Unfortunately, chimney repair is one of the most common contactor scams to be on the lookout for. Other common contractor scams include roof repair, driveway sealing, furnace repair, and storm-chasers offering to fix damage after a storm. While there are many “red flags” or warning signs, be especially aware of: “Contractors or Companies” that go door to door looking for business without credentials These people just “happen to be in the neighborhood” and are looking to sell you a product or service at a good rate. Accepts only cash or large deposits Check your state laws about what contractors can ask for. Bid comes in far below others It’s good practice to get a few quotes from different companies. Cannot provide references or referrals Look at company reviews and realistic time lines companies are promising. When looking at reviews, search public ones listed on places such as Google, Yelp, or Angi. Cannot provide a license or insurance proof Contractors and Companies should be able to provide you with a copy of insurance and their bushiness license number upon request. How to find a reputable contractor? Be sure to check with your local trade organizations for leads on a reputable company. You might try asking your friends and neighbors for recommendations. Find a contractor who is specialized in the work you need completed. This photo is a recent example of 1 of 2 chimneys that were incorrectly lined. The customer had a “company” come to their door offering to line both fireplace chimneys in just a few short hours. Unfortunately, this “company” relied on the home owner’s lack of knowledge and their trust in someone offering a service. What this photo shows is a improper liner, sized too small for the fireplace, and not properly installed in a fireplace with gas logs. These were found during a Level 2 inspection of the chimneys by our company. A liner should be sized to the appliance that is using that chimney flue. More information on chimney liners More information on Level 2...Read More
Do you ever see that distinct “flying cigar” silhouette? Or small birds that could be mistaken for bats during the day? Chances are you are looking at a chimney swift. These birds used to dwell in caves, cliff faces, and hollow trees, but with the design of chimneys in North America by European settlers, these little birds found the perfect home in chimneys. Their long claws make it suited to cling to the walls of chimneys or other vertical surfaces. The nests they build inside your chimney look like a half-saucer of loosely woven twigs stuck together and cemented to the walls of the chimney with the bird’s glue-like saliva. What can be done to stop these birds from nesting in your chimney? The key to keeping these birds out of the chimney is prevention. Chimneys without caps are the perfect opportunity for the birds to use as a place to build a nest. We suggest adding a cap to your chimney to not only help with deterring these birds from causing problems with venting your appliances, but they also help keep other birds and animals from making nests in your chimneys as well. Chimney caps also help with rain and debris. What if you hear chirping or rustling sounds inside your chimney? What if you know you have something nesting inside? If there are live animals/birds inside your chimney, be sure to first call an animal control specialist. They will be the most knowledgeable person to be able to safely remove any live animal(s) inside the chimney and talk with you about prevention. Next, you will want to get your chimney swept/inspected by a professional to make sure any debris has been cleared. If it is not cleared away, you could be left with a smoke spillage back into your house or that debris catching on fire. Lastly, you will want to prevent these birds and animals from taking up residence again. Be sure to get a chimney cap installed during or right after the first two steps. Because chimney swifts are a federally protected migratory bird, nothing can be done to remove them from your chimney once they are there (including their nests and/or eggs). Chimney sweeps, animal control, or yourself cannot relocate them under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, unless a federal permit is granted. The best thing to do is if you find swifts already in your chimney, is to wait them out. In Pennsylvania, the swifts start to migrate to our state in about April and nest until about October. Contact us at 717-846-9417 for more information or...Read More
Should you use chimney sweeping logs?
Spring is here and it is about time to start your spring cleaning. You might want to consider adding a chimney sweep to your list. Now is the perfect time to get that fireplace or wood stove flue swept out before the rush of the busy season in the fall and winter. You may have seen and heard about creosote logs, and perhaps have even heard that these will “clean the chimney” or even that you no longer need to sweep the chimney because they burn cleaner than wood. Neither of these statements are true, though. While some of these products might burn cleaner than wood, it does not mean they should take the place of your annual or semi annual chimney sweep. These creosote cleaning products contain additives that are released through the smoke and cling to creosote. This is done through a chemical reaction and may cause the creosote to become brittle, therefore making it easier to sweep the chimney flue. What is creosote and why is it dangerous? Creosote is a natural byproduct of wood combustion, consisting mainly of tar and other trace chemicals. It is highly flammable and often sticks to parts of a fireplace, stove pipe, and chimney. Creosote will never go away on its own, which is why you should sweep your chimney or hire a professional to do so on a regular basis. Build-up of this tar-based byproduct is easily flammable, which could result in a chimney fire. Should you use a creosote cleaning product? The purpose of these types of products (logs, spray, powder) is to help break up the creosote so that when a professional comes to sweep the chimney, it is easier to help remove the creosote. The Village Chimney Sweeps does sell a spray, called ACS (or Anti-Creosote Spray), that does the same thing as the popular creosote cleaning logs. Inquire in the showroom, a call to the office, or ask your technician for a bottle. Just be sure to give your local chimney sweep a call to get the flue swept as well. Contact us at 717-846-9417 for more information or...Read More
30% Wood and Pellet Heater Investment Tax Credit
***UPDATE*** Beginning in 2023, the biomass tax credit has been increased to a 30% tax credit and capped at $2,000 annually, based on the full cost (purchase and installation) of the new unit meeting a 75% (or higher) HHV rating as part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. See the updated information from the HBPA’s website. What is Biomass Fuel? These fuels are a sustainable heating option that converts wood byproducts into a usable energy. This creates heat when burned (thermal biomass), which is used to heat homes across the United States and other countries. How do I claim the tax credit? Be sure to keep any paperwork related to the purchase and installation of the stove, plus the manufacturer’s federal tax credit certificate. The tax credit is applied by the year the stove was installed into your home. If you have any further questions about claiming it when you file taxes, please reach out to a tax professional. As part of a pandemic relief package that was signed into law at the very end of December 2020, included a tax credit for wood and pellet heaters. Wood and Pellet stoves now qualify for a renewable energy investment credit. You can see the units we offer by visiting our products page. Consumers who purchase highly efficient wood or pellet stoves will be able to claim a 26% tax credit that is uncapped and based on the full cost (purchase and installation) of the unit. This credit is 26% through 2021 and 2022. It will be 22% in 2023. For more information, visit HPBA’s website regarding this tax credit. See the EPA’s website for a list of qualifying wood and pellet heaters (It must be listed at least 75% efficient per the higher heating value of the fuel.) Or, contact us at 717-846-9417 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or...Read More
Feature Installation Spotlight: RSF Opel
Sometimes when you have a vision, you want to see it through to the end to make it possible. We love working with customers to help those dreams and visions come true. Sometimes those journeys take a little longer than expected. Back in 2019 before we started a whole new world, Stephanie and Bill came to us with one such idea in mind. They wanted to turn their existing old fireplace into something that would be a focal point, something that would be eye-catching, something that would be so much more efficient keeping them toasty warm in the winter. We met with them and talked about what they had in mind during the next several weeks. This end product was going to be stunning. By January of 2020 Stephanie and Bill pretty much had all choices finalized (stone and mortar colors were picked, as well as the layout of the fireplace, the RSF Opel, and hearth). We all know what came next. Covid-19 put a lot of these plans on hold, making the order for the stone to be picked up with a few weeks lead time. By the time lock-down came around in our part of the country, a lot of jobs had to be pushed back and held up. Working with customers that are understanding in times such as those when a lot was uncertain, made this process smooth. In July of 2020, all materials were in hand and we started the tear out of the existing gas fireplace. Unfortunately during the process of taking the venting for that fireplace out of the prefabricated chimney, we found extensive water damage. We had to stop our portion of the work and call in a general contractor that was able to take care of water-damage that was found. They needed both inside and outside work to be completed on the chimney before we came in to do any sort of installation inside of it. Due to the re-working of everything, we now needed to change the design slightly and having done that, we needed more stone ordered. Of course, this was at the beginning of the supply chain issues, and while it was a pretty hefty lead time, we would be able to do most of it once the chimney was complete. While we were gone, the clients took that opportunity to repaint the room since it was already “torn apart”, a fresh start for this room seemed like a great idea given the world and time we all had, we well as the repairs that were like starting anew. In October 2020, we were able to make our trip back out, chimney now being complete, painting now finished, and do our portion of the installation of the RSF Opel that was planned so many months before. We installed the Opel, chimney pipe and components, and top termination plate...Read More
Are you ready for fireplace season?
Temperatures here in central Pennsylvania have been getting cooler, especially at night. Is your fireplace or stove ready for the heating season? Below is a quick start guide we have put together. Wood-burning fireplaces, stove, and inserts: We recommend every 1 to 2 cords of wood that you burn to have your fireplace swept. Never had your wood burning product swept before? Our first visit to your house would include a sweep and level 2 inspection via video camera – we want to make sure your wood burning product is in good working condition and ready to burn for the season. The level 2 inspection will let you know if there are any issues that need to be addressed. Check the firebrick and gaskets for wear and tear in your wood stoves and inserts. Peak performance is key! Gas fireplaces, stoves, and inserts: Turn on the appliance and make sure it is functioning properly. Check the batteries in both remote AND receiver (if this applies to your product). Go through each function and make sure each is functioning as it should. We offer a gas maintenance service on the products you have purchased from us. We want to ensure that the gas products is functioning and looking as beautiful as the day you bought it. Pellet stoves and inserts: Turn on the appliance and make sure it is functioning properly. Problems? Be sure to note any lights that are on/off and if they are flashing or if fans are running. This information helps us better diagnose the issue before a technician arrives. We suggest every 2 tons of pellets used to have us perform a “2 ton service.” This will identify any gaskets inside the stove that need to be replaced to help keep your pellet stove in the best working condition. Keep in mind now is the busiest time of year for most chimney sweeps. Don’t delay checking these over and making a call to us if you need to! Still have questions? Contact us now!....Read More