THE BLACK MAGIC DIFFERENCE
Attention to Detail
In our industry, the standard service is a chimney sweep and “Level I inspection.” This service generally takes half an hour to forty-five minutes. As your friendly Neighborhood Sweeps, we believe that your chimney deserves a closer look. For this reason, our standard is the more thorough Level II inspection. We find what other sweeps miss.
We Know That You Have Questions and Concerns About Your Chimney. We Take Time For You.
We set aside 2 hours for your service call so that your service is never rushed and our technicians can discuss the health of your chimney with you. The other guys schedule 45 minutes or maybe an hour. They’re eager to get to that next appointment. your service is never rushed and our technicians can discuss the health of your chimney with you. The other guys schedule 45 minutes or maybe an hour. They’re eager to get to that next appointment. We’re eager to answer all of your questions. We’re eager to answer all of your questions.
We’re Nationally Certified and We Know What We’re Doing
Our sweeps are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Their mission is “to foster public awareness of issues relating to chimney and venting performance and safety, and to promote the education of associated professionals through technical training and certification opportunities..” We align with CSIA values and we’re constantly educating our staff in order to keep up with evolving safety regulations, service techniques, and federal fire code.
Do you do chimney sweeps without inspections?
On occasion, someone will call us and ask to do a sweep without an inspection. It may seem like a good way to trim down costs, but when you factor in the potential risks (and expense!) of not inspecting, this makes no sense at all. We get a fair number of customer requests for things that don’t make sense, but we have to be professional and perform our work according to the National Fire Protection Code (NFPA 211). This code recommends that all chimneys get inspected every year and swept as needed. That is precisely what we do. Once we are done, all customers get a written inspection report with our findings and services performed.
How much do you charge for a sweep?
This is probably the most asked question. The easy answer is “probably not enough.” When we bought the business we honored the past owners’ rates and we’ve only increased the sweep charge slightly over the last few years. We intend to stay right in the middle of the market. Some sweeps will charge more and some will charge less. We want you to feel so enthusiastic about our service that you spread the word and we hope our pricing is always fair in your view. Our sweeping system is set up to help our customers prepare for the harsh winter and use of their heating appliances by offering discounts for doing sweeping work in the slow season. Our staff will always welcome inquiries from new customers and we will gladly offer the discounts when we can. However, we do have to charge a premium for the busy season. This is in part due to the additional costs and in part to help our customers stay on track and do the service before it might be needed in the busy Fall and Winter months.
The Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association recommends having your insert and venting system inspected annually and serviced by a CSIA certified chimney professional. Certified professionals will make sure the appliance is installed properly per the code and manufacturer’s recommendations. Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association recommends having your insert and venting system inspected annually and serviced by a CSIA certified chimney professional. Certified professionals will make sure the appliance is installed properly per the code and manufacturer’s recommendations. Here are some questions we’re often asked:
In other cases, the unit may require a different level of chimney inspection (NFPA 211 lists 3 levels of inspection). It is possible that the unit may not need to be swept in one of those cases as well but most of the time we do need to sweep first.
You will NEVER find us covering up something that you need to know about.
This is a serious business and reputation matter. Only the most ethical, honest sweeps will have long careers in this business. We would never sacrifice the quality of service for short term gains.
It used to be that the scope of work involved in chimney inspection, stove inspection or fireplace inspection was left to the discretion of the individual chimney service technician. Fireplace and chimney professionals now have a national industry standard that eliminates much of that “discretion.” There is a standard way to go about inspections and any sweep worth his or her salt will be able to fully explain that standard to you.
The NFPA now classifies all inspections as Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3. Here is what each level of inspection means and what services your chimney and fireplace professional should provide for each level. For additional information view the CSIA’s breakdown of Chimney Inspections.
Level 1 Inspection
If your fireplace, stove or chimney hasn’t changed and you plan to use your system as you have in the past, then a Level 1 inspection is required.
- Examine the readily accessible* portions of the chimney exterior
- Examine the readily accessible portions of the chimney interior
- Examine the accessible** portions of the stove or fireplace and the chimney connection
- Your professional inspector will see if your chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits (such as creosote) and will also evaluate the basic soundness of the chimney structure and flue as well as the basic fireplace or stove installation and connections.
Level 2 Inspection
A Level 2 inspection is required when any changes are made to your fireplace, stove or chimney system. Changes may include:
- A change in fuel type
- Changes to the shape, size or material of the flue (such as chimney relining)
- Replacement or addition of a stove or fireplace of a different type
- Replacement or addition of a stove or fireplace of a different input rating or efficiency
A Level 2 inspection is also required:
- Upon sale or transfer of a property
- After an operational malfunction of your stove or fireplace (such as a chimney fire)
- After an external event that may have caused damage to the chimney (such as building fires, earthquakes or severe weather)
- A Level 2 inspection more thorough and detailed than a Level 1 inspection. A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus inspection of the accessible portions of your chimney interior and chimney exterior. It also includes inspection of basements, crawl spaces and attics adjacent to your stove or fireplace and chimney, with attention to proper clearances from combustible materials in accessible locations.
A Level 2 inspection requires no demolition and requires no specialty tools to open doors, panels or coverings. A Level 2 inspection may include visual or video inspection of the internal joints and surfaces of chimney flue liners, as long as it is not necessary to remove or destroy any permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish.
Level 3 Inspection
Level 3 inspection is required when a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection suggests a hidden hazard which cannot be evaluated without using special tools or demolition to access concealed areas of the chimney or flue. When serious hazards are suspected, a Level 3 inspection may be the only way to determine the condition of the chimney system.
A Level 3 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 and a Level 2 inspection, and in addition assesses both the condition and the proper construction of the concealed portions of your chimney structure and flue. A Level 3 inspection may require removal of certain components of the building or chimney (such as your chimney crown or interior chimney wall) for access to the concealed areas that must be inspected.
* Readily Accessible: Exposed, or capable of being exposed, for operation, inspection, maintenance or repair without the use of tools to open or remove doors, panels or coverings.
** Accessible: May require the use of commonly available tools to remove doors, panels or coverings, but will not damage the chimney or building structure or finish.