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Mad Hatter FAQ's

Exactly What Does A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Do?

Of course, a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep cleans chimneys, but a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep will do more than just sweep chimneys. A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep offers three levels of service. These service levels indicate the depth of the inspection: Level 1 offers basic services and inspection to readily accessible areas; Level 2 provides additional checks of chimney conditions and interior flues, and checks of some difficult-to-access spots like crawl spaces and attics; Level 3 includes inspection of those areas that have been enclosed. There's not space enough here for details, so please call us if you'd like more information.

Aren't All Sweep Services Basically The Same?

No! Not every sweep has the knowledge to provide quality service. Because the chimney sweep industry is not regulated, virtually anyone can start a business and call themselves a sweep. Remember, the service sweeps provide should help to keep your family and home safe. So, as you choose a sweep to service your home, please make sure that they have the expertise to get the job done right.

When A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Services My Home Will There Be A Mess?

No. We use a powerful vaccum that prevents soot and dust from entering the home, and we are careful to take precautions in order to prevent any mess.

How Often Should I Have My Chimney Cleaned?

The answer to this question depends on what fuel you use. It also depends on the age of your home, the condition of your chimney, and the weather (mild winters cause more problems than cold ones!). Generally, if you use wood, it's good to have the chimney cleaned at least every 6-12 months (more often if you burn two or more cords of wood, or if you burn green wood). Oil flues -especially if there's a ventilation problem- need to be inspected and cleaned about probably each year in order to avoid chimney blockage. Problems in the furnace or boiler can cause highly sooty conditions in the chimney. Even though natural gas is a clean-burning fuel, today's high-efficiency gas furnaces create special problems. The fumes they produce are cooler and produce higher levels of water vapor than previous models, and this vapor in turn produces more water condensation. These vapors also contain chlorides from house-supplied combustion air which combine to form hydrochloric acid. The acid-water condensates from these latest natural gas furnaces cause more flue deterioration than previous models. It's important to check these systems at least each year.

How Long Does A Chimney Cleaning Take?

This depends a little on what level of inspection you want (see question #2), but most visits take about 60-90 minutes.

How Can A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Help Me To Maintain A Safe Home?

Paying a little bit now can protect your largest investment against fire damage or carbon monoxide poisoning. Proper inspections and maintenance have even saved lives. And besides, a clean chimney simply smells better; the same elements that catch fire also create chimney odors when the chimney is not in use.

Should I Be Concerned About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous because it is not easily detected. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for common illnesses such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, or even depression. Carbon monoxide detectors are now readily available and no home should be without at least two of them: one near the furnace and another near the sleeping area of the home. Detectors are NOT a substitute for routine maintenance, but can be a lifesaver should problems occur. Carbon monoxide problems are always caused by poor ventilation, and blocked chimneys are one of the largest single causes of carbon monoxide in the home. Without proper maintenance, heating systems can be dangerous because they can cause fires or release toxic gases into your living area that cause serious damage, illness, or even death. Poor ventilation is the cause, so it's critical to have a clean chimney. When there is build up in your chimney, they must be removed by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.

How often should I have my duct system cleaned?

Your air ducts should be inspected regularly, for buildup of dust and dirt, and cleaned when their is visible dirt. Evaporative coolers bring in a lot of dirty outside air and will rust badly from the minerals in our water. All of this gets blown into the ducts and out into the house. MOST DUCT SYSTEMS NEED TO BE CLEANED EVERY 3 OR 4 YEARS.

When you clean my air ducts, will there be a mess?

As with all of our services we guarantee a mess free cleaning or your service is free.

How do you clean air ducts?

To guaranty our service, we have to clean the entire air duct system. We start by removing all the vent covers in the home. They covers are taken outside where they are washed and sanitized. We then work through each vent opening completely brushing and vacuuming each one all the way back to the main truck lines of the duct system. We will brush and vacuum all main truck lines associated with the duct system including the cold air returns. We will clean the blower compartment, blower, heat exchanger, and air conditioning coils. Once the system is cleaned the entire duct system will be sanitized using an E.P.A. registered sanitizer for use in HVAC systems. The sanitizer will help prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi within the system. Finally the clean vent covers are put back on and the system turned on for normal operation. There is no mess.

What kind of equipment do you use?

Since every house is unique we do not have 1 cleaning system we use on every job. We have an assortment of duct cleaning techniques. From contact vacuuming methods to negative air machines, we have never found a duct system we could not handle. We have electric and air powered brushes that we use to loosen the dirt inside the duct. We have high volume air compressors that are used to flow the dirt through the system. We use HEPA filtered vacuums to do any contact vacuuming required. We have special video cameras to look inside duct that is not accessible from the register openings. We have other specialized equipment that we use to access and clean the systems properly and cleanly.

Do you guarantee your work?

We guarantee our duct cleaning service for 12 months. We are so sure our method works that if you are not completely satisfied we will reclean your system at your convenience at no charge. We are fully insured as well, so if anything does happen we are both protected.

How can I tell if my air ducts are dirty?

The best way to tell if the ducts are dirty is to look inside the duct yourself. The inside should be as clean as your floor or countertops. Open up the furnace and look at the blower and motor or look underneath the furnace at the return. Most people are shocked at the amount of dirt and debris that has built up in their air duct system.

Why do you need to clean the air conditioner and furnace?

60% of the dirt and debris is in the ductwork, 40% is in the air handler itself. Most of the dirt in a air duct system enters through the furnace and air conditioner. It is critical, when cleaning a duct system, to clean the entire duct system from the point where air enter the system downstream to where the air exits at the supply registers. If these areas are not cleaned, they will blow contaminates back over the duct work that has been cleaned.