Frequently Asked Questions
Not as Frequently Asked
Q-How much do you charge?
A-Check out the Chimneys Services Page for price menu.
Q- When can you come?
A- Depends on the time of year and on how much demand there is for our services at the moment. September through December is the busy season, expect to set up an appointment in advance. Off season appointments between March through June can be more immediate, unless we are taking a well deserved break!
Q-Where do you provide service?
A-Our area covers from Peachland to Winfield and up to Joe Rich. We occasionally go up to Big White and down Westside Rd in the off season.
Q-Are your people WETT Certified? What does that mean?
A-Yes, absolutely, we are fully Certified through WETT, or Wood Energy Technology Transfer of Canada. WETT is the only recognized certification and education body in this industry in Canada. That is, recognized by insurance companies and the government of Canada as being properly trained and experienced. WETT requires a minimum number of hours in the field be completed (80 weeks, full time in the solid fuel industry) as well as training courses to be completed before they will certify someone. The loss of work income and expense of the courses is borne by the individual. At this point in time, it is not mandatory in our industry to be trained or certified. It is a voluntary program we have chosen to be a part of in order to help our industry become more regulated and accountable.
Q-What does my insurance company mean when they say I need a "WETT Inspection"?
A- It's a bit misleading - it has nothing to do with water, that's for sure! A WETT Inspection is an evaluation of your existing wood burning system, and a comparison of it against the most recent Building Code, Fire Code, and Solid Fuel Appliance and Equipment Installation Code. So, a WETT trained Inspector will visually assess the existing installation, and determine whether or not it is compliant with current Codes. That is what gives the system a pass or a fail - whether or not it is "Code compliant".
Q-Why does every chimney sweeping company seem to have a different price for a basic sweep?
A-Because every chimney sweeping company is providing a different service. There is really no regulation of this industry, and consequently, "professional chimney sweeps" can be anyone from a fly-by-night with a magnetic sign on the side of his truck and an old electrolux vacuum, to a truly experienced and skilled tradesman with specialized tools and equipment. I can't say how anyone else in the valley comes up with their pricing, but we have determined our prices based on our time, expenses (which includes carrying full Commercial General Liability and Errors and Omissions Insurance), and the fact that we wish to continue on in this business year after year. We want our customers to have a sweep for life - not a sweep who rips them off. We offer a thorough, expert service, and we care about your safety. If your primary concern is safe wood heat, then we are the right company for you.
Q- How often does a chimney need cleaning?
A- Every homeowner has different burning habits, so every system is different. Technically, the BC Fire Code requires that every wood burning system be "inspected annually, and cleaned as often as necessary". Most home insurance companies follow the BC Fire Code requirements. For our customers, we do a very thorough cleaning and evaluation the first visit, and one season after that we return to assess how often the system needs to be cleaned, based on the use and burning habits over one season. A general rule of thumb, with average use, would be once a year. We visit some of our customers twice a year, and some we only see once every three years.
Q-Why should I get my chimney cleaned in the spring?
A- This will identify any problems early enough to make decisions and repairs before the next heating season begins. We prefer to clean the chimney before moisture from rain can mix with the soot and creosote to form acids that eat away at the chimney structure. This also eliminates the sour, acrid odour that the fireplace can have over the summer. And of course, we are usually booked up for weeks in the fall, so if we can do a visit in our slower time of year, we can give you a discount!
Q-How do I stop my fireplace from smoking back into the room?
A- There's no easy answer to this one, unfortunately. Back drafting can be caused by many things, none of which are quickly remedied. The best idea is to have our technician troubleshoot the system and come up with some solutions.
Q-What should I do after I have a chimney fire?
A-Call a certified chimney professional to clean and assess the damage to the chimney. The chimney may need to be repaired or possibly relined to make it safe for further use.
Q-Why should I install a raincap/animal guard on my chimney?
A- Raincaps are important to keep out rain and moisture from penetrating the masonry, to keep all unwanted guests (birds, squirrels, raccoons, etc) out of the chimney, and to keep sparks from leaving the chimney and igniting nearby combustibles.
Q-What causes excessive creosote buildup?
A- There are many factors that can contribute to a nasty creosote buildup. Poor burning habits, such as burning wet or unseasoned wood, burning trash or coloured shiny papers, or severely damping the stove down to get a longer burn. An oversized or outdated stove, which would have been manufactured before the new emissions standards were in effect. A neglected flue, or one that is too big for the appliance it serves. And inexperienced installations, where the system is not running the way it was designed to. The good new is that all of the above issues have simple solutions.