I do each and every job as if it were my own chimney and settle for nothing but the best.

Call us today to get the job done right!

Installation Severn Falls

A nice wood stove in a cottage on the river in the Severn Falls area.  Severn Falls Installed with Selkirk chimney and pipe.   Stove is a J.A.Roby wood stove, manufactured in Quebec.  The J.A.Roby company also makes some nice kitchen cookstoves for those interested, and I have installed a few of those as well.  As a side note the other nice kitchen cookstove I have installed is the Margin Gem.  If you are interested in kitchen wood burning cookstoves look at either of those.  For this one, a low slope roof with stainless steel chimney.  The chimney actually has a black trim on the lower part, covering the stainless steel and giving a “finished” appearance to the entire run.  The top of the stove pipe has a trim ring to cover the screws and crimp area on end of pipe, again giving the finished look.  I have seen a lot of installations in the area where these trim features are simply left off, why?  It provides that polished look.  If you are thinking of a woodstove or chimney installation then give us a call today or request online here.

New chimney builds

Some homes use wood burning systems for their primary heat and some use even wood burning furnaces!

We can install either and work closely with other professionals in the area to ensure you get the very best installation possible.

This particular one is a Napoleon wood burning furnace, we are working with another company to assist with duct work, HRV, wiring, etc.  While we manage the chimney and assurance all is installed in a code compliant manner.

Call today with your wood burning needs or book online.

Beautiful view of Lake Joseph

Yes we do chimney and wood burning system cleanings in the Lake Joseph area and beyond.

Port Carling, Port Sanfield, Minett and many other areas surrounding this.

Now this particular image is not all of Lake Joseph but also includes a view of deck and chimney.

If you need help with wood burning system then give us a call.  With two WETT Certified technicians on most jobs we can perform an efficient cleaning and inspection for you.

Call today or request a booking online here.

View of Georgian Bay in the Sans Souci Island area.

There is nothing like working on Georgian Bay on a wonderful sunny day!   This is looking westward from the deck of a cottage on a rock in the Sans Souci Island area.  Performed a WETT Inspection on two factory build fireplaces in the cottage, and a cleaning on each as well.  They hardly needed cleaning at all, but they are changing insurance companies and I wanted to ensure we could honestly tell the company they chimneys had been cleaned and not simply an opinion.  I also took camera over for an inspection of the liners.  Why the camera?  Why not I ask.  It takes only a few minutes to give that “Peace of Mind” to the customer and really it is about honesty and integrity.  No I don’t charge extra to inspect with the camera, it is part of the job and part of doing what is right.  No I did not charge them for two sweeps.. in fact not even one.  They did not need it, but it is better to say it was done and done properly versus an opinion it does not need to be done.  It is again about honesty and integrity and doing what is right for the customer.  If you have a cottage in the Sans Souci Island area, Parry Sound, Port Carling .. or anywhere south of there to Midland, Penetanguishene or Orillia.. then give us a call and book an appointment and get the PEACE OF MIND you deserve.

Do You Need A New Stove?

I have had some customers ask if they needed a new stove.  Apparently some other sweeps in attempting to upsell have told them their stove was “worn out”.  Well in each case the stove was not rusty, nothing was broken, no refractory bricks missing, baffle in place, door gasket was almost new.  No they did not need a new stove, the person was simply attempting to make a sale.  Yes the stove was an older model, yes there are far better and more efficient stoves available today and yes it would be a good idea for them to upgrade.. but do not tell them their stove is worn out.  There are many older stoves in use today that are still in good condition and installed in a fully code compliant way.   Here is one in photo.. is it good or not?

Is that system installed correctly?

Is your wood burning system installed correctly?

Well it has worked for 25 years with no problem you say!!

Well that is not what I actually asked, is it to code?   Well it has been installed for 25 years you say again!!

Well there are many systems which were homeowner installed and simply not done right!  Often times used with no problems until a code inspection is required by their insurance company.  Yes a WETT inspection is a code inspection.

What are common problems?

Well one is the stove being too close to the wall.   Often a heat shield will remedy the problem and make the system code compliant for that problem.  Many times the data plate on rear shows clearances, and if a certified appliance it always will.  It is surprising how many times the homeowner will ask if something has changed making this necessary, however simply showing them a photograph of the data plate which is on the stove and which has been there since the stove was manufactured will clarify that it simply was not installed properly.

Another which is a bit more tricky is a corner install where the stove was never certified for a corner install.  I had one in Tiny Township installed by the manufacturer themselves, which was corner installed and not certified.  I called the manufacturer, a local one, who said they had spoken with the certification lab and received measurements (which were apparently the same as the rear distance).  The problem was that even this clearance was not met in the installation!!  An interesting problem for the customer.

Yet another is the lack of adequate ember pad in the front of wood stove.  Which can often be fixed, although not without some additional cost.

Or if a fireplace insert the hearth extension is almost never adequate.. and even some older fireplaces do not meet hearth extension requirements.

Ceiling height may be another, and may be because of a raised floor area, angled ceiling at wall or simply a low ceiling.  It is fairly safe to say if you have an 8 foot ceiling over the entire stove you are okay with height above stove – and a 7 foot ceiling for certified stoves.  ( assuming of course ceiling is flat to wall in all directions)

However above ceiling height, being okay for stove, may not have clearances for stove pipes!   Especially if single wall pipe, but also I have seen double wall which were too close to the wall in some cases.

Another one is chimneys in second floor which are not enclosed, chimneys not adequate height above roof surface or chimney clearances to combustibles.

Fireplaces can have damper problems, as mentioned hearth extension problems, clearances to combustible mantle or trim, refractory bricks, chimney tiles, etc.

Stove pipes are often missing fasteners at joints, may be installed upside down, have too many elbows or be too long a run for single wall pipe.    Stove pipes may be rusted and have even holes through them (obvious by tiny rust spots generally).

Stoves may be missing firebricks completely.

Flashing may be incorrectly installed, missing storm collar or have missing or bad caulking.

The list is long and Interestingly every one of the items listed have been found in stoves or fireplaces in the Midland, Orillia and Wasaga Beach area!!

Worse.  Many of these have been found where a WETT Inspection had been done already and I was there to perform a cleaning!

The missing fasteners, missing firebricks and holes in stove pipe was an Orillia cleaning – Home Inspector had inspected stove and stated it was okay.

A defective flue pipe which would not seal and allowed smoke to enter premise was a call from Penetanguishene resident – home had been inspected by Home Inspector and found to be okay.

A system with a totally outdated and unacceptable chimney was in Port McNicoll – I did not clean and did not charge customer.  Home Inspector had said it was fine but needed cleaning.  Was an old factory built fireplace with galvanized chimney system.

One in Thunder Beach which Home Inspector had said chimney needed some masonry work – but was only maintenance – was correct on that part but entire fireplace needed work – damper was broken and smoke chamber had serious work needed as well (camera pointed out defects to customer).

Several across Tiny, Tay, Orillia, Muskoka — chimney is too short and does not meet code.  This can sometimes be an easy fix with an added section, other times much more work.

Get peace of mind – have your system performed by somebody who can do a Level 2 inspection and will clean at same time if needed.  ( a level 2 inspection will always include a chimney camera as part of the job )

Chimney Installation

Sometimes chimneys simply need to be replaced.   Sometimes too old and no longer acceptable materials.  Sometimes needs to be raised and parts are no longer available.  There are a few reasons, but when it is being  done you want somebody who is WETT Certified to do the work!

This particular one was water access, but we do work on islands, rivers, lakes or mainland.  If you need help with your chimney we can help.

Galvanized Chimney

This particular one had some surprises when opened up!!  When shingles and flashing were removed the chimney was within 1/4 inch of the woodend roof deck on each side.. the hole was less than half an inch wider than chimney diameter!!  Chimneys need a minimum of two inches on all sides to combustibles.  The ceiling support was no better.  So job became a little bigger than expected, but that happens.  The important thing was the work was complete properly and customer is satisfied.