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CHIMNEY SAFETY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA Just minutes southwest of the Indianapolis International Airport, the CSIA Technology Center is located at 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168. CONTINUING EDUCATION AT THE TECHNOLOGY CENTER March 21-25 - Installing & Troubleshooting Woodburning Hearth Appliances Energy efficiency, appliance selection and sizing, installation of woodburning fireplaces and stoves, system operation, maintenance and troubleshooting. NFI exam included! CCS CEUs: 4 T, 4 C&S, 4 C&L, 4 H&S NFI CEUs: 16 T

April 11 – April 16 - National Chimney Sweep Training School Fundamentals of sweeping and inspection of chimney systems, equipment operation, health and safety considerations and stepby-step instruction in codes, clearances, standards and practices. CCS CEUs: 4 T, 4 C&S, 4 C&L, 4 H&S NFI CEUs: 16 T May 16-20 - Installing & Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances Appliance standards, combustion requirements, pipe sizing, installation, troubleshooting, carbon monoxide testing and fuel conversion. NFI exam included! CCS CEUs: 4 T, 4 C&S, 4 C&L, 4 H&S NFI CEUs: 16 T June13-18 - National Chimney Sweep Training School Fundamentals of sweeping and inspection of chimney systems, equipment operation, health and safety considerations and stepby-step instruction in codes, clearances, standards and practices. CCS CEUs: 4 T, 4 C&S, 4 C&L, 4 H&S NFI CEUs: 16 T June 27-29 - Inspection & Report Writing Designed to enhance your inspection process. During this session, our instructors will concentrate on helping you build the narrative-style reports your customers demand. CCS CEUs: 8-T, 8 C&S NFI CEUs: 16 T July 18-20 - Chimney Physics Diagnosis and resolution of chimney performance problems, solving air pressure problems, identifying the symptoms of indoor air pollutants, determining combustion air requirements for vented appliances. CCS CEUs: 4 T, 4 C&S, 4 C&L, 4 H&S NFI CEUs: 16 T August 1-6 - National Chimney Sweep Training School Fundamentals of sweeping and inspection of chimney systems, equipment operation, health and safety considerations and stepby-step instruction in codes, clearances, standards and practices. CCS CEUs: 4 T, 4 C&S, 4 C&L, 4 H&S NFI CEUs: 16 T September 19-24 - National Chimney Sweep Training School Fundamentals of sweeping and inspection of chimney systems, equipment operation, health and safety considerations and stepby-step instruction in codes, clearances, standards and practices. CCS CEUs: 4 T, 4 C&S, 4 C&L, 4 H&S NFI CEUs: 16 T Schedule subject to Change. Please contact CSIA prior to making travel arrangements. This institution is regulated by: The Indiana Commission on Proprietary Education, 302 W Washington St, Room E201, Indianapolis, IN 46204 Accreditation contact IN Toll Free 1(800) 227-5695 or (317) 232-1320.

Visit or call 317-837-5362.

When earning a new CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® credential, candidates are required to:

□ Attend an online or in-person review session. □ Pass a one-hour exam based on Successful Chimney Sweeping (2009) and NFPA 211 □ Pass a ninety-minute openbook exam based on the 2006 International Residential Code. □ Agree to pay the Annual Certification Fee. □ Sign CSIA Code of Ethics.

CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® and CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician® Online Review Sessions Are Scheduled Monthly Online Exams Also Available Visit! IN-PERSON REVIEW & EXAM SESSIONS Single Day Review Followed by Two Certification Exams

January 21- LaCrosse, WI Sponsored by Wisconsin Guild of Chimney Service Specialists February 8 - Hartford, CT NCSG Convention March 4 - CSIA Tech Center March 4 - Salt Lake City, UT HBP Expo April 8 - Tallahassee, FL May 6 - CSIA Tech Center May 13 - Baltimore, MD June 10 - Richmond, VA July 12 - California GSCSG Convention July 22 - Fairfield, IA August 26 - Nashville, TN September 9 - CSIA Tech Center September 9 - Atlantic City, NJ October 21 - Albany, NY November 4 - CSIA Tech Center


Single Day Review Followed by the Certification Exam

February 8 - Hartford, CT NCSG Convention April 9 - Tallahassee, FL September 8-CSIA Tech Center

February/March 2011 Volume 35 #2

Table of Contents Features 16 The Four-Letter Word That Makes You and


Your Work Irresistible

22 39 Ways to Prevent Cracks in Brickwork 25 The Job: Costing an Injury 26 Seven Tips to Save Time and Money This Tax Season


Departments 3 Presidential Post 6 Editor’s Letter 8 Technical Q&A 10 Industry Watch 14 Chimney Sense P.26

28 New NCSG Members 30 Sweeps Advantage Coupons

Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney and Venting Technology (ISSN# 10416692) is published 11 times annually, by the National Chimney Sweep Guild, 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168. Annual dues to the National Chimney Sweep Guild are $459 for Voting Member Companies and $689 for Supplier Member Companies, of which $80 goes toward a subscription to Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney and Venting Technology. Additional annual subscriptions are available for $80 by contacting the National Chimney Sweep Guild at the office of publication (NCSG, 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168). POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney and Venting Technology National Chimney Sweep Guild 2155 Commercial Drive Plainfield, IN 46168

31 Progressive Perks 32 Dates & Events 33 Perspective 35 Darwin Award 36 Classifieds




COMMITTEE CHAIRS AND TASK FORCES FOR 2010-2011 Ethics: Jay Walker (850) 562-4692 or

History: Jerry Isenhour (704) 782-7213 or

Convention Site Selection: Diane Pilger (631) 863-2460 or

Membership: Russ Dimmitt (800) 247-3305 or

Bylaws: Jay Walker (850) 562-4692 or Government Affairs: Diane Pilger (631) 863-2460 or Governance: Howard Rowell (414) 771-2282 or

NFPA 31: John Pilger (631) 863-2460 or NFPA 54: Jim Brewer (757) 523-2400 or

Technical Advisory Council Chair: Dennis Dobbs (256) 845-9814 or Public Awareness Task Force: Marge Padgitt (816) 461-3665 or Discussion List Committee: Marge Padgitt (816) 461-3665 or

NFPA 211: Randy Brooks (805) 646-8961 or

To contact any member of the Technical Advisory Council, please email with your question’s topic in the subject line.

Masonry construction and restoration Priorfire firebox Chris Prior Middle Grove, NY (518) 882-6091 Customer communications NFPA 211 Randy Brooks Ojai, CA (805) 646-8961

Codes and standards Gas venting NFPA 54 James Brewer Chesapeake, VA 757-523-2400 Oil flue sizing, Relining NFPA 31 John Pilger Smithtown, NY (631) 236-7422 Stainless steel lining Video scanning Narrative report writing A. Bart Ogden Wichita, KS (316) 265-9828

Installation & Venting of Pellet Stoves Fred Joy Hoyt, KS (785) 986-6432 Dryer Vents Jay Walker Tallahassee, FL 850-528-1357 NFPA 211, ICC John LaBrosse Hope Valley, RI 401-377-6009 Dryer Vents, Masonry Rich Martinez Algonquin, IL (847) 658-7659

Be advised that advice given by NCSG’s Technical Advisory Council (TAC) reflects best practices of the chimney sweeping industry. However, we are unable to account for any particular type of situation since regional variations in construction practices and additional environmental, physical and geographical factors necessarily vary the level of service appropriate for a particular fireplace and/or chimney. Additionally, local laws and ordinances may govern and/or supersede the information and any recommendations provided. Final determinations are the responsibility of a local professional with first-hand knowledge of the situation, and the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Neither NCSG nor any member of TAC will be held liable for any damages whatsoever resulting from the use of or reliance on information provided by anyone associated with TAC. By your use of this member benefit you acknowledge acceptance of these terms.

ADVERTISING RATES for Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney & Venting Technology may be obtained by contacting Malisa Minetree at (317) 815-4688 or Design by Laura Houser Design • • (317) 213-7497


NCSG encourages industry partners to submit press release and articles to Melissa Heeke, Sweeping Editor at Submissions should contain items of interest or importance to the chimney and venting industry. Submissions should not contain direct solicitations, prices, or a call to action on the part of our readers. Submissions may contain images or artwork attached in a .jpg format. In all cases, NCSG reserves the right to edit submissions to fit space limitations, keep the release and publish at a later date, or refuse to publish the release for any reason. Neither publishing, nor refusing to publish the submission should be considered a statement of NCSG’s opinion regarding the release. NCSG further reserves the right to reject at any time any advertising determined not to be in keeping with the publications’ standards. Acceptance of advertising by Sweeping magazine does not necessarily constitute endorsement of products or services advertised. NCSG does not make any effort to review or substantiate claims made by advertisers. © 2011 National Chimney Sweep Guild, 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168 (317) 837-1500


President, Region 6 Randy Brooks (805) 646-8961 • Vice President Region 3 Jay Walker (850) 562-4692 • Treasurer Region 5 Mark Maynard (920) 830-1920 • Secretary, At-Large Diane Pilger (631) 863-2460 •


TAC Chair Installation/Direct Vent Gas Appliances Dennis Dobbs Fort Payne, AL (256) 845-9814


Region 1 Phil Mitchell (603) 659-7776 • Region 2 Bob Fleer (410) 544-7600 • Region 4 Marge Padgitt (816) 461-3665 • At-Large Directors Jeremy Biswell (913) 236-7141 • Dennis Dobbs (256) 845-9814 • Supplier Representative Russ Dimmitt (800) 819-7944 •

STAFF 2155 Commercial Drive Plainfield, IN 46168 (317) 837-1500 Fax: (317) 837-5365 Mark McSweeney, CAE Executive Director

Megan McMahon Office Manager

Melissa Heeke, CAE Director of Communications & Marketing

Sara Sichting Certification Coordinator (CSIA)

Ashley Eldridge, COI, CPP Director of Education

Debbie Cornelius Membership Development Coordinator

Candice Bradbury Director of Finance

Donna Lee Kasmer Program Coordinator



t is with tremendous gratitude that I write this, my final communication as the President of the National Chimney Sweep Guild. The last few years have been extremely gratifying to be of service in this capacity. I want to take this opportunity to thank the members of the NCSG for their continual trust, confidence and support as we moved through some very difficult economic times both individually and as an organization.

Presidential Post

Randy Brooks presenting international guests at the convention awards banquet.

I’m very proud to have worked beside so many dedicated individuals that have served on this board as your representatives. I spent extended periods of time together with these committed people,I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. I look forward to joining a very small group of individuals that have served in this capacity over the last 34 years. I have often sought the advice and counsel of many in this group of Past-Presidents over the years and would encourage my successors to do the same. Representing the American chimney sweeps internationally at events designed to advance the trade worldwide has been an experience I could have never imagined. The work we do through the ESCHFOE Congress is both worthwhile and rewarding at the same time. The industry leaders that travel to our annual convention and tradeshow events every year and have become best of friends to one and all are a result of these relationships that were started many years ago.

Tom Urban, Robert Huta and Randy Brooks at the NCSG Innovation convention in Reno.

The most satisfying accomplishments to rally around what was done in support of the chimney sweep trade we swore to protect and defend. This commitment means often times tough choices when it comes to the limited financial resources of the membership. I am very pleased to announce that the organization is both fiscally-sound and financially-responsible. This achievement in what is arguably the most difficult economic environment You never know who will show up at convention! FEBRUARY/MARCH 11 SWEEPING 3

Swearing in the 2009-2010 NCSG Officers and Directors

since the great depression is entirely the result of reality-based decision making by the leadership that includes the committed board as well as the professional staff.

get involved at this level. This organization is only as good as its leadership and leadership must continue to change to reflect the current needs of any organization.

In closing, I want to re-emphasize the appreciation I have for all of you, members and staff, for making the time I was entrusted with this office a memorable and productive experience. I want to encourage others that feel led to volunteer their time to advance the chimney sweeping trade in the United States to

I look forward to seeing you all in Hartford, and as always, I will keep the health, well-being and success of all chimney sweeps in my thoughts and prayers.

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Editor’s Letter



ur busy season…


Watch for the April issue of Sweeping for our annual convention recap, the introduction of our new board members and officers and for the winners of our industry awards! In the meantime, all the best to you and yours!

am tilt c era


ad he


Have you ever wondered why there is a mysterious combined issue of Sweeping each year? Okay, so it’s not much of a mystery, I suppose if you think it through. This month, our single combined issue, is for February/March 2011. Our deadline for information for this issue was back at the beginning of January, which is pretty amazing when you stop and think about it! The articles were written and selected and the ads were designed back at the end of 2010 with the knowledge that you would

be reading this at the end of February. Likely you’re just back from making memories at the convention and tradeshow in Hartford. I’m sure we had fun! But, I had imposed a gag order against talking about convention in this month’s issue so I suppose I should honor that myself.

G et


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Technical Q&A


I have a customer who called and complained that their gas fireplace gets too hot and has melted the candles on the mantel. They’re afraid the mantel is going to catch on fire! What do I tell them?


That’s a great question and actually one that is asked quite often! The first thing you should advise them is to discontinue use of this appliance immediately until you can get a qualified service technician to their location to check the appliance. If you and/or your service technicians are not qualified to comprehensively assess, troubleshoot and service/repair this type of unit, DO NOT DO THE WORK! Instead, I would recommend that you refer them to a qualified agency that is

BY BART OGDEN, NCSG TECHNICAL ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBER properly trained and fully capable to do the work. (If you’re not qualified, I recommend you enroll in one of the many classes available through CSIA and other organizations in the industry to bring you and your employees up to speed on different types of hearth appliances.) Now, let’s look at the questions posed from your client. This is a multi-part answer. The short answer is “As long as surrounding combustible materials do not rise 90 degrees above ambient temperatures, there should be no issues.” Now to the long explanation. First, we must define some things. Let’s start with the term “ambient”. “Ambient” temperature in a room is typically considered to be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Hearth appliance clearances are tested by manufacturers and typically designed to allow surrounding combustible materials to rise 90 degrees above ambient within a certain distance of the unit, of the connector and of the venting system components. The installation of hearth appliances and venting systems MUST be installed as per the manufacturer’s requirements to ensure that this rise in ambient temperature does not exceed 90 degrees.

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Assuming “ambient” temperature is approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit and assuming a hearth appliance listing typically allows a 90 degree rise to surrounding combustible materials, this would allow the surface temperature of adjacent combustibles to reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit and remain at that temperature during an indefinite time period of operation. {NOTE: This answer is not addressing eventual pyrolysis issues that might occur.} Assuming the installation was performed correctly, hearth appliances of ANY kind can make the surrounding areas FEEL hot. Wood, gas, fuel oil, coal or electric fireplaces can each raise the temperature of any finish materials significantly to feel hot to the touch. Since the human body is normally around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, any temperature warmer than 98.6 will feel “hot” and any temperature cooler than 98.6 will feel “cool”. To give an example of the difference a few degrees make, let’s consider some familiar water temperatures. According to Edward R. Christophersen, Ph.D.

with Umatilla Morrow Head Start, Inc., a typical hot water temperature at the faucet is around or just below 120 degrees. For an infant, this can cause scalding after 10 minutes exposure, while an adult would be able to sense that this temperature is too hot and they would adjust the temperature. 125 degrees can cause serious burns after 2 minutes. 140 degrees can cause a bad burn after 6 seconds. Finally, 150 degrees can cause a bad burn in 2 seconds. It’s easy to see why we might feel that something is so hot it’s going to catch on fire, when it might not actually be as hot as it seems. A quick test with a quality, infrared thermometer can be performed to determine the actual surface temperature of a material. Let’s now look at the “melting candles” portion of the question. According to, organic waxes like soy melt around 120-125 degrees, beeswax waxes melt at 155-170 degrees, and paraffin waxes melt at 170-200 degrees. Assuming the maximum 90 degree rise in ambient (70 degrees), organic waxes will fully melt and beeswax waxes will partially melt by the time 160 degrees might be reached. More importantly, they might not actually melt, but they might sag, which might be what your customer was actually trying to convey to you when they called. In conclusion, you should check that the clearance requirements as set forth in the installation manual for the particular hearth appliance you are evaluating are correct and I recommend that you perform an infrared thermometer test to determine the actual surface temperature of the material in question while the appliance is in operation, on high burn, with the blower OFF, for at least 30 minutes. When I test appliances like this, I typically will set aside at least an hour for the testing process – and I charge accordingly. Depending on your findings and assuming the installation was correct, you may need to educate your client as to the difference between the “sensible” temperature and the actual temperature of the materials in question and advise them of any corrections that might need performed. Finally, ALWAYS remember to meet or exceed the minimum specifications listed in any hearth appliance installation manual – provide and recommend an added safety and/or performance margin for your client. It’s just good business.


Industry Watch Obama Signs Tax Package, Extends Tax Credit for Biomass Heating Appliances HPBA - On Friday, December 17, President Obama signed into law the $858 billion tax package that keeps current tax rates in place and extends a series of tax credits geared toward boosting the sluggish economy. Included in this package was the extension of a tax credit for biomass heating appliances that was set to expire on December 31, 2010. The extension of the tax credit – which was never certain – is good news for the hearth industry. However, Congress did decrease the benefit to consumers that was in place from 20092010 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and added further restrictions. The new tax credit as outlined provides: •1  0% credit for the purchase of biomass heating appliance in 2011, capped at $300 •R  emoval of the lower heating value level (LHV) efficiency measurement •C  redit applies to purchase price only and is not extended to installation By extending this tax credit, Congress signals its support of the renewable fuel industry. We will continue to work with Congress to achieve recognition for the hearth industry and benefits for Americans who seek to heat with biomass fuel.

Call for Proposals to NFPA 211 The next edition of NFPA 211 will be the 2013 edition, and it will be published near the end of 2012 or very early in 2013. Changes to the code take time for the committee to consider and seek input and comments from the public. If you have an idea for a change to NFPA 211 you should submit a proposal to the committee before May 23, 2011. The deadline for proposed changes to the next edition is 5 pm May 23, 2011. You can download a proposal form at Additionally, if you aren’t familiar with submitting a proposal, Jim Brewer will be glad to help. Keep in mind that with any proposed change you must provide substantiation or justification (i.e. why the proposed change is necessary). The proposal should provide enough detail so the committee understands the change request, and why you believe it is important. If you have any questions about the process please contact Jim Brewer at (757) 523-2400.

Lindemann Chimney Supply Names Wiles as President LINDEMANN - Jeff Wiles has been promoted to President of Lindemann Chimney Supply. Jeff, a long time industry veteran, has been the Southeastern Director of Operations located in Atlanta, Georgia for the past eight years. Prior to this he was Operations Manager at Lyemance International, then President of Lyemance/Lock-Top. Jeff brings years of management, distribution and manufacturing experience to his new position. “Jeff is a standup individual that exemplifies our core values. He is a proven leader with a track record of success.” Rob Lindemann comments. “With Jeff handling the operational aspects of the business, I’ll have a greater opportunity to connect with my fellow sweeps.” Jeff is very excited. “I look forward to the future challenges this position brings. Lindemann is an excellent company to work for and I’m proud be associated with the team.” He will remain based from the Atlanta location. To contact Jeff, feel free to email him at or call him at 866450-3111.


Industry Watch Policy NCSG encourages industry partners to submit press releases to Melissa Heeke, Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney & Venting Technology editor, via email at Submissions should contain items of interest or importance to the chimney and venting industry. Submissions should not contain direct solicitations, prices, or a call to action on the part of our readers. Submissions may contain images or artwork attached in a .jpg format. In all cases, NCSG reserves the right to edit submissions to fit space limitations, keep the release and publish at a later date, or refuse to publish the release for any reason. Neither publishing nor refusing to publish the submission should be considered a statement of NCSG’s opinion regarding the release.


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Congratulations to Our New CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps ALABAMA

Mike Adams • The Fireplace Doctor Division of Allstar • Gardendale CALIFORNIA

Steve Schuster • Morrill & Forbes Chimney Sweeps • Carmel CONNECTICUT

Derick Lee • Safeside Chimney & Duct • East Hartford FLORIDA

Steve Danforth • The Fireplace Doctor Division of Allstar • Milton Michael Pickett • The Fireplace Doctor Division of Allstar • Milton


Gregory Lallo • LaBrosse Chimney • Hope Valley TENNEESEE

Wesley Burney • Ashbusters Chimney Service • Nashville Robert Hammonds • Ashbusters Chimney Service • Nashville Joseph Howerton • Coopertown Chimney Sweeps • Memphis VERMONT

Chris Pugliese • Black Magic Chimney Sweeps of Southern Vermont, LLC • Manchester Center VIRGINIA

Ike Rowland • Black Goose Chimney Sweep • Newport News



Don Buford • Great Plains Chimney Serv. • Columbia NEW HAMPSHIRE

Wayne McIntyre, Jr. • Crown Chimney Company • Candia NEW YORK

Michael McNerney • C & M Chimney • Elma PENNSYLVANIA

Ben Burdick, Sr. • Chimney Sweep Systems, Inc. • Carlisle Lou Curley • Lou Curley’s Chimney Service • Drexel Hill Carl Marsh • Chester County Hearth & Home • Elverson Jason Osborne • Fireplace & Chimney Professionals LLC • Ottsville Chris Timmons • Fireplace & Chimney Professionals LLC • Ottsville

500,000 400,000 300,000 200,000 100,000 0


2010/2009: + 8.43% Total Visits in 2010: 645,948 Total Visits in 2009: 596,316

Please visit to verify that your contact information is correct. 12 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 11

2006 2007



Cory Sodren • 1st Choice Chimney/Jack Pixley Sweeps • Andover






Jesse Wickizer • The Flues Brothers Chimney Service • Overland Park



KANSAS Statistics At-A-Glance


Dave Glaze • BDR Masonry Inc. • Zionsville Ed LaPlante • BDR Masonry, Inc. • Zionsville Matt Troyer • BDR Masonry, Inc. • Zionsville Kourtney Zahn • BDR Masonry Inc. • Zionsville


CSIA Update


2009 2010

Special Complimentary Burn Wise Customer Reminder Postcards Now Available for CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps from the U.S. EPA The EPA has developed annual maintenance reminder post cards that are now available complimentary to CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps®! The post cards feature the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep logo, the EPA’s 3 Burn Wise tips and have space available for your business information. Please contact Leigh Herrington or Kristen Bremer (contact info below) to request your postcards. The cards are available in packs of 250. Request your postcards by contacting either Leigh or Kristen with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air Quality Planning & Standards:

Leigh Herrington (919) 541-0882 OR Kristen Bremer (919) 541- 9424 Learn more about the EPA’s Burn Wise program at www.epa. gov/burnwise, on Facebook at and on Twitter at


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Chimney Sense


Fueled For Success


any of us within our industry are race fans, whether it is Nascar, Indy or NHRA. The engines which power these vehicles all require high performance fuels for the combustion process. The fuel itself, as well as the fuel storage, is vitally important to a racing team’s success. Great measures must be taken to

ensure that moisture and water do not enter into the fuel supply; this would greatly diminish the fuel’s ability to create maximum horsepower. With this being said, our industry is not any different because we also deal with the combustion process and we want to ensure that our clients’ appliances also operate at peak efficiency. Wood, being the fuel source, and how it is stored are extremely important to how a hearth appliance performs.

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We have all heard, over the years, that seasoned hardwoods, meaning cut and split six months prior to use, are the best choice for fueling hearth appliances. This alone is not enough. Proper storage is also a key factor in wood fuel efficiency. How many times have we arrived at a customer’s home and saw the firewood stacked on the ground and uncovered and then we go into the home to determine the issues they have in dealing with their appliance. We gather by conversing with the homeowner that they are unhappy with the performance of the appliance and they want us to tell them what is wrong. With a quick look at the flue, we see that there is a heavy build up of creosote inside the chimney. At this point a light bulb should be going off in our heads because improper storage creates moisture-laden wood which creates incomplete combustion which causes extremely inefficient fire which causes reduced amounts of heat and extreme amounts of creosote.

So what is the proper storage procedure for firewood? Moisture from the ground can easily wick up through the firewood supply if it is stacked directly on the ground; it should be raised up off the ground or have a moisture barrier in between. A wood supply also needs a cover to prevent rain from penetrating the wood. The cover should extend far enough to prevent wind driven rain from reaching the wood. The best form of storage is just what the old timers used years ago, a wood shed. Their survival depended upon their fuel supply; they used it for cooking, purifying water, heating etc. With today’s energy efficient EPA-certified stoves, inserts and fireplaces, the moisture content and proper storage is extremely important. Open fireplaces may also have smoking issues due to moisture content. You may save the homeowner stress and anxiety by conveying these simple steps, and also create an ongoing business relationship with them. EPA and many manufacturers of high efficiency hearth appliances suggest that the moisture content of wood fuel should be 20 percent or less. Economical moisture meters are now readily available through many of the suppliers to help in your evaluation and explanation to the customer.



The Four-Letter Word That Makes You and Your Work Irresistible


is a four-letter word in the business world. It makes us uncomfortable. It seems inappropriate or even taboo. It can also make you and your work irresistible. Let me explain. Some years ago I wrote a book about an extraordinary individual who loves his work. My editor at the time deleted the word love every place I used it. Instead, he suggested using the phrase “generosity of spirit.” “Why not love?” I inquired. “Because the word love freaks out businesspeople,” he responded. In my estimation, he was halfright. I think the word love freaks out most people, especially when applied to work. That’s because, more often than not, it is associated with sugary sweet emotion or sentimentality. “I love my colleagues.” “I love my customers.” “I love the daily grind.” Hollow. Superficial. Cliché. Nobody I know loves every aspect of her or his job. I don’t know of any perfect jobs in this imperfect world. I wish they existed. But I know that it is possible to love the work we perform, love the people we work with, and love the people


we ultimately serve. We can do it without going over the top or becoming saccharine. What does love look like when it shows up for work? If you pay attention, you’ll notice it more often than you think. A few months ago, I spent time at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Atlanta. Everyone you’ll meet at the Ritz is typically on top of his or her game. The staff refers to you by name and exhibits the attitude of “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Their unique brand of service will ruin you for all other hotel chains. But it also makes it challenging for a Ritz-Carlton employee to truly stand out. After a night’s rest, I entered the hotel restaurant and took my place in line at the breakfast buffet. A chef named Jeremy staffed the omelet station. “What can I prepare for you, sir?” he asked. I ordered an egg-white omelet with lots of vegetables, ham, and a little cheese. “You’ve got to add a little cheese to an egg-white omelet;” I shared with Jeremy, “otherwise it’s just too boring.” “Not my omelets!” he boomed. “They’re never boring. That’s

because I add a special ingredient. He paused for effect. “I make my omelets with loooovvvveeee!” His unorthodox pronouncement got my attention, but I smiled politely and took the plate. With one bite, I could tell that Jeremy had created an extraordinary dish for me. A few moments later, he came by the table to see how I liked it. I told him it was terrific, probably because it was made with love. Jeremy got serious for a moment and said, “If you can’t do it with love, why do it at all?” Chef Jeremy gets it. He understands that when we allow love to define who we are as we work, we become irresistible leaders with a contagious passion for what we do. I know that it is possible to love the work we perform, love the people we work with, and love the people we ultimately serve. Defining the Irresistible Ingredient To begin, we must reorient our conventional understanding of the term love, defining it as finding a deep-seated passion for what we do, the people we do it with, and the people we do it for. Regardless of the type of work we do, we can find fulfillment and meaning in at least one of these areas. Take Sam, for instance. One hot South African afternoon, a stranger photographed him carrying a frail 75-year-old man down the side of a busy road. The rescued man had missed his bus home and collapsed outside the Pick n’ Pay where Sam

Tsukudu has worked for twenty-plus years. Sam’s heroic act of kindness is just part of who he is. He walks a blind man home from the store every week and helps him unpack his bags. Over a decade of friendship, Tsukudu decodes what groceries Chandler needs, using bits and pieces of empty cartons and labels. According to one of Sam’s customers, “We can’t imagine Pick n’ Pay without him. He always comes to our rescue and says, “Don’t fear; Sam is near.” I don’t know Sam, obviously, but I’d be willing to wager he loves his work and his customers. When I first read the story, I was reminded of Duke Ellington. He used to end his performances with “Love you madly!” Can you say—or at least think—something like that at the end of your “performance” each day? Do you find satisfaction or fulfillment in your daily responsibilities? Do you enjoy working with your colleagues on specific projects or for a common cause? Do you desire to see your business or company have an impact on your town, city, or country? And if no, why not? Our lives and work are marked by love when we seek to give instead of receive, focus on how we do something rather than just doing it, see a task as a privilege rather than an obligation, make relationships a priority, and move beyond simple action to the accompanying emotions.


Adding the Irresistible Ingredient Kahil Gibran famously said, “Work is love made visible.” That probably sounded exotic back in seventh grade when we didn’t have a job . . . but after a few years of employment, I wonder how many of us could quote him with a straight face? But there are those who love—whether it be what they do, who they do it with, who they do it for, or all three—and they “make love visible” in variety of ways. For love to make any difference it needs to be demonstrated and not simply felt; it needs to be both attitude and action. To remember what can be done to infuse the irresistible ingredient into any type of work, I use the acronym “P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E-S.” If you can understand the powerful upside of adding love to your work, here’s a way to do it regardless of your job or title or lack thereof:

Patience I don’t think Mother Theresa woke up in the morning and mourned, “Oh Lord, not more lepers!” She did some of the hardest work on the planet, and she seemed to be far more fulfilled and content than we who sit comfortably in our airconditioned offices. How could that be? Love is choosing to accept someone—imperfections, weaknesses, demands, and all—no matter his or her circumstances or needs. We need to meet our coworkers and customers where they are, not where we want them to be. Patience requires us to set our own expectations aside without indulging in frustration or negativity.

Recognition According to Mary Kay Ash, founder of the eponymous multimillion dollar cosmetics company, “There are two things people want more than sex and money—recognition and praise.” Love is paying attention. We don’t ignore that which we love, whether a person or an activity. Focus equals fondness. Recognition motivated by love moves beyond the casual acknowledgment of existence; it does more than focus on what is. It focuses on what could be. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” Not surprisingly, the recognition of another’s potential often starts him or her toward its achievement. We have to recognize the specific needs and desires of those with whom we work and those whom we serve. Applying the irresistible ingredient requires us to move beyond small talk to the deeper issues in people’s lives. It’s far too easy to judge a coworker or customer by how he or she looks or acts rather than doing the hard work of understanding why. Challenging ourselves to really know people is unusual in our culture, but the relationships we build will measure our success in the long run.

Appreciation Friends of mine just launched an Internet company called Propadoo ( The idea is insanely simple: use the web to make it easy for people to give and


receive “props” online. Want to give a service provider a recommendation? Do it instantly at Propadoo. Want your clients to know about the rave reviews others give you? Use Propadoo. Yes, there is a monetary payoff—referrals, buzz, and increased search engine optimization—but the social driver is more interesting to me. Propadoo is about recognition and appreciation. Propadoo lets people use technology to send a message that says, “You matter. Your work matters. I appreciate you.” Appreciation comes from looking for what’s right rather than being hypersensitive to what’s wrong. It is about choosing to focus on the positive even when you can’t ignore the negative. Too often we forget to stop and express our appreciation to the people who serve alongside us and the people who serve us. From the smallest gesture—a smile or a quick internet “prop”— to the largest bonus or award, people need to know that their work matters to us. Our customers and coworkers will respond positively every time we offer genuine appreciation ... guaranteed.

Counsel Don’t tell people what they want to hear. Tell them what they need to hear. Just make sure you tell them in a way that they will listen! I recall being put off by a highly incentivized sales professional in an electronics store until he confided in me that the DVD player I was about to purchase was inexpensive but laden with problems. He would have made a commission had I bought the unit, and yet he demonstrated his concern for me by sharing that insight instead. His interest in helping me make a good buying decision instantly changed my attitude about him. Love is offering wise and insightful advice that is in the best interest of the receiver rather than the giver. When asked, it is easy to criticize or suggest the first thought that comes to mind, no matter its validity. A thoughtful input or response shows that we value the individual and care about his or her need.

Time Love is taking time to address another’s needs. In our lightningfast world where the average attention span is less than two minutes, time is a valuable commodity and should be handled as such. By giving the gift of time to a coworker or customer, we show that we value them above all of the other things that cry out for our attention. One of the most powerful love practices at work is the pause, making time to be fully present with another person. We ask each other “How are you doing?” all the time and never really mean it. How tragic! Take the time.

Instruction Teacher Tom Lewis started The Fishing School decades ago in downtown Washington, D.C., hoping to give children from a disadvantaged background a chance to succeed as adults. Recently, the team from ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition stumbled across Tom’s school while working in the area. The camera showed shot after shot of bright-eyed children studying,

working with their teachers, and playing in a broken-down building with heavy bars every window and door. Interviewers asked the kids where they thought they might be if they didn’t have the Fishing School. “On the street. . . . In jail with my brothers. . . . Maybe dead like my dad.” Next, they asked what the kids wanted to be when they grew up. “Mr. Lewis said I can be a doctor someday if I study hard.” “I want to be a pilot.” “I’m gonna be the president!” Best of all were the comments, “I want to be Mr. Lewis. I asked him to be my daddy because I never had one. I want to build my own school and teach kids just like he does.” One of my favorite teachers from high school taught a subject for which I initially had little regard. However, it soon became clear that he was as interested in his students as he was his subject, and he taught it in such a way that they would truly benefit from his instruction. Love is teaching someone else with gentleness, discernment, and selflessness. By offering up our experience and hard-won knowledge, we can help others to avoid mistakes that we’ve made, achieve results that we’ve been able to achieve, and improve beyond what we’ve been able to accomplish. The most effective teachers walk alongside their students as they learn, appreciating their accomplishments rather than emphasizing their shortcomings.

Compassion Of course we can all go through the motions—do the right things, implement the right practices and believe in the right ways—but how we do our work makes all the difference. Acting with passion and out of compassion is the difference between mundane and memorable. Over thirty years ago I heard a highly successful entrepreneur speak. The only point I can remember is his comment, “Everybody hurts.” As professionals, we carefully cultivate a slick, confident veneer with our Armani suits. But in truth, we are all broken, hurting, wounded people. That’s life. My pal author and speaker Ken Davis encapsulated our situation well: “I’m not okay, you’re not okay, and that’s okay.” Acknowledging our weaknesses, mourning our losses, and comforting each other through difficult times will strengthen our relationships like nothing else can. True compassion requires us to be vulnerable and to admit our own struggles even as we offer empathy and support to others.

Encouragement Love is offering heartfelt words of affirmation, inspiration, and motivation to our customers and coworkers. We all need someone—not something—to root us on from the sidelines of our lives. We should seek to notice when others do well and

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hold them up when they fail. Often neglected, encouragement is probably the easiest way to incorporate the irresistible ingredient into our lives and relationships. If we just look around, opportunities to encourage others are everywhere.

Service Love is serving others without expecting anything in return. Service is part of nearly every job description, but the concept goes far beyond making sure that a customer’s questions are answered or requests are fulfilled. Irresistible service happens when we anticipate needs and respond with insight and excellence. Becky Rand owns a small short-order diner on the wharf in Portland, Maine. The tony area held several upscale restaurants—all of whom charged high prices and didn’t want a blue collar crowd. Nearly twenty years ago, Becky scraped together her savings and opened a democratic little place where lobstermen and captains of industry, cops on the beat and paranoid schizophrenics, university professors and cab drivers rub shoulders at the counter. All of her meals are backed by a no-strings-attached guarantee: If you don’t like it, you don’t pay. Better yet, every customer quickly becomes a regular . . . and a treasured friend. Many folks in the area eat at Becky’s daily. When regulars don’t show, they call in beforehand. Otherwise, Becky or one of her staff is on the way with a bowl of homemade soup and a muffin straight from the oven. Her outstanding service has inspired countless publicity offers, franchise opportunities, and more. But there is only one Becky, and she’s motivated by one thing: love. She loves what she does, the staff she does it with, and the customers she does it for.

The Offspring of Love at Work Ernest Dimnet, in The Art of Thinking, wrote “Love, whether it be the attraction of Truth, or pure, simple, elemental love, always opens up the intellect and gives it freedom of genius.” We all work. Whether we cook omelets, prepare taxes, sell cars, or lead corporations, we spend more than one-third of our lives in the workplace. We can choose to blend in, putting in our time with one eye on the clock, or we can take part in something bigger than ourselves. We can find satisfaction and meaning in our jobs every single day, but perhaps even that is

aiming too low. Maybe we ought to be pursuing and living out genius. When we add the irresistible ingredient of love into every element of our work, a job becomes an occupation, then becomes a career, and then becomes a successful career. We will build meaningful relationships with our colleagues. We will cultivate solid, trustworthy business relationships with our clients. And we will develop a very real, satisfying connection with the actual tasks at hand. A positive cycle develops quickly, greatly impacting the effectiveness of our business. When we deliver them with love, our products and services become more attractive, leading to better customer response, greater employee retention, and more. Best of all, the results will invariably lead to a sense of personal fulfillment and renewed motivation. Anyone can add love to his or her work, but nobody has to. The imperative benefits as much the individual—the lover— as it does the object of its practice. Yet while the irresistible ingredient is there for the taking, not everyone partakes. According to an article in USA Today, a Dutch psychologist investigated the differences between chess masters and grand chess masters. He found no difference in IQ, memory, or spatial reasoning. The only difference he could identify: the grand masters simply loved chess more. He concluded that they had more passion about and commitment to the game. I’ve observed that you don’t have to love what you do to be very good at it. I know very competent and successful individuals who have developed the skills to succeed at their work. By their own admission, they see what they do as a means to an end. They don’t love their work, nor are they passionate about it. They are, however, good at it. But when it comes to greatness, I intuitively concur with the Dutch researcher. The inspired performers, the über-achievers and the grand masters of life seem to share a common denominator. LOVE is the difference. This four-letter word will make you and what you do quite irresistible.

About the Author Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is the president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc. An internationally recognized speaker and bestselling author, Mark is widely known as an expert on leadership and customer service. For more information, visit



39 Ways to Prevent Cracks in Brickwork Changes in temperature or moisture can wreak havoc on building materials, and brick is no exception. Elastic deformation due to loads, creep, or changes in volume can cause movement, which can crack your project’s lovely brickwork. There are two basic ways to avoid cracks in masonry elements (for the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to bricks): 1) minimize the movement or 2) accommodate movement between materials and assemblies, through a system of movement joints that allow for some give in your brickwork. For expert advice on this problem we turned to Brian Trimble, senior director of engineering services and architectural outreach at the Brick Industry Association, Reston, Va., and James Tann, president of the Brick Institute of America - Mid East Region, Canton, Ohio. We also relied heavily on the Brick Industry Association’s Technical Notes 18 (“Volume Changes Analysis and Effects of Movement”) and 18A (“Accommodating Expansion of Brickwork”). THE BASICS OF EXPANSION JOINTS DO appreciate that brick can change slightly in volume,


depending on the age and color of the brick, the direction the wall faces, and the temperature at installation. DO assume bricks will increase slightly in size over their life. This is due primarily to moisture expansion and, says Trimble, “It’s part of how bricks are made.” There are helpful formulas to calculate the movement of brick walls (see Technical Note 18). DO employ expansion joints in your brickwork. Expansion joints separate brick masonry into segments to prevent cracking caused by temperature change, moisture expansion, elastic deformation, settlement, or creep. They can be horizontal or vertical. DON’T confuse expansion joints with control joints. According to Technical Note 18A, the term “control joint” is used in reference to concrete or concrete masonry construction. There’s also a “building expansion joint,” a through-the-building joint that separates a building into discrete sections to relieve stress, while a “construction joint” (or “cold joint”) is used primarily in concrete work when construction is interrupted. DO form the expansion joint by leaving a continuous

unobstructed opening through the brick wythe and filling it with a highly compressible material, preferably premolded foam or neoprene pad. A backer rod and sealant are used out front to weatherproof the joint (Figure 1). DO make sure all expansion joint materials extend through the full thickness of the wythe to keep mortar and other debris from clogging the joint and to keep water from penetrating the joint as much as possible. DON’T use fiberboard or similar materials in expansion joints; they are not compressible. DON’T allow mortar, ties, or wire reinforcement to extend into or bridge the expansion joint, as these can restrict movement and undo the benefit of the expansion joint. APPLYING VERTICAL EXPANSION JOINTS DO be aware that the positioning and spacing of expansion joints in brickwork will vary from structure to structure, depending on a variety of factors: the amount of expected movement, the size of the expansion joint, the compressibility of the expansion joint materials, restraint conditions, elastic deformation due to loads, shrinkage and creep of mortar, construction tolerances, and wall orientation. “There’s something of an art to getting this right,” says Trimble.

DON’T go more than 25 feet without a vertical expansion joint for brickwork in a veneer or cavity wall without openings, such as windows. “This is a well-accepted rule of thumb in the industry,” says Tann. Tip: To derive the optimal expansion joint spacing for your project, consult the formulas in Technical Notes 18 (page 1) and 18A (page 3). DON’T leave it up to the masons to locate the expansion joints. “The design professional should take responsibility for determining the placement and spacing of joints,” says Trimble. DO place vertical expansion joints at corners, offsets and setbacks, openings, wall intersections, changes in wall heights, parapets, and, of course, along long walls following BIA’s recommendations. DO place expansion joints at the junction of walls with different environmental or climatic exposures or support conditions. Tip: Use expansion joints to separate adjacent brick walls of different heights to avoid cracking caused by differential movement. The joint can be placed at the interior corner or, if appropriate, a foot or so away from the corner to provide a masonry bonded corner for stability. Wall ties must be in place to properly support the brick wythes adjacent to the interior corner.

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ATTENDING TO HORIZONTAL EXPANSION JOINTS According to Technical Note 18A, “Horizontal expansion joints are typically needed if the brick wythe is supported on a shelf angle attached to the frame or used as infill within the frame. Placing horizontal expansion joints below shelf angles provides space for vertical expansion of the brickwork below and deformation of the shelf angle and the structure to which it is attached.” DO provide horizontal expansion joints under each shelf angle in structures that support the brick wythe on shelf angles. DO remove temporary shims that may have been used to support the shelf angle during construction. DO consider using a “lipped” brick course in cases where you see the need for a large horizontal expansion joint. Lipped bricks (see Figure 3) allow movement while reducing the potential negative aesthetic impact of the joint. Tip: To avoid breakage, the height and depth of the lipped portion of the brick should be at least a half-inch (13 mm). Caution: For quality assurance, have your lipped brick made by your brick manufacturer. “Masons can saw cut a lip brick from a standard unit, but this is not as precise as what manufacturers can do. Overcutting, often performed when field fabricating lipped brick, can cause the cut units to fail,” warns Tann. DO take into consideration the movement tolerances of adjacent materials, including the building frame itself. DON’T allow contact at any time between the lipped brick and the brickwork below the shelf angle or between the lip of the brick and the shelf angle. OTHER DETAILS TO CONSIDER DO consider ways to make expansion joints less noticeable, especially on long, flat walls. Tip: Try using architectural features such as quoins, recessed panels of brickwork, or a change in bond pattern to reduce any negative effect. Or you might go so far as to call attention to the expansion joint by recessing the brickwork at the joint, or by using special-shaped bricks. DO try to locate expansion joints at inside corners, where they are less noticeable. DON’T hide expansion joints behind downspouts or other key building elements, unless you want to get a lot of nasty calls from the building’s maintenance department. DON’T tooth expansion joints to follow the masonry bond pattern. It makes it harder to keep debris out of the joint during construction, debris that can interfere with the proper movement of the joint. DO download Technical Notes 18 and 18A ( frmset_thnt.htm [3]) for more detailed advice. Tip: Use this article and the tech notes as the basis for a lunch-and-learn discussion in your office. Reprinted with permission from Building Design + Construction.



The Job: Costing an Injury In our industry we have a pretty good understanding of the formula for determining the cost of a job. Direct cost + Fixed overhead + Profit = Retail sale price. The costs vary slightly depending upon region, yet there is one variable that I would bet nobody factors into the equation, the cost of getting hurt on the job. The average chimney sweep is exposed to no less than five fall hazards on any given job, yet only a very small percentage do anything to limit their exposure to these costly risks. It would be fair to say that most sweeps pay very little attention to these hazards, that is, until they experience an injury. Every injury has associated costs; some minor injuries can simply be paid with pain while other injuries have a greater financial burden. Often the severity of the injury is directly proportional to the cost (and pain) but even a minor injury can be costly. Try selling a chimney cap that includes the combined price of an emergency room visit, X-rays and prescription pain medications. “Well, Mrs. Brown, your chimney is in good condition but it’s lacking a chimney cap. I have one on the truck that I can install today for $6500. If you would like it, we take credit cards.” If you are lucky enough to have employees, you are all too familiar with the high costs associated with insurance and workers compensation. Washington State’s Department of Labor

& Industries has compiled data looking at the most common injuries with the hopes of developing best practices aimed at prevention. The data is complicated but, from 1998 – 2002, “Falls From Elevation” was ranked fourth most common with almost 14,000 paid claims to the tune of $405 million. If we look specifically within the field of “Building Maintenance” the average paid claim cost $32K with 187 days time off. The money for this is collected directly from the employer by the state and is based on company’s injury rating and number of hours paid per employee. But what if I don’t have any employees? Simple, lower cost of insurance and I am exempt from having to pay workers’ compensation. Great! However, any injury sustained on the job is my responsibility to pay and comes from the sale of that chimney cap. Another important fact is that these 14,000 “paid claims” represent less than 21% the actual reported claims. Not all of the claims were eligible for compensation and so the cost was left to the responsibility of the worker and/or the employer. During that 5 year period there were over 810,000 injury claims made by employees. So before I venture up the ladder, I like to make sure that I have enough money to cover $32k in medical expenses and enough time to take a 26 week vacation.


Seven Tips to Save Time and Money this Tax Season


ew for tax year 2010, the IRS is no longer automatically mailing tax forms to taxpayers. This move is expected to save the IRS $10 million. If it encourages more people to electronically file (e-file) tax returns online, it also will save the IRS time and taxpayers as well. This income tax return filing season, taxpayers should be asking themselves what they can do to save time and money. “Most people probably spend more time dreading their taxes than it would take to actually do their taxes and get back to the things they enjoy,” says Gary Lundberg, product management director for CompleteTax, an online tax preparation and e-filing software program. “They may end up waiting until the last minute and rushing through the process only to spend more time and money than they should.” A few things people can do to save time and money this tax season include:


1. Get ready. Spend a few minutes up front to gather the information you need to do your taxes, for example, the W-2 form from your employer and any 1099 statements from your bank or other financial institutions. 2. Start early. Historically, prices for tax software go up as tax season progresses. Starting early can help you save money. Check to see if your program guarantees that the price will remain the same from the time you start doing your taxes to the time you finish. “When you start preparing a tax return online, you want the reassurance that you can come back a few days or weeks later to finish up without it costing you more,” says Lundberg. “You’ll want to look for an online tax preparation solution that guarantees not to change prices on you after you start a return.” 3. Use the tax program that’s right for you. Unlike packaged software that you have to purchase and install, most online tax preparation programs let you try them out before requiring you

to pay. So, if a program seems complicated, move on to one that’s simpler. “Those who are unhappy with the price or performance of their current tax software should also shop around. You may even get a free return for switching,” says Lundberg. “But be sure to look for guarantees.”

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4. Get the help you need. Different taxpayers want different types of help. So, it’s important to ask yourself what type of support you expect. For example, do you want to reference or search an online tax guide on your own, chat with customer support or have the ability to speak directly with a tax professional if you have a question? Then make certain your tax program offers the help you expect you’ll need.

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“You’ll want a program that offers affordable access to a tax expert to provide tax help if, when and where you need it,” Lundberg says. “Even if you don’t think you’ll have questions, it’s a good to know it’s there just in case - but steer clear of those that charge per question or per session.”


5. Claim all the tax credits and deductions available to you. The average federal tax refund for 2009 was about $3,000. Still, many taxpayers believe they may not be realizing all the tax breaks they should be getting. The interview process in the online tax preparation program should help make sure you are maximizing your credits and deductions and some will even guarantee they are providing the maximum tax refund. Also, make sure the program includes charitable deduction tools to help you substantiate the value of goods you give to charity so that you can claim the full charitable contribution deduction you deserve.

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6. Don’t pay more than you have to. Depending on what your tax situation is, you may be able to prepare your federal tax return for free. For example, programs like CompleteTax offer a basic version for free, as well as free use of higher-end programs for people who were unemployed in 2010 or owe the IRS on their 2010 returns. Even if you have to pay, it should cost less than $60 to prepare a federal and a state tax return. 7. E-file and use direct deposit. About 70 percent of taxpayers e-filed last year, with about 35 million people doing so from their home computers. It’s easy, secure and accurate. And, if you e-file your tax return and choose direct deposit, you can get any refund coming to you in as little as eight days deposited right into your account.

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NewNCSG Members


NEW YORK Stephen Vogel • US Chimney Corp • East Meadow MASSACHUSETTS Paul C. Keller, Jr. • Kellers Chimney Sweep and Repair • Auburn

ILLINOIS Richard Sobeck • Tuscany Masonry • Lincolnwood


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CALIFORNIA Gerald E. Forbes • Morrill & Forbes Chimney Sweeps • Carmel ARIZONA Michael R. Jones • Chiminy Cricket Chimney Sweep • Tucson

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Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin

REGION 6 Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

2010 – 2011 Sweeps Advantage Coupon Program Featured Coupons of the Month Look for the 2010 – 2011 coupon offers in the “Members Only” section of the NCSG website at Here you will find information necessary to redeem these coupon offers and others from these participating vendors: AHRENS Chimney Technique • AirJet, Division of Continental Industries • Copperfield Chimney Supply • Duct Cleaners’ Supply • Dynacote LLC • Earthcore Industries, LLC • Eclipse Distributing • Exhausto, Inc. • Firesafe Chimney Systems, Inc. • Golden Flue, Inc. • Hearth Classics • Lindemann Chimney Supply • MC Refractory Inc. • Matters of the Hearth • Meyer Machine & Equipment • Morso • National Chimney Supply • Olympia Chimney Supply • RLH Industries, Inc. • Rutland Products • SaverSystems • Smoktite LLC • The Chimney Sweep News (SNEWS) • U.S. Fireplace Products, Inc. • Ventech Industries, Inc. • Wakefield Brush • Wohler USA, Inc. • Z-Flex.

These are just a few of the many offers available to you as a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild. Visit www. to learn more and to start saving!

Enervex, Inc. (formerly Exhausto)

Firesafe Chimney Systems, Inc.

SAVE Up to $ 100

Save $100 on an Exhausto Vacu-fan (reconditioned RS12 or RS14 with handle and 3-prong plug)

SAVE Up to $ 100

FREE – Loaner Fan for any home show in your area (includes shipping to and from show) Must book at least two (2) weeks in advance

SAVE Up to $ 50

$50 OFF any order for Crown Guard summer formula (1 or 3 gallons)

SAVE Up to $ 50

$50 OFF any order for Crown Guard HP winter formula (1 or 3 gallons)

SAVE Up to $ 50

$50 OFF any order for FireGuard applicator, ceramic powder, or BA bonding agent

SAVE Up to $ 54

FREE PANEL! Buy 4 Skamolex refractory replacement panels, Get the 5th free!

SAVE Up to $207

FREE DAMPER! Buy four (four) Sealtight or Energy Top Dampers, Get the 5th one free!

SAVE Up to $ 149

Buy one(1) 6” x 25’ or 6” x 30’ coil of CHIM-FLEX® 316L stainless steel chimney liner and receive one (1) same size c oil for half price! That’s only $7.46 per foot!

Lindemann Chimney Supply

RLH Industries, Inc.


Progressive Perks


Technical Advisory Council Readily Available to help NCSG Members Did you know that when NCSG members have technical questions an entire council is available to provide a solution? The NCSG Technical Advisory Council is probably one of the benefits most taken for granted. As a member of the NCSG, you are welcome to forward your toughest technical questions to any of the ten members of the Technical Advisory Council. When you contact these experts, please take a moment to thank them for volunteering to serve on the NCSG Technical Advisory Council. We are fortunate to have their expertise available to our membership. Each of the following individuals are available via email and phone (see the Guild’s Resource Page at the front of each issue of Sweeping for a list of areas of expertise and contact information). Your Technical Advisory Council members have volunteered to help you while they continue to manage and work at their own businesses. So keeping this in mind when you have future questions please be patient and allow the TAC members time to return your call or email.

Dennis Dobbs Fort Payne, AL

Advice given by NCSG’s Technical Advisory Council (TAC) reflects best practices of the chimney sweeping industry with other considerations involved.

A. Bart Ogden Wichita, KS

Thanks to these industry experts who have made themselves available to answer your toughest questions:

Chris Prior Middle Grove, NY Randy Brooks Ojai, CA James Brewer Chesapeake, VA John Pilger Smithtown, NY

Fred Joy Hoyt, KS Jay Walker Hope Valley, RI Rich Martinez Algonquin, IL


Dates & Events March 1, 2, & 3, 2011 Online Codes & Standards Quizzes Available For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA. org/quiz

April 5, 2011 Owatonna, MN Copperfield Reline Workshop For more information, please call (800) 256-1926 or email tech@

March 4, 2011 Salt Lake City, Utah- HPB Expo CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA. org

April 8, 2011 Tallahassee, FL CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit

March 4, 2011 CSIA Technology Center CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review & Exam For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA. org March 7-13, 2011 Online CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit March 7-13, 2011 Online CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review For more information, call (317) 837-5362 or visit March 14-18, 2011 Online Health & Safety Week For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA. org/safetyweek March 21-25, 2011 Online SIA eLearning For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA. org March 21-25, 2011 CSIA Technology Center Installing and Troubleshooting Woodburning Hearth Appliances For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA. org March 29, 2011 Parsippany, NJ Copperfield Reline Workshop For more information, please call (800) 256-1926 or email tech@ March 31, 2011 Cleveland, OH Copperfield Reline Workshop For more information, please call (800) 256-1926 or email tech@ April 4, 5, 6, & 7, 2011 Online Codes & Standards Quizzes Available For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA. org


April 9, 2011 Tallahassee, FL CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review & Exam For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit April 11-17, 2011 Online CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review For more information, call (317) 837-5362 or visit April 11-17, 2011 Online CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review For more information, call (317)-837-5362 or visit April 11-16, 2011 CSIA Technology Center National Chimney Sweep Training School For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA. org/NCSTS April 18-24, 2011 Wildacres Retreat - Asheville, Noth Carolina Masonry Heater, Bake Oven, and Masonry Skills Workshop For more information contact Richard Smith at (520) 883-0191 or Also see for further details. April 18-22, 2011 Online Health & Safety Week For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit www.CSIA. org/safetyweek April 19, 2011 Manchester, NH Copperfield Reline Workshop For more information, please call (800) 256-1926 or email tech@ April 21, 2011 Hamburg, PA Copperfield Reline Workshop For more information, please call (800) 256-1926 or email tech@ Please send notice of your events for NCSG Dates & Events listings at for inclusion here, in weekly posts to the discussion list and online at The event must be considered educational or informative for the industry (sales events and open houses will not be listed).



The Places You’ll Go!


“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has overcome trying to succeed.” -Booker T. Washington

ight years ago I wrote my first column for Sweeping magazine. I began with the words, “With the dawn of a new day comes new opportunities.”

it. I am not someone who dwells on the past, but instead looks to the future. As the infamous George Bernard Shaw once said, “Some people look at the past and ask, ‘Why?’ I look to the future and ask, ‘Why not?’”

Admittedly, I was being poetic as I set out in my new role as the Guild’s Executive Director. However, as I look back at the emergence of that era and recall what was going on in my relative neophyte brain at the time, I recognize similarities to the world in which we live in 2011.

As you awake to a new day in your own business, I encourage you to consider the possibilities. Are you where you want to be? Are you headed in the right direction? Do you know what direction that is?

Over the past eight years we have seen some of the toughest financial challenges most of us have seen in relatively modern economic times. But now, by many measures, we are slowly but surely turning the corner to a new horizon. So in the spirit of this greener world we live in, I thought I’d recycle some of my comments from 96 months ago and see if they ring true as we seize the opportunities that lay ahead today. I believe in learning from yesterday, but I don’t want to lean on

Success does not happen by accident. You need to plan. I submit to each of you that you have the opportunity to do just that, regardless of where you think you’ve been or the weight you’ve felt on your shoulders these past few years. Do you have goals? What are they based on? Are they realistic? For example, let’s say you want to increase your sales by twenty percent this year. Why twenty percent? Given your current resources, is that type of increase realistic? If not, can you FEBRUARY/MARCH 11 SWEEPING 33

change the level of resources you have, or the way you have them allocated? If you cannot, then perhaps you need to revisit your goal. Are your goals clearly defined? Are you clear enough on what it is that you are trying to accomplish that you can succinctly explain it to your employees and customers? Are your goals measurable? Do you have checkpoints along the way that enable you to assess whether or not you are making progress? Setting goals can certainly represent a risk. Ask yourself if you can afford that risk. Perhaps even more importantly, ask yourself if you can afford not taking the risk. Never stop asking questions. Ask yourself, and ask others. Learning is a continuous activity. The brightest business leaders in history have been students of their own business. They don’t operate in a shell, but rather learn from each other. Make each day an opportunity. An opportunity to learn; an opportunity to refine your goals; an opportunity to take new risks; an opportunity to make the most out of your business; an opportunity to make the most out of life.

John F. Kennedy once remarked, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.” Or, if you prefer the serenity of Buddha, “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” We wrapped up a great convention this year under a theme motivated by the eternal optimist Dr. Seuss. “Oh the Place You’ll Go!” This year’s convention was not about dwelling on the past, crying on each other’s shoulders, figuring out how to survive, or in any other way trying to merely keep our heads above water. No, it was about moving on, turning a page, and seeing the sun rising on the horizon. If it were The Sound of Music, we would have all chimed in on an inspired and rousing chorus of “Climb Every Mountain.” Our destiny is in our hands and it’s time we take control. Sure times have changed over the past eight years, but, in more ways than not, the message today is the same as it was then. This is the dawn of a new day, and we have nothing but opportunity ahead of us. As I leave you this month I do so with the words of the beloved Dr. Seuss himself: “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!” Until next time, I wish you every success!


Darwin Awards Have you snapped a photo of a peculiar chimney in your area that made you shake your head in disbelief? Send it to Melissa Heeke at for publication in Sweeping. Or, mail it to NCSG, 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168. This is a homeownerís idea of an all fuel chimney installation. In actuality itís a 6î type B gas vent serving a wood burning stove. The wall pass through consists the B vent being shoved through a hole cut into the wall. Notice the nice vinyl siding trim around the exterior pipe. The charred interior wood trim is cut to fit nicely around the pipe as well. Homeowner couldnít figure out why the stack was blocked. In fact the interior aluminum had melted into a nice ball at the first 90 degree elbow. Submitted by Steven Pool of Top Hat Industries, Inc. in Omaha, NE

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New Supplier Member

Innovative Chimney Liner Manufacturer Offers a Wealth of Experience, Products and Originality New England Chimney Supply is a new company, but its leadership is made up of trusted individuals who have earned the respect of their peers in the chimney industry.The New England Chimney Supply team brings more than 70 years of combined experience in the chimney industry to you. Pierre Simmard and John Parot have built their reputations based on their knowledge and expertise in the chimney liner supply business. “We are on big family at New England Chimney Supply and we bring family values to our business.We sincerely care about you, about your customers and about our products. We promise 3 things: (1) That we have what it takes to make ‘our’ homes safe. (2) We will make your jobs easier. (3) Doing business with us will be enjoyable!”


5 Gallons Now you can get a special 6 gallon size of ChimneySaver Water Repellent for the price of a 5 gallon. Available at our Participating Distributors while supplies last. 800-860-6327 36 SWEEPING FEBRUARY/MARCH 11

Classifieds Gotta chimney question? Sizing? Codes? Call Royal Edwards! Make Royal your tech department. CALL NOW 813-982-0219 for on-call tech support. Continuing Education special bonus – ask how you can get the Friday morning E-Blast for FREE.

GasVent Software for Sizing Chimneys only $195 Call 1-800-648-9523 for more info and visit to download a free trial version. The Chimney Sweeps Association of Ireland would like to extend a céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes) to sweeps who would like to join us as International or Supplier members. All members receive a certificate, badge and their company details will be uploaded and linked to NCSG members receive a $50 discount. For further information please contact patrick@

CLASSIFIED ADS FREE FOR NCSG MEMBERS Members can run one 35 word classified free each year! Regularly classified ads are $2/word or $1/word for NCSG members. Classified ads are non-commissionable and must be pre-paid. To place a classified ad, please contact Megan McMahon at or (317) 837-1500.

Save the Date!

NCSG Innovation 2012 February 15-18 Orlando, Florida

National Chimney Sweep Guild 2155 Commercial Drive Plainfield, IN 46168

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10:40 AM

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WE HAVE 316L & 316TI IN STOCK (All UL Listed)


The busy season is officially upon us and it’s time to stock up material and save! If you’re buying in bulk and not buying from us, then you’re paying too much! With the newest machinery available in the industry, no one else can produce a higher quality product in mass quantity than Lifetime Chimney Supply!

Come see why over 650 chimney professionals choose Lifetime over the competition. 132 Dupont Street, Plainview, NY 11803-1603 877.234.PIPE • 516.576.8144

February/March 2011  

Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney & Venting Technology