Had To Use Creosote Remover Today

Yes, sometimes to get to the bottom of the glazed creosote requires help and that is where a professional grade creosote remover comes in.  Thankfully not something that is necessary a lot but when it is.. it is.

Going to be a cool night – a few wood fires burning out there already I expect.  Be sure to stay safe – burn good seasoned wood and have your chimney swept by Certified Chimney Sweep on regular basis.

Replacement of Refractory Bricks in Fireplace Insert – Tiny Beaches Road

Sometimes the refractory bricks don’t need to be change; in fact most often they don’t.  Occasionally however you do need to do the job; and sometimes you need to cut the bricks to fit into the stove or insert.

This is when having the proper tools to do the job comes in handy!  The proper saw with a diamond blade will cut the bricks smoothly, quickly and easily.

Always good to hire a Chimney Sweep who is trained and has the skill, experience and knowledge.  Hire a Certified Chimney Sweep!

Time To Get Ready For Winter

Yes winter is on its way – we have had nice weather for the past few weeks and unseasonal warm days.  But don’t worry – it will catch up to us!  Hopefully you have taken advantage of some of those days to get ready for winter, if not you still have time.  We will have some rainy cool days, but you can do some during that time and others in the nicer days between.

Don’t forget to clean your gutters – maybe even professionally cleaned.  Ensure they are working and doing their job properly.  What does a professional cleaning cost – it will depend a lot on size of home, access, etc.  I actually cleaned gutters on a cottage on the Severn River the other day while I was up inspecting and cleaning chimney.. as a favour to owner.

Get your chimney cleaned – hire a professional Certified Chimney Sweep!  The reports indicate a leading factor in home fires is failure to clean the chimney!  It is also wise to have it inspected by a Certified Chimney Sweep – or a WETT Certified Comprehensive Inspector.   A clean chimney will be a more efficient chimney and also help to prevent creosote fires and will reduce potential of carbon monoxide filling your home.

Seal the air leaks – true you won’t necessarily get them all yourself without special equipment to detect them – but you can get a lot!  This can in fact be an ongoing task through the winter – on windy days you can more easily find some leaks you missed.  This is one of the lowest cost and highest return on energy cost savings you may have at your disposal!

Have your furnace checked over – be it gas, oil or wood – there are professionals to help!  I do wood and pellet furnace cleaning and inspections weekly this time of year.  A well maintained furnace is an efficient furnace.

Check your trees over – this is something you can do yourself and may be in fact recommended.  In north Simcoe there are a lot of tree companies who will condemn any tree simply to try and make more money!  A study actually indicated that 60% of trees cut did not need to be removed!  If you hire a company look for an ISA Certified Arborist and a ISA Qualified Risk Assessor – a Certified Arborist is NOT trained to determine if a tree is a risk – and while they will provide their opinion it is nothing more than an opinion.  Look for dead and dying limbs – wind can bring them down – look for leaning trees and ensure they are well supported.  Ensure trees are away from home and any electrical wires serving your home.

Check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms – when time change comes change the batteries and be safe.

Certified Air Tightness Tester

What does a Certified Air Tightness Tester do, know and why does it matter.  Air Tightness certifications are provided in Canada by CRESNET – the Canadian equivalent of RESNET.  The purpose of CRESNET is to provide proper and effective energy audits and apply a proper HERS Index.

As I work closely with Home Energy systems and heating – knowing more about the whole building envelope is an important part of the job and how it can impact the solid fuel burning appliance and the occupants of the home.

If you are burning a wood stove, wood furnace, fireplace or insert – they all need air (oxygen) – the same as we do.  If they have no outdoor air supply they will attempt to use the air available to them in the home.  New fireplaces built to code will have external air supply – many new wood stoves, pellet stoves, etc. also have the provisions for external air supply to the fire.  The importance of this in a tight home can not be overlooked, not only is the oxygen the fire needs supplied – the potential of a downdraft is also eliminated.

Be smart; be safe!  Hire somebody certified to do the work!  Oh and yes I did get my Air Tightness Certification!


How to best clean a clay tile lined fireplace flue in a masonry chimney?

What’s the most effective way to sweep and remove the creosote from a clay tile lined fireplace flue in a masonry chimney?

Honestly there is no single and no easy answer.  There are many different creosote types encountered and some require slightly different techniques.  The advancement of tools in the industry helps a lot and there are other factors as well such as rooftop or chimney access.  Bottom line if there is more than 2mm of creosote – it should be cleaned.

Historically the way to clean was from the top working down using either round or flat wire brushes; this can be effective when there is a powdery creosote buildup or even a thin layer of glaze present.

However, due to technology the rotary sweeping method from bottom up using nylon or poly rods attached to a drill has become quite effective and popular.  These also are very effective at removing the powdery creosote buildups as well as thin layers of creosote glaze – they can actually be more effective than the older brush method – although the older brush method does give a feel when using which is beneficial in a masonry chimney and lost in the power sweep.

However, if the creosote glaze becomes thick and is not flaky, then it can be very difficult to remove with traditional methods from either the top or the bottom.   Chains can be used – however this method often will damage the flue liner – and should be used with caution – especially true if the liner is old and in not great condition.  Chemicals can also be used to assist in removal of the glaze creosote buildups.  Some of these are designed to be used with fireplace/insert/woodstove in use – these often work well to help in reducing buildup but caution should be used if there is already significant creosote deposits present in the flue.  Having a fire in the appliance with large buildup is asking for a chimney fire!  There are products we can use when the appliance is not in use – but it has to remain in place for a time to effectively loosen the creosote and does become an expensive job.  It can however be very effective at loosening the hard deposits from the flue surface.

It is also important to note that most chimney sweeps also now have very sophisticated and expensive chimney cameras; capable of looking closely at the chimney walls from inside.  This can be done before the sweep to examine how and where the flue gases flow,  based upon buildup, or after the sweep is performed to closely examine for cracking in tiles.

Inspecting during the sweep is important and should be done by an professional Certified Chimney Sweep.  Which is why a proper Chimney Sweep is not going to be performed in less than an hour in most cases.  You should always hire a Certified Chimney Sweep or Certified Advanced Chimney Sweep.

Sunrise on Georgian Bay

Yes sunrise!  Out sweeping chimneys on islands at sunrise.  Was beautiful weather and a beautiful photo opportunity.

Fall makes the trees so beautiful and the warm weather makes work so enjoyable, although I don’t expect the warm weather to last much longer.  Will be dressing a little warmer in a week or two when out on water doing Chimney Sweeping !

Yes cottage chimneys do need sweeping – some more often than others – a with any other wood burning system it depends on who is using it, how often and what they burn.

However, if you have property on a Georgian Bay Island – don’t forget your sweep!  Or even if you do not have anything on islands, sweeping is still just as important!  Don’t forget and risk a chimney fire.

Hire ONLY a WETT Certified Chimney Sweep!

Burning Potato Peels To Save Sweeping Chimney

Does burning potato peels save sweeping chimney?  Some do it; and some have done it for years.  Claiming they don’t need to clean chimney if they burn potatoes?

Does it work – is it true?

Well there are more than enough articles on the internet on this one, all it takes is a bit of research and the truth will turn up.

Fact is no.  It will not – does not – and never did work.  In fact with the new EPA stoves – especially the Catalyst stoves – I am not sure it is a great idea at all.  Not sure what it might do to the Catalyst device.

At any rate – back to the topic at hand.  The very best it might do is dry out and make Type 3 Creosote – the hard black, shiny creosote more dry and flaky – more easy to clean.  But it DOES NOT – NEVER DID – and NEVER WILL actually clean a chimney.  The old timers who do it will never be convinced otherwise in some cases; but sorry to say there is more than ample research that has been done in this area to disprove this old wives tale and myth.

When You Get A WETT Inspection Will The Inspector Show You How To Use System

Does your WETT Inspector show you how to use your wood burning system; do they actually know how it functions and what makes it work best?  Did they recommend a Chimney Sweep or do they even know if or when one should be done?  ( I know of at least one case where an inspector said the owner did not need a sweep – and they called an actual sweep for a second opinion – good idea!  It was not me they called, but I heard about it – apparently the chimney was well overdue and may not have been cleaned for two or three years!)

Sadly – many of the entry level Inspectors don’t .. they do not own a word burning system themselves in many cases and did not grow up with one .. the do not service, maintain or clean them.  Often times they may even miss parts of the inspection or do it incorrectly!  Why?  Well simply because they have not been trained to do anything beyond the most basic inspection which is intended to be used for assurance the system is still what it was installed as (the inspection after installation or change – or during a real estate transaction requires a more extensive inspection).

But it is always good to hire an inspector that actually knows what a wood burning system is – how to install and repair one as well as clean and maintain one.  Look for a Certified Chimney Sweep as the first option .. and protect yourself.


Hiring A Chimney Sweep – What To Look For – Ten Things You Might Consider

Beware of any phone calls from Chimney Sweeps offering to clean your chimney regardless of price!  There are many who claim to be Chimney Sweeps and are NOT Certified Sweeps – have no education or training – no insurance – and put you at RISK!  Their goal is to take your money for a service that they have no skills to perform.  Often times these people who claim to know what they are doing will then point out expensive chimney repairs that are needed, for safety sake!  They may even try horrendous scare tactics!  It is best to choose carefully and look for WETT Certified Chimney Sweeps or WETT Certified Advanced Chimney Sweeps.   Keep in mind this is for your safety; and peace of mind; if your chimney is not maintained properly it can become a serious fire hazard.

  • Chimney Sweeping is an Unregulated Industry

Despite the face that chimney safety is important there are no requirements to be Certified.  The good news is that Certifications do exist; and you can use the WETT database to find a WETT Certified Chimney Sweep or WETT Certified Advanced Chimney Sweep.

  • Check for Membership with WETT and the NCSG

All Canadian Certified Chimney Sweeps MUST be a member of WETT and you will find them in the WETT database.  Some will also be members of the American counterpart; the National Chimney Sweep Guild.


  • Check for an Individual’s WETT Certification

As mentioned above the minimum nationally recognized standard for a professional chimney sweep in Canada is attained through WETT Inc – and the WETT Chimney Sweep certification is one of the more advanced certifications in Canada on the study of wood burning appliances.  Ask the Chimney Sweep if they are WETT Certified as Sweeps (some may have a Basic certification – and NOT the Chimney Sweep Certification – so beware).  WETT has a Certified Chimney Sweep and Certified Advanced Chimney Sweep Certification.  Verify here.

  •  Check a Chimney Sweep’s Identification

Every WETT Member will carry an ID card – which will have their WETT InspectorPhotograph, the year the Card is valid (it is reissued each year), their Unique WETT # and their Certifications (which will say Chimney Sweep or Advanced Chimney Sweep if they are in fact Chimney Sweeps).  It should look similar to this one.

  • Verify Insurance Coverage

Another good test of whether a chimney sweep company has experience and longevity in the industry is if they have liability insurance coverage.  A chimney sweep company with insurance can protect you against damages which could occur during their visit.  It is very unlikely that any damage will occur; however if it does and the company has no insurance then you are the one who pays the bill!

  • Check References Chimney Referrals

Any good Chimney Sweep will have references; and I have lots of them all over. There are many online you can simply look at – Google or other sources have references of legitimate and reliable Chimney Sweeps in the local area.

  • 7-Hiring the Right Chimney Sweep is a Safety Issue

Sometimes it is not all about price; although it is about value for the dollar.  A good Chimney Sweep should cost around $150 to $200 based upon looking at various websites in the Central Ontario listings – from Grey/Bruce County across to Haliburton area.  Some might be a bit more but should not be much higher.

  • Expect Prompt Service

Good Chimney professionals will be on time; and generally will call if running late.  Sometimes a job does take longer than we expected and I can get backed up half an hour or more really fast.  I do leave time between each appoint to help as a buffer zone, but sometimes not enough.

  • Expect Professionalism 

Reputable chimney professionals usually wear identifying company clothing.  It may have the WETT logo on the clothing somewhere as well.  There should be zero mess left behind when they leave, the Chimney Sweep should be helpful in answering any and all questions about yoiur system.

  • Be Alert to Telephone Scams

Good Chimney Sweep companies DO NOT call and solicit their services, PERIOD.  Keep in mind that an annual chimney cleaning is the best way to ensure that your chimney system is safe to use.

Give us a call for chimney services if you live the Midland or Penetanguishene area and be assured you are choosing a Certified Advanced Chimney Sweep to help you.

Georgian Bay Island Chimney Sweeping

On a beautiful fall day.  Love the islands and the beautiful weather makes it so much nicer.  Beautiful fall days on the Georgian Bay Islands – Cleaning Chimneys and Inspecting wood burning systems.

You might have a wood stove, a fireplace, a fireplace insert or a zero-clearance fireplace.  Matters not they all need some tender loving care; maintenance, inspection and cleaning by a Certified Chimney Sweep.

Chimney Fires can and do happen, even in seasonal homes, and are much more devastating on the islands as really there is no fire department who can assist at all.  Furthermore there is the risk of trees surrounding virtually every one of them.  Be safe; sleep at night; get peace of mind.  Call a Certified Chimney Sweep today.