FAQ

October 29, 2012 Bricks

FAQ’s :

Q. You are a chimney and masonry company. Do you offer masonry services that are not relevant to chimneys?
A. Absolutely, we are a full service masonry contractor and perform virtually every aspect of Brick, Block or Stone construction repair or restoration.

Q.  I am concerned/have questions in regards to your experience/qualifications. How can you set my mind at ease?
A. We have 30+ yrs experience in the chimney & masonry industries. Please see our about us, testimonials and services pages to learn more about why Hearthside is your preferred choice.

Q.  What payment methods do you accept?
A.  We currently accept all major credit cards, personal checks & cash. *There is a $35.00 fee incurred for all returned checks*

Q.   We have a good deal of masonry damage e.g cracked/broken bricks and damaged/missing mortar and are concerned about the replacement material “sticking out like a sore thumb.”  Can you match our existing style/colors?
A.   Having been in the masonry industry for 30+ yrs , we have an eye for detail. We work very closely with every major building supply company in the Tri-State area to obtain the best brick or stone match possible. We also have over 90 mortar colors to choose from. Rest assured, if we can’t match your existing masonry to an acceptable degree, no one can.

Q.   I am very concerned about a mess being left in my home as a result of your chimney sweep service. Can you guarantee me this will not be an issue?
A.   We can assure you 100% that you have nothing to worry about as far as a mess or debris in your home. We are professionals and take every  precaution to ensure your home and your property are protected from damage while servicing your chimney/fireplace. Please see our “No Mess Guarantee” statement on our “About Us” page. 

Q.   We have had a bad experience with a previous contractor beginning our project and then not returning for several days at a time, leaving us with a mess. Unused tools, equipment and debris were laying around our home/job site for what seemed like forever before finally finishing the job. What will you do different?
A.     When you give us the opportunity to earn your business, we are very appreciative. We convey that appreciation by exceeding your expectations, through excellent work completed in a timely manner. We do not do”spot work” and weather permitting will see your project through every business day from start to finish.

Q.   Why have my chimney swept/inspected? What do you seek to accomplish during this service and what should i expect?
A.    The primary reasons to have your chimney swept/inspected are 1) To help ensure safe and efficient operation of your wood burning fireplace or appliance by reducing creosote accumulation. 2) It is imperative that you have your chimney/fireplace or appliance inspected for safety issues and any structural concerns. Other reasons include reducing odors and improving draft. Although there are some aesthetic benefits from having a chimney swept, the focus of creosote reduction is on safety and function.
Sometimes mislabeled “chimney cleanings,” a functional, “in use” fireplace will never be “clean.” Although we do carry a line of chemical/citrus products that remove staining, removal of black marks from fireplace doors etc and creosote staining is not part of a chimney sweep service.

Q.   What is creosote?
A.   Creosote is the highly combustible by-product of incomplete combustion of wood or fossil fuels. Creosote condenses throughout your smoke chamber and chimney flue/pipe as it cools taking one of the following forms.

Stage 1:  Commonly referred to as “soot” this is the typical powdered or “velvety” substance.
Stage 2:  This type of creosote is crunchy or porous in nature and is often and indicator that you have already experienced a chimney fire where stage 3 creosote has ignited.
Stage 3:   This form of creosote is shiny, slick and “tar like” in nature and is extremely flammable. It is caused by multiple wet layers of creosote forming on top of one another and is often the result of an underlying issue(s) relevant to the way your fireplace or appliance is being  operated or the design/installation itself. Sage 3 creosote or “chimney glazing” cannot be removed during a typical chimney sweep as it has a compressive strength stronger than brick and cannot be removed with brushes or manual tools its current form. Please see “Stage 3 creosote removal/deglazing.”

Q.   How do you remove Stage 3 creosote/chimney glazing?
A. During a chimney sweep/inspection service, should we discover Stage 3 creosote/glazing to be present in your chimney, we will provide you with photographic documentation and discuss an abatement plan. This form of creosote has a higher compressive strength than brick and often your clay flue tiles themselves. Therefore, it cannot be removed  manually without damaging or destroying your flue, which is a very expensive and integral component of your chimney system. If someone tells you they will remove Stage 3 creosote from your chimney manually, with chains etc, ask them how they can guarantee you that your flue/smoke chamber will not be damaged in the process.
The answer is they simply cannot. This is why we take an extremely effective/structurally safe chemical  approach to Stage 3 creosote removal. This service is quoted/performed on a case by case basis, as we can customize an abatement plan based on the severity of your situation.

Q.  We are experiencing smoke/draft problems….Can you help??
A.  Absolutely. There are a multitude of factors that can contribute to an inefficient fireplace draft. The only way to determine your particular issue(s) is to schedule a professional chimney inspection.

Q.  I am having difficulty with my fireplace damper e.g stuck open/closed, off track. Can you help?
A. We most certainly can. Fireplace throat dampers are terribly inefficient energy wise and are often a headache to effectively operate. Although, not included in a sweep or inspection service, we can often offer a damper “re-tracking” or repair service. However, the most effective resolution to obsolete throat dampers is often to replace them with a top-mounting energy efficient damper. These dampers will also pay for themselves over time due to their energy saving properties and are much easier to operate.

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