Frequently Asked Questions
Why don't my kids listen to me?
Sorry, but we can't help you with that. Ours don't listen either!
Why do you want to sweep my oil flue? I think my furnace technician does that.
It is not likely the technician sweeps the flue because it's not their area of expertise. A good oil technician will alert you to possible problems & clean the smoke pipe that runs from the furnace to the flue thimble, but many also do not. The best way to be sure your oil flue is functioning properly is having it inspected on a yearly basis as the National Fire Protection Association advises, by a CSIA Certified Chimney Venting Professional. If you want be sure, call your oil company and ask them if they sweep the flue to the top of the chimney.
Why does my gas flue need sweeping? I thought gas burns clean.
This is a common misconception. Gas does not usually leave visible soot behind unless there is a problem with the heating appliance malfunctioning. It does leave behind an acidic residue on the flue that needs to be removed to avoid the acid eating into and deteriorating the flue. Again, a yearly inspection of the flue will alert the homeowner if this process is taking place and damaging the flue.
Why does a sweep seem so expensive?
Charges for services are determined by the cost of doing business in the area. Labor costs, materials, time spent travelling to and from jobs, gas for vehicles and maintenance of equipment all figure into the price of various services. One of the biggest costs is liability and Worker's Compensation insurance. Remaining licensed, certified, and current on education are also factored into the costs to remain in business & provide service to our customers. In terms of service provided, we are not just cleaning the flues. Falmouth Chimney Sweep is also inspecting them for safety of use and inspecting the structure as well to make sure that is sound. We are documenting problems and providing solutions. This process requires trained and certified professionals.
Why do I have to wait so long for an appointment in the fall?
If you call for service in the fall you are calling at the busiest time of year. It's just the time of year when everyone thinks of it. We feel the BEST time for sweeping and inspections are in the spring when you are done burning for the season and won't be using the heat for several months. We can sweep and inspect and if there are any concerns plenty of time and good weather is available to take care of the problem. If all is well, you're ready when it gets cold again. Scheduling is much easier in the spring and summer than it is in the fall or winter. A plus: you won't smell creosote from the flue during the humid months. Another plus: We are able to offer more discounts in the less busy part of the year. See our Specials page.
What is that noise in my chimney? Is it an animal?
If you don't have a cap on your chimney then it probably IS an animal. Squirrels nest at the top of chimney flues, often falling down inside. Frequently they die in the fall, but if not you will likely hear scratching. Chirping noises in spring indicate raccoon babies & their mother living on the fireplace smoke shelf. Current Massachusetts law requires anyone trapping and removing animals from a chimney to either release them on the property where they can re-infest the chimney or euthanize them. To avoid this outcome for both animals and owners we highly recommend a chimney cap. Other critters we have found in chimneys include: ducks, songbirds, seagulls, bats, fish dropped in by ospreys nesting on top, and a cat. So again, chimney caps, highly recommended.
How can I be sure I really need the liner recommended for my chimney?
This is an area of home maintenance where scammer companies abound. The best way to know you are getting good advice is to employ a reputable chimney service company with CSIA Certified technicians. For example, our technicians will take pictures of your chimney flue when performing the inspection. Those pictures will be forwarded to you with your reline proposal and the company owner is always more than happy to go over any recommended repair work with customers. Ask your technician to show you the pictures on the digital camera when he takes them. We plan enough time for appointments so our techs can explain what they find to you. Our CSIA Certified sweeps must adhere to a code of ethics put forth by the organization as a condition of certification.
How do I know if a chimney company is a scammer?
The biggest indicators of these bogus companies are: cold calling customers, being instantly available, and super low pricing. Reputable companies don't need to cold call customers or employ telemarketers. They are too busy working on chimneys for that. If a chimney company calls you and says they can come right away, they are out fishing for an opportunity to get in your door and find something wrong. Lowball pricing is another way to get into your house. Just like cheap turkeys in the grocery store at Thanksgiving, low pricing for a sweep is a method to get you on the hook for more expensive extras such as unnecessary relines and chimney work down the road. Check the average price in your area by calling other sweeps and you will have your answer on pricing scams. Know what licensing actually refers to in your state and always ask for certification and license numbers and follow up by verifying them. A reputable company will be ready and willing to tell you how to verify their certifications and licensing credentials and furnish copies of insurance certificates. Get several estimates for any recommended work so you have a sense of what REALLY needs repair. Those are the best ways to weed out scammers and send them packing.