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Magic Sweep Blog

What Does the Magic Sweep Process Look Like

Have you recently scheduled your chimney services for 2019? Maybe you’re not sure what to expect. Maybe you’re not convinced this is necessary. Whatever you’re thinking, we’ve thought about it. Our staff at Magic Sweep are homeowners–not just that, but we’re fireplace owners! We know how nerve-wracking it can be to have people coming in and out of our homes, and to work on something that we don’t see. However nerve-wracking, it is necessary, and we hope we can help.

Count on Magic SweepThe Magic Sweep chimney cleaning process

Once you schedule your chimney sweep, we’ll provide you with a window of time in which our technician will show up for the service. Our certified chimney sweeps will arrive on time and in a company vehicle that is clearly marked with the Magic Sweep name. We strive to schedule at the most convenient time for you and provide expert and professional services every time. We’ll keep your home clean, and keep you aware of the process every step of the way.

What to Expect in a Chimney Sweep

Before your chimney sweep, it’s necessary to stop the use of the fireplace or appliance 24 hours before the appointment. This keeps our chimney sweeps safe and allows for complete services. We will start the appointment by using drop cloths and tarps to protect the floors and nearby furniture. We’ll also cover the inside of the fireplace and use an industrial HEPA filtered vacuum unit to contain all the soot and dust that we’ll stir up during cleaning.

The job isn’t finished until we scrape the firebox with tools and brushes and clean the inside spaces with poles, brushes, and scrapers. These tools and our technique allows for cleaning away the soot and creosote, without damaging the flue or masonry.

What to Expect in a Chimney Inspection

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends annual chimney inspections, and this is also required by most home insurance policies. Before your inspection, you can expect the same type of prep as the chimney sweep, as most chimney inspections include a sweep (and most sweeps include a level 1 inspection). The main difference in the actual process is that we will spend more time assessing the chimney, possibly even opening basement or attic doors in order to visually see the chimney. We will also use a video surveillance system to gain access to the most out-of-site portions of the system. If you’re interested to learn about the different levels of inspections and what they include, check out the descriptions on CSIA’s website.

What to Expect for Repairs

When we recommend repairs, you can expect prompt action. We do not leave damage unrepaired and will work with our customers to get the work done to prevent further damage and safety risks. When you schedule a repair with us, you can expect all of our work to be within federal and municipal safety codes. We use the best and most dependable products and most up-to-date techniques. When you choose a company that stays on top of continued education and industry advancements, you can expect the best service.

Count on Magic Sweep for all your routine chimney services and repairs, and you will be safe and warm this winter and year round. Save money, prevent damage, expect the best, choose Magic Sweep.

Call us at 757-523-2400 or request an appointment online.

What to Expect During a Chimney Sweep

There are homeowners across the country who do not schedule professional services simply because they do not want strangers in their house and don’t know what to expect if they do. Others neglect necessary maintenance thinking it a waste of time and money. Nothing could be further from the truth when chimneys are concerned. Routine maintenance is paramount when it comes to a safe and efficient chimney. Schedule your inspection now, and rest assured your system is ready for another burn season.

CSIA InspectionsWhat to expect during a chimney sweeping.

When it comes to chimney inspections, you get what you pay for. A home inspection may include an overall assessment of chimney soundness, but unless completed by a professional, it will not be worthwhile. CSIA inspections are completed by a CSIA certified chimney sweep and include an assessment of the system from top to bottom. There are 3 levels of inspection, and unless there is a problem with your system or changes made, you only need a level one. This standard inspection is often included in a standard chimney sweep and includes all readily accessible portions of the chimney, including the exterior masonry.

What to Expect During Level Two or Three

While a level one inspection covers all the readily accessible portions of the system, a level two includes all the accessible portions through doors, panels, and in attics and basements. A level two is required when there have been problems, repairs, or installations with the chimney system, when the fuel type is changed, or when a natural occurrence such as a tornado or fire affects the system. A level two inspection is also required when property is sold or transferred. It includes a video scan which provides a detailed look at the entire interior portion of the system. Using a video scan, a chimney professional can provide a detailed report so that hazards are identified and repaired swiftly.
During a level three inspection, your chimney professional may need to remove components of the chimney structure or house to gain access to the hazard. This may include removing the crown, masonry, or even walls to access and repair the suspected hazard.

When you schedule an inspection with Magic Sweep you count on professional services every time. A certified and trained technician will arrive at your home at the appointed time and set up at the fireplace opening for the assessment. You’ll need to clear out space around the hearth in order to make room for the technician and any supplies required. Your sweep will bring with him drop cloths to protect the floor, brushes to clean the system, and a high-powered vacuuming system to contain the mess. You don’t have to worry about the house getting messy in the process! Our goal is to assess only and clean up our mess before we go.

What you can expect after a chimney sweep is that your chimney system will be ready for burn season. It will work more efficiently after being cleaned, and you can rest assured that it is safe for use for one more year.

Call Magic Sweep at 757-523-2400 or request an appointment online to get started today.

Decorate Your Mantel For the Holidays

The fireplace mantel is a focal point in most home decor. Many families take family photos in front of the fireplace, and the mantel is decorated and beautiful for the occasion. Nothing adds to your holiday experience quite like a crackling fire and a beautiful hearth.

Fireplace Face Lift

You can make sure your mantel looks the best it can when you upgrade a tired fireplace. Our Magic Sweep masons are able to fix small cosmetic issues with your hearth, or reface the whole thing completely with the brick or stone of your choice. This is a great way to finish off a remodel and have a matching mantel to go with your holiday decor as well!

Choose Your Mantel

You do not have to keep the mantel that came with your house. You don’t have to continue to use a mantel that you aren’t happy with. Maybe you don’t have a mantel at all! Magic Sweep can help you out. Our technicians can remove or cover an unsightly mantel, or build one from scratch that compliments your fireplace and your personality, even to custom specifications.

Installing a New Fireplace

You might have the mantel you want, but your fireplace is old, rusted, or worn out in general. You can raise your fireplace’s safety and efficiency by choosing an insert that fits right into your existing fireplace. Choose an option that complements your existing mantel, and your entire hearth will have a new look–and save you money in the long run!

Inserts and stoves are more efficient than traditional open fireplaces and will save you money year-round.

Clean Fireplace for Family Gatherings

Your mantel is part of a larger system that should be kept clean and functional. You can make sure your fireplace is photo-ready when your family gets together by scheduling a routine chimney sweep. A clean chimney means a hotter, more efficient fire, less smoke, and more fun. Schedule a chimney sweep if you haven’t had one in the last year, and don’t worry about dirt, debris, and creosote messing up your holidays.

Safe Holiday Decorating

When you are decorating your mantel for the holidays, hanging stockings and more, make sure that you are being safe. Stand your Christmas tree far enough away from the hearth that it will not reach the fire even if it falls. Do not hang stockings or decorations while the fire is lit. Make sure they are removable for when the fire is burning. Secure garland with staples or hooks so that it will not fall into the fire. When it comes to your chimney, you may not be able to attach hooks to it. Ask a Magic Sweep chimney expert before attaching hooks or hanging decorations onto your masonry chimney. Check out this message for more holiday safety tips.

The holidays are a great time for your family to gather around a beautiful and warm fireplace. Do not let your time be ruined by an unsafe hearth and don’t let your pictures be ruined by an unsightly mantel. Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400 and ask a hearth expert how to make your mantel look its best this season.

Be Sure to Ask Your Chimney Sweep These Questions

Here are questions you should be asking anyone that works on your chimney. It will help you to make sure the people working on your chimney are qualified and reputable.

6 Questions to Ask Your Chimney Pro - Chesapeake VA

All About Creosote and Its Dangers

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you most likely have creosote deposits in your chimney right now. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), creosote occurs naturally during the wood-burning process, and when it builds up in your chimney on its walls, it creates a dangerous fire hazard as creosote is a highly combustible compound. For this reason, your chimney needs to be swept at least annually by a company like Magic Sweep with CSIA-certified chimney sweeps to remove creosote accumulation to prevent a chimney fire in your home. We would like to tell you more about creosote and how the expert chimney sweeps at Magic Sweep remove the built-up creosote deposits from your chimney.

Creosote Deposits - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep

This image is courtesy of Dennis Lamb of Mad Hatter Chimney Service in Indianapolis IN.

How does creosote form?

When wood burns, it gives off by-products of combustion such as smoke, gases, vapors, unburned wood particles, tar fog, and hydrocarbon that your chimney needs to expel from your home as they can be hazardous to breathe. When these substances flow through the cooler, upper part of your chimney, condensation happens, and that is when creosote forms as a residue that sticks to the walls of your chimney.

What does creosote look like?

Creosote can take on different appearances. Whether it is black or brown in color, hard and shiny, gummy and sticky, or flaky and crusty, creosote is dangerous no matter what it looks like.

How does accumulations of creosote cause chimney fires?

A highly combustible material, creosote can build up into large enough amounts that can easily ignite if the internal flue temperature is high enough.

What kind of conditions encourage the development of creosote?

According to the CSIA, restricted air flow, unseasoned firewood, and cooler than normal chimney temperatures all give an optimum atmosphere for creosote to accumulate. Always be sure your damper and glass fireplace doors are opened when you are burning a fire to allow the heated smoke to exit your chimney more rapidly. Always use seasoned firewood as burning unseasoned wood wastes so much energy burning off the water hidden in the wood cells and creates a cooler smoke. You want the smoke that leaves your chimney to be as hot as possible to keep the chimney temperatures warm.

How do you remove creosote from chimney walls?

There is an important reason the CSIA, the National Fire Prevention Association, and other fire safety groups recommend you have your chimney professionally swept annually: clean chimneys do not start chimney fires. The CSIA-certified chimney sweeps at Magic Sweep will perform a thorough cleaning that will ensure no creosote deposits are left behind.

If you have not arranged your annual chimney sweeping this year, contact Magic Sweep to schedule an appointment to have the creosote deposits removed by our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps. Keep your chimney safe from fires with this simple maintenance step.