Our Company Blog

The Value of a Certified Contractor

Aelite Chimney Specialties is sure that you have heard the nightmares that can be involved with hiring an unlicensed and/or uninsured contractor. Unfortunately, many homeowners across the country have lost countless amounts of money by not hiring a certified, or licensed, contractor to do home improvement projects. As construction costs can be quite expensive, people look to save money on these projects however they can. Since an unlicensed contractor has no licensing costs or bond obligations, this contractor can put in a much lower bid. However, going with the cheapest bid can end up costing you more money than expected or even budgeted. When you hire a contractor with no certifications, licenses, insurance, or credentials to perform work on your property, you are taking a big risk. Although a certified contractor seems to be more expensive, you can actually save money in the long run. We would like to share some reasons with you from Angie’s List why you should never undervalue a certified contractor.

Certified Contractors - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties

Certified contractors will carry both liability and worker’s compensation insurance policies.

The importance of hiring a contractor who is covered by both liability and worker’s compensation insurance policies cannot be stressed enough. These policies can fully protect homeowners in the event of damage and injuries. Your homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover any damage done to your home by the contractor and his crew unless you have specifically added in-home employee coverage. The contractor’s liability insurance policy will protect you if a worker damages your home or property in any way. Worker’s compensation is also needed in case anyone becomes injured while working on your home. This type of insurance policy will fully cover the resulting medical costs.

Certified contractors will provide you with the security of bonding.

A bond provided by your contractor is a guarantee that the promised work will be completed. This bond is the secured money you will receive in case something happens to prevent the work from being finished. A certified contractor will not only give you proof of this bond, but he will also explain to you exactly what the bonded amount will cover if he is unable to complete the work on your home.

Certified contractors have met specific industry standards to receive the correct licensing needed for the job.

A contractor’s license is the proof that he can legally do business in your area as well as proof that he has met all of the needed industry standards in order to do the job. If your contractor does not provide you with a copy of his license, you can easily check with your local licensing authority to request your own copy of his license and certification. This ensures your contractor has the skills needed to do the work in accordance with all local building codes. Additionally, hiring an unlicensed contractor can lead you to losing your homeowner’s insurance policy if any problems were to arise.

Need help finding a certified contractor? Contact Aelite Chimney Specialties to get our personal recommendations.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on The Value of a Certified Contractor

Schedule a Spring Chimney Sweeping and Inspection

Make a chimney sweep part of your spring cleaning!

Make a chimney sweep part of your spring cleaning!

We know it may be difficult to believe, but spring is here, and fireplace season will be slowing down. To be sure your chimney is safe after a heavy usage during a long and cold winter, scheduling your annual chimney sweeping and inspection now is essential, especially if your chimney is in need of important repairs. At Aelite Chimney Specialties, one of our least busiest times of the year is the spring, so you can easily make an appointment for our certified technicians to visit your home to clean, examine, and repair your chimney. According to fire safety organizations such as the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), it is recommended you schedule a chimney sweeping and inspection once every year. We would like to share with you the important chimney maintenance steps our chimney technicians will take to find essential repairs needed to make your fireplace and chimney system safe.

CHIMNEY SWEEPING

When the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified sweeps at Aelite Chimney Specialties clean your chimney after winter, our main concern is removing all of the creosote deposits that have accumulated on the walls of your chimney. Forming naturally as the by-products of combustion (smoke, gases, tar fog, vapors, etc) exit the cooler walls of your upper chimney, creosote is the highly combustible result of the condensation that occurs. Creosote can be either black or brown, and its appearance can vary. Whether it is sticky and gummy, crispy and brittle, or shiny and hard, creosote, especially in large amounts, is extremely flammable, which makes it the cause of a majority of chimney fires. Getting rid of these creosote buildups after winter’s heavy fireplace usage is essential to the safety of your chimney.

CHIMNEY INSPECTING

Aelite Chimney Specialties takes pride in performing detailed post-winter chimney inspections because we want to find any damage that needs repairing to ensure the safety of your fireplace and chimney. Of course, we seriously examine every part of your chimney; however, there are specific repairs we are looking for, including the following:

Damaged or deteriorated masonry

Loose bricks and chipped mortar on the exterior of your chimney are sure signs of water penetration damage, and this alerts us to the possibility of water leaking inside your chimney that creates even more damage to its interior. If this masonry damage goes unrepaired, you will end up with costly repair work, including a possible rebuild of your entire chimney.

Cracks in the chimney cap

Your chimney cap serves as protection from both water and animal intrusions of your chimney. A deteriorated chimney cap serves no help at all to your chimney. We can repair cracks and other damage to chimney caps as well as install new caps if the existing caps are beyond repairing.

Cracks and holes in the chimney flue liner

Water leaks can cause serious damage to the liner of your chimney that can endanger your family’s health. A deteriorating flue liner allows toxic gases like carbon monoxide to leak into your home. Repairing or replacing a damaged chimney flue liner will keep those gases exiting out of your chimney instead of infiltrating the interior air of your home.

Get your chimney cleaned after the long winter by contacting Aelite Chimney Specialties now. We are happy to schedule an appointment for your annual sweeping and inspection as well as perform all necessary repairs.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Schedule a Spring Chimney Sweeping and Inspection

Why Choosing a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep Is So Important

Setting the standard for the chimney industry, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) was founded in 1983 as an educational, non-profit organization dedicated to the safety of chimney, fireplace, and venting systems. This organization commits itself to eliminating hazardous chimney-related incidents like fires and carbon monoxide leaks. They also are dedicated to teaching homeowners, chimney professionals, and others about the prevention and correction of dangers caused by chimney and venting systems. The CSIA also certifies chimney and venting professionals as a measurement of expertise in the industry. Choosing a CSIA-certified chimney sweep company, such as Aelite Chimney Specialties, is important for many excellent reasons. We would like to share some information about CSIA certification with you to tell you why this credential is so essential when hiring a chimney sweep.

CSIA Certified - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney

Areas of Proficiency

During the CSIA-certification training process, participants must demonstrate proficiency in different areas of the chimney and venting system industry. These areas include:

  • Technical aspects of chimney operation and construction
  • The skillful performance of the best and current techniques of the chimney and venting system trade
  • The physics of burning wood and the development of creosote deposits
  • All applicable codes, regulations, clearances, and standards
  • the care and installation of the different types of solid fuel appliances
  • the requirements of the US Environmental Protection Agency

Requirements for Receiving Certification

To be able to receive the CSIA-certification credential, candidates must:

  • Attend a review session, either in-person or online
  • Pass a one-hour exam based on Successful Chimney Sweeping 2011 and the National Fire Protection Agency 211 2013
  • Pass a 90-minute open book exam based on the International Residential Code of 2006
  • Agree to pay the annual certification fee
  • Sign the CSIA Code of Ethics

Obligations and Responsibilities

Once chimney and venting system professionals receive the certification from the CSIA, they must follow by its code of responsibilities and obligations, which include:

  • Constantly sharpening skills, base of knowledge, and safety practice techniques for fireplace, chimney, and venting systems
  • Continually learning about and following the CSIA-recommended venting and chimney safety techniques and practices
  • Compliance and familiarity with all applicable building codes regarding chimney and venting products
  • Following strictly the manufacturers’ installation instructions when installing appliances and other parts of a chimney or venting system
  • Educating consumers by providing them with essential information about chimney and venting safety procedures
  • Always treating customers fairly and honestly and never engaging in practices that are unfair or deceptive
  • Behaving in a professional and respectful manner at all times when serving as a chimney sweep

One of the main reasons to hire a CSIA-certified chimney sweep is being guaranteed that you will receive the best professional services for your chimney and venting systems. As these services are essential to the maintenance of a safe, functioning chimney, choosing a CSIA-certified company like Aelite Chimney Specialties gives you peace of mind and security. Contact us today for any chimney maintenance issues you may have.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Why Choosing a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep Is So Important

Prepare Your Chimney for Winter Before the Fall Rush

Don't wait until it's cold and you need your fireplace to have your chimney swept!

Don’t wait until it’s cold and you need your fireplace to have your chimney swept!

Trying to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping and inspection in the fall can be quite difficult as everyone is thinking about getting his chimney ready for the cold winter months. Contacting a CSIA-certified company like Aelite Chimney Specialties before the fall rush to arrange a visit from our chimney sweeps is a smart decision. If you put this call off for too long, you will have to wait for weeks for an available appointment, and, by that time, it may have already been cool enough to use your fireplace. Strongly recommended by many fire safety organizations, your chimney should be cleaned and examined before lighting the first fire of the season. We at Aelite Chimney Specialties would like to share what our experienced technicians will be doing to prepare your chimney for winter.

CHIMNEY SWEEPING

Aelite Chimney Specialties cannot stress the importance enough of having your chimney cleaned before the weather turns cooler. Before the first fire is lit, our chimney sweeps will ensure your chimney is free of soot and creosote deposits. Both are highly combustible and could possibly cause a chimney fire, especially if the deposits are large. Cleaning out all of the debris in your chimney also protects you and your family from the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

CHIMNEY INSPECTING

Checking out your chimney for damages that need repairing is just as important as having your chimney cleaned. You may have some serious repairs needed before you can safely use your fireplace over the winter, and scheduling a chimney inspection before the fall rush is the best way to be sure these repairs can be completed in time. What exactly will Aelite Chimney Specialties be looking for during an inspection? According to the article “Getting Your Fireplace Ready for Winter” on the real estate website, Zillow, certain parts of your chimney need more scrutiny, including:

Exterior Masonry — We will be looking for loose bricks, chipped mortar, and other signs of water penetration damage. If we find any deterioration, our certified masons will make the needed repairs.
Chimney Cap — One of the best ways to keep water out of your chimney, a chimney cap also does the job of preventing animals and birds from entering your chimney to nest for the winter. If your chimney cap is cracked or damaged, we can either repair this damage, or, if it is beyond repairing, we can install a new chimney cap to ensure your chimney is protected.
Flue Liner — If you have cracks or holes in your chimney flue liner, we can also repair this damage as well as install a new liner if your old one cannot be saved. Your liner provides protection from toxic gases like carbon monoxide from leaking into your home and causing health problems for you and your family.

Do not delay in scheduling your annual chimney sweeping and inspection! Contact Aelite Chimney Specialties today to arrange a visit from our experienced technicians.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Prepare Your Chimney for Winter Before the Fall Rush

6 Questions to Ask Your Chimney Sweep

Homeowners usually have a number of questions they would want to ask the chimney sweeping company they are planning to hire or have already hired. Here’s the most frequently asked as well as most important questions you should ask:

Asking these questions and hearing the corresponding answers - that are right and seem satisfying - will definitely put you at ease, knowing that you have exemplary sweeps taking care of your chimney.

Asking these questions and hearing the corresponding answers – that are right and seem satisfying – will definitely put you at ease, knowing that you have exemplary sweeps taking care of your chimney.