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Don’t Delay! Have Your Chimney Swept Now to Beat the Fall Rush!

Despite what you may think about summer, it may be the best time to think about your chimney system. In fact, summer is the best time to have chimney work done! This includes installations, conversions, repairs, and routine maintenance. Your chimney requires certain preventive services in order to continue to work safely and efficiently year after year. Your chimney should be swept–and when you schedule during the summer, you beat the fall rush.Chimney Swept Before the Fall Rush - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

The Fall Rush

The period that occurs every year between October and January is called the fall rush. This is the time that chimney professionals are busy with emergency calls, repairs, and installations. If you wait until fall to schedule your chimney sweep, you may not get the desired appointment time, the technician you want, or even the company you trust. If it comes to waiting for an appointment time, many homeowners may even take the risk and use a fireplace that hasn’t been swept or inspected. This can put the family at risk and create bad habits that cause damage to the system. Schedule now, and avoid the fall rush altogether.

Why Schedule a Sweep

Chimney sweeps are one of two very important appointments that continuously keep your chimney system working for you. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), routine chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections keep the chimney system safe and efficient year after year. Fortunately, many chimney sweep companies offer a chimney sweep that includes an inspection. Hudson Chimney offers chimney sweeps that include overall assessments year-round, and we encourage our customers to schedule during the summer.

What to Expect

When you schedule a chimney sweep with Hudson Chimney, you are guaranteed the best courtesy and care to accompany your chimney work. Our first priority is the safety of our customers in and around Jacksonville. We hope to accomplish this task, first, by offering the best services, and then by treating each job with professional courtesy and expertise.

We start by tarping the area in front of the fireplace and a high-speed vacuuming system that collects the soot from entering your living space or affecting your carpet and floor. Once ready, we use brushes and rods, hand brushes, and a vacuum to clean soot and creosote from top to bottom. The damper will be cleaned and checked for correct installation. The exterior masonry is checked, with close attention to mortar, brickwork, and crown. Your technician will document all findings and present you with photos and video footage along with a written evaluation. This inspection is for your records and should be kept in case you need it for homeowners insurance for a sale, or even for an appraisal or refinance. Most of all, when you schedule a chimney sweep, you can rest assured that your chimney system is ready for the first fire this fall.

If you’re ready to schedule your chimney sweep, and you own a home or business in the Jacksonville area, Hudson Chimney is here for you.

Call 904-282-4159 or contact us online.

How to Pick a Chimney Company You Trust

When it comes to chimney safety, the whole industry is incredibly under-regulated. This is not only a danger to residential areas but also a misfortune for buyers. Even though the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) was established in the 1980s and quickly became the national standard for chimney safety, homeowners are still not very knowledgeable about fireplace and chimney standards and safety regulations. The truth is not all chimney companies are the same and neither are all chimney sweeps.

Why You Should Never D-I-Y

When it comes to your chimney system, it is never a good idea to fix the issues on your own. You wouldn’t build your own transmission or build your own house, you should never repair your own chimney either. This task should only be handled by a professional. They know how to clean it properly without damaging the liner or other parts. They can recognize minor damages before they become major ones. And they are full of chimney-related knowledge because they have had plenty of classroom training and field training along with re-certification.

The CSIA Difference

When a chimney sweep is CSIA-certified, you can fully trust them to take care of your chimney. In order to be CSIA-certified, they must:

  • Study residential fire codes and chimney sweeping
  • Attend a review day in person or online
  • Pass an one-hour, 100 question exam
  • Pass a 90-minute exam on residential code
  • Sign a CSIA Code of Ethics to protect consumers and to help prevent scams in the industry. If a member is found in violation of the code of ethics, their membership could be revoked.
  • Must go back to be re-certified every 3 years by credits or exams

It takes lots of time and money to become CSIA certified. This certifications is vital to help consumers decide whether a chimney sweep is an amateur or a professional. Some other ways to figure out if you can trust the chimney company you choose include memberships such as National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) and manufacturer certifications, such as the National Fireplace Institute.

Take the time to do your own research, read online reviews, and check out each of their credentials. When you do make an appointment, make sure you are comfortable with every person you’ve spoken with at the company. You should schedule an appointment with the industry’s best–a company with excellent reviews, training, certifications, expertise, and more – choose Hudson Chimney! Call us at 904-282-4159 or contact us online.

Hudson Chimney: Now a CSIA Certified Master Sweep!

Hudson Chimney is proud to announce that Mark Hudson, owner and operator, is now a CSIA Master Sweep! This is a designation that is awarded to CSIA certified professionals who have gone above and beyond what’s required to maintain CSIA membership. They make efforts to stay ahead of others in the chimney and venting industry. How? By educating the public and putting consumer safety above all else.

Hudson Chimney Now a CSIA Certified Master Sweep Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyTo become a CSIA Master Sweep, a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) must maintain membership for a minimum of ten continuous years and be actively certified as a CSIA Certified Exhaust Technician®​. In addition to these certifications, the chimney sweep must complete many advanced courses to further their education and training in the chimney industry.

The Importance of Choosing the Best

When you are searching for a chimney professional, you shouldn’t look further than the best. The CSIA Master Sweep is an individual who puts consumer safety above all else. There are some chimney professionals in the industry who may go their entire careers without becoming a certified chimney sweep or master sweep. They may boast of cheaper prices, but their service reflects their lack of training and expertise. Master Sweeps, in order to maintain CSIA certification for ten consecutive years, have chosen to continue their training and commitment to chimney safety year after year.

CSIA Membership Requirements

  • Code of Ethics
    CSIA certified sweeps must adhere to a stringent code of ethics. This is designed to protect homeowners from scams in the service industry. What if a sweep is found in violation of this code? Their certification may be revoked, despite fees paid and training completed.
  • Continued Education
    Every three years a CSIA certified sweep is subject to re-certification by either continuing education credits or by examination. This is a vital component of maintaining a high standard for CSIA memberships. Why? The chimney industry changes frequently as technologies change.

Does it Cost More to Hire a Professional?

It will cost more to hire a professional to maintain your chimney than it will to hire an amateur. A chimney sweep that lacks the education, experience, and commitment that it takes to maintain CSIA standards is not worth your money! Additionally, it may cost you more in the long run. Hudson Chimney is committed to chimney safety and your safety. We have been serving Jacksonville, FL and surrounding areas since 1979. That’s almost 40 years of service to this community!

Since 1979, we have continuously gone above and beyond our competition. We stay abreast of all the latest tools, trends, and major/minor code changes in the chimney industry. This is done by attending every class and conference available. It has paid off. Now our loyal customers in Northeastern Florida can benefit from our commitment to chimney safety even more, as all of our work is backed by the Master Sweep CSIA credential.

You can schedule an appointment with a Hudson Chimney sweep today by calling 904-282-4159 or request an appointment online!

A Home Inspector is Not a Chimney Inspector

If you are familiar with real estate, mortgage brokers, or state and municipal codes, you may be familiar with home inspectors. The are NOT to be confused with a chimney inspector. Expecting a home inspector to properly assess the complex workings of the chimney system? That’s like expecting a sport’s car expert to inspect an RV. They are similar, yes. They have some of the same features, yes. However, there is a lot more to the RV than the car. Likewise, there is a lot more to a chimney than meets the eye.

A Home Inspector is Not a Chimney Inspector Image - Jacksonville FL- Hudson ChimneyThe CSIA Difference

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has been the industry standard for training, education, and certification since the 1980’s. Members are required to undergo aggressive training and field hours. They also have to re-certify every three years by way of exam or continued education.

Only a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps® (CCS) has the experience and expertise to inspect the entire chimney system properly. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) along with CSIA recommends annual chimney inspections. There are three levels of inspections:

  • Level One
    This is the annual inspection. It’s scheduled when no changes are made to the chimney system. This inspection is a visual check of all easily accessible parts of the chimney system.
  • Level Two
    This inspection should be scheduled when the chimney system is changed in any way. For example, when fuel is changed, appliances are installed, or there has been parts repair or replacement. This will happen when a level one inspection requires further investigation. It involves accessing hidden portions of the chimney system.
  • Level Three
    This is the most thorough inspection. It’s scheduled when a level two inspection requires further investigation. During a level three inspection parts of the home can be removed. This allows access to all parts of the chimney system. These include areas surrounding the chimney system, like in attics, crawl spaces, and behind walls.

Why These Levels of Inspection are Important

The three levels of chimney inspections include any issue that might arise with the chimney. Even the level one inspection is more thorough than that of a home inspector. According to Total Home Inspection the home inspector will assess the visible parts of the chimney. These include the flashing, masonry, and chimney cap. However, a home inspector or general contractor does not have the trained eye that a certified chimney sweep does. By the time a chimney reaches the level of damage that an inspector checklist describes, (damaged brick, cracked joints, staining) it could be overwhelming. Regardless, there is more than likely extensive damage that would have been noticed first by a certified chimney sweep.

Legal Documentation

Scheduling an inspection of your chimney may be for real estate sales, property ownership transfer, or an insurance policy. No matter the reason, you want to be sure your documentation will be accepted. Hudson Chimney not only offers inspection services. We offer video documentation of the interior of the chimney, as well as a detailed report for your records. The CCS credential is what your insurance, loan, or real estate broker will look for. Choose a certified chimney sweep every time.

Call Hudson Chimney and ask about our inspection services today or request an appointment online!

What Causes a Leaky Chimney?

Do you have a masonry chimney? If you do, you may already know that the likelihood of having a leaky chimney can be quite high. Why are masonry chimneys so likely to experience water leaks? The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) answers this question by stating that water is the biggest enemy of a masonry chimney. Every component of your chimney can possibly suffer expensive and extensive damage when water penetrates into your chimney. Stained ceilings or walls, loose bricks and chipped mortar on the exterior of your chimney, and musty or moldy odors coming from your fireplace are all signs of a leaky chimney. If you have seen any of these signs, it is crucial to contact a professional chimney company like Hudson Chimney to locate the source of the leak and make repairs so that your fireplace and chimney system can function safely and properly. But, what exactly can lead to a leaky chimney? We would like to tell you four problems that allow water to easily penetrate your chimney.

chimney-leak-image-jacksonville-fl-hudson-chimney

1. DAMAGED OR MISSING CHIMNEY CAPS

Chimney caps are your least expensive preventive measures against water penetration because they cover the top of your chimney. Freezing temperatures and destructive animals trying to get into your chimney can cause cracks and other damage your chimney cap. When your chimney cap is damaged (or even worse, missing completely), water from rain and melted snow can easily get into the masonry work of the interior of your chimney. Hudson Chimney offers a wide variety of chimney caps, and our certified technicians can install a custom-fitted cap to protect your chimney from water leaks.

2. DETERIORATED CHIMNEY CROWNS

Located directly beneath the chimney cap, a chimney crown is constructed from concrete and used to seal the opening of your chimney. Unfortunately, your crown could be made from the wrong or ineffective material, or it could be improperly installed. In these situations, damage and deterioration will occur sooner than later, and you will have an opening to your chimney where water can easily enter. The masons at Hudson Chimney can repair damaged chimney crowns as well as correctly install custom-made crowns to keep the water out of your chimney.

3. DAMAGED FLASHING

Flashing is sheeting made from metal that is placed between your chimney and your roof to protect this area from water leaks. Easily improperly installed, not every chimney company will the time to customize the flashing itself for a perfect fit. Our technicians will customize flashing by carefully measuring each part of your chimney and its surrounding areas on your roof so that it fits exactly and leaves no holes or cracks, which allow water penetration of your chimney.

4. WORN OUT MORTAR JOINTS

Water deteriorates the essential mortar joints that hold your chimney together and creates holes and cracks within the masonry. In the winter, water trapped in your chimney freezes and thaws, which leads to the bricks breaking and crumbling, and this will cause even more water leak problems. Fortunately, Hudson Chimney can do masonry repairs using the tuck pointing process. Once we have completed these repairs, we can apply a waterproofing treatment that will ensure that your masonry work in your chimney is protected from any water leaks in the future.

Dealing with a leaky chimney? Contact Hudson Chimney to schedule a visit from one of our certified masons to fix your water penetration problems.

Using CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps

When looking for a chimney sweep to entrust with the task of cleaning and inspecting your chimney, you may wonder how you are supposed to distinguish a good chimney sweep from a bad one. After all, you want to hire a professional who knows what he or she is doing and who can help you to protect your home from the dangers that owning a chimney can present. The Chimney Safety Institute of America is a non-profit organization that reviews and certifies chimney sweep companies in order to provide homeowners with a standard for their chimney needs.

CSIA-certified-sweep-jacksonville-fl-hudson-chimney

To be CSIA certified, a chimney technician must attend a review session and pass an exam covering Successful Chimney Sweeping (2011), National Fire Protection Agency 211 (2013), and the 2006 International Residential Code. Anyone applying for certification must also sign the CSIA code of ethics and pay an annual fee. In order to remain certified, this process must be repeated by the technician every three years.

These procedures for certification create a method for homeowners to determine if a chimney sweep is qualified to clean and inspect a chimney in a professional and informed manner. Chimneys and appliances can cause fires and carbon monoxide leaks if not properly maintained. Therefore, making sure your chimney sweep knows what he or she is doing in addition to being dedicated to helping you detect and fix potential problems is of the utmost importance.

It is significant to note that the CSIA not only seeks to educate and evaluate technicians, but also to provide an ethical code for professionals to follow. When technicians sign this code, they pledge to conduct business in an honest and fair manner, as well as to remain knowledgeable and up to date on all chimney standards and procedures. They also agree to do their best to educate you, the consumer, and to act in a professional and respectful manner.

Hudson Chimney is certified by the CSIA, so you can be sure that you will be in good hands. The technicians at Hudson Chimney have been servicing the Jacksonville, Florida Area for over thirty years, ensuring their clients clean, safe, and warm homes with efficient heating systems. You can trust the professionals at Hudson Chimney to be knowledgeable in their skills and to provide you and your appliances with service of the highest quality.

If you have any questions about CSIA certification or policies, or if you have any questions about chimneys and appliances as a homeowner, be sure to check out CSIA.org for more information. Their website is an informative and reliable resource of educational material for your benefit.

Also, if your chimney has not been serviced this year yet, schedule an appointment with a technician at Hudson Chimney as soon as possible. The fall and winter are busy for any chimney servicing company, and the sooner you call, the more likely your home will be prepared for the colder winter months. The professionals at Hudson Chimney will make sure your chimney is prepared!

5 Tips for Homeowners — Chimney Maintenance

There are few things more pleasurable than coming in from the cold and building a roaring fire. In order to fully enjoy your fireplace, it is important to keep in mind the maintenance that keeps you safe and warm. Hiring a certified chimney sweep to inspect your heating system once a year is critical. This will remove the worries from your mind. After all, you have enough worries!

Crackling Fire - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

Crackling Fire – Jacksonville FL – Hudson Chimney

Why shell out hard-earned money to hire a sweep? There are many reasons; but they mainly are the same reasons you’d take a car that wasn’t running properly to a mechanic. By the time there is a problem with your car, it is sometimes more costly and can endanger your safety. Sweeps, like mechanics can see things you don’t notice. And a set of professional eyes on your chimney may see smaller problems before they become costly repairs. Some of the things your sweep will be looking for are:

  • “Puffy” or “honey combed” creosote
  • Distorted metal of the damper, metal smoke chamber connector pipe or factory-built metal chimney
  • Cracked or malformed flue tiles.
  • Discolored and/or damaged rain cap
  • Heat-damaged TV antenna attached to the chimney
  • Creosote flecks and pieces on the roof or ground
  • Roofing material broken from hot creosote
  • Fissures in exterior masonry
  • Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry.

 

Here are 5 tips for how to best keep your system safe and efficient:

  • Have a certified chimney sweep or city-paid building inspector look at your whole system.
  • Have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected.
  • Do everything you can to prevent water from entering the system. Water can cause damage to the structural integrity of your chimney and increase the odds of a chimney fire.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open and if you smell an odor, this could indicate a blockage in your chimney or excess creosote.
  • Learn as much as you can about creosote. This is a good place to start. And the Chimney Safety Institute of America also provides a great deal of useful information for homeowners.

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