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July 2012 Volume 36 #6

Table of Contents Features 14 Selecting the Right Stainless Steel


Chimney Liner

16 PA Chimney Sweep Guild Donates Time and Talent to Local Scout Camps

18 MIX Group Members Can Thrive in a Down Economy

27 2012 Chimney Service Industry Survey Findings Now Available

28 The Best Technology P.29

Departments 3 Moving Forward 6 Editor’s Letter 8 Technical Q&A 10 Industry Watch P.31

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

12 The Coach’s Corner 20 Progressive Perks 26 New NCSG Members 29 Perspective 31 Darwin Awards 31 Ad Index 32 Dates & Events 32 Classifieds JULY 12 SWEEPING 1



Committee Chairs and Task Forces for 2012-2013 Bylaws Diane Pilger (631) 863-2460

Governance Randy Brooks (805) 646-8961

NFPA 211 Representative Randy Brooks (805) 646-8961

Convention Site Selection Diane Pilger (631) 863-2460

Government Affairs Phil Mitchell (603) 659-7776

NFPA 31 Representative John Pilger (631) 863-2460

Discussion List Bo Tasso (815) 645-8103

International Relations Steve Pietila (503) 644-0393

NFPA 54 Representative Jim Brewer (757) 523-2400

Ethics Mark Stoner (615) 459-2546

Long Range Planning Diane Pilger (631) 863-2460

Public Awareness Task Force TBD

Finance Mark Maynard (920) 830-1920

Membership Bob Ferrari (530) 221-3331

Technical Advisory Council Dennis Dobbs (256) 845-9814

To contact any member of the Technical Advisory Council, please call (317) 203-0088 and select the extension for the person who is best qualified to answer your question: Dennis Dobbs Technical Advisory Council Chair Installation or Service of Direct Vent Gas Appliances 317-203-0088 x: 1

Jim Brewer Gas Venting and NFPA 54 317-203-0088 x: 3 John Pilger Oil Flue Sizing, Relining or NFPA 31 317-203-0088 x: 4

Fred Joy Installation and Venting of Pellet Stoves 317-203-0088 x: 7 Jay Walker Dryer Vents 317-203-0088 x: 8 Rett Rasmussen Vented and Vent Free Gas Logs and Controls 317-203-0088 x: 9

Randy Brooks IRC, NFPA 211 or Customer Communications 317-203-0088 x: 5 Bart Ogden Stainless Steel Lining, Video Scanning and Narrative Report Writing 317-203-0088 x: 6

Rich Martinez Dryer Vents or Masonry 317-203-0088 x: * Rich Rua General Sweeping or Relining 317-203-0088 x: 0

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. © 2012 National Chimney Sweep Guild, 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168 (317) 837-1500


President, Region 3 Jay Walker (850) 562-4692 • Vice President At-Large Diane Pilger (631) 863-2460 • Treasurer, Region 5 Mark Maynard (920) 830-1920 • Secretary Jeremy Biswell (913) 236-7141 • Region 1 Phil Mitchell (603) 659-7776 •


Chris Prior Masonry Construction and Restoration and Priorfire Fireboxes 317-203-0088 x: 2


Region 2 Bob Fleer (410) 544-7600 • Region 4 Ken Hoelscher (937) 833-0505 • Region 6 Bob Ferrari (530) 941-5818 • At-Large Directors Dennis Dobbs (256) 845-9814 • Fred Joy (785) 986-6432 • Supplier Representative Edmund Poplawski (570) 504-7107 •

STAFF 2155 Commercial Drive Plainfield, IN 46168 (317) 837-1500 Fax: (317) 837-5365 Mark McSweeney, CAE Executive Director Melissa Heeke, CAE Director of Communications & Marketing

Megan McMahon Office Manager

Ashley Eldridge, COI, CPP Director of Education

Debbie Cornelius Membership Development Coordinator

Candice Bradbury Director of Finance

Donna Lee Kasmer Program Coordinator


Moving Forward




Quality Gu


of NCSG’s communication avenues to its members. That being, ello from the Sunshine State of Florida! On my automated phone call recordings. Please realize, these are done travels, when a new acquaintance comes into my only a couple times a year from NCSG. Usually, one from me as life, they often first ask what business I’m in. I Guild President a couple months before the annual convention, boast out “Chimney Sweep!” Then, with a smile, and another after our long range planning meeting from your the next question is: “How do YOU fit down a chimney?” My regional director. I have heard nothing but good feedback next reply would be, “I don’t, – but we can send a digital camera from members on this communication device. Yes, I am sure up your chimney to take a close look. When would you like there are some that do not like it, but I wanted everyone to be to schedule?” What’s really funny is if this new acquaintance is rest assured that we are aware of the possibility of doing it too from a Northern climate, when they find out I’m from Florida, I much. If you’re like me, your gander gets up when you pick can see the gears turning in their minds. Yes, there are enough up the phone and it’s a recording. Most of the time for me it’s chimneys in Florida to make a business. a campaign from a politician or something to the sorts. Once I’m sure every one of you has some sort of similar familiar I hear it’s from someone I know and from the industry I love, question and answer dialog with new people you meet. Luckily, it’s not such a surprise to many about being a chimney sweep as it was just ten years ago. It seems that the majority of people would have thought you were joking when you told them you were a “chimney Sweep”. I believe that says something about NCSG’s mission. – Public Awareness comes in many fashions. It comes from the new media (good and bad), consumer articles, word of mouth and now the media that seems to have the most impact is social media. Just today, John Maxwell reports how social media has snowballed into keeping your name out there and getting people talking about you and using you or your business as a reference. If you’re like me, I have a Facebook page, but I don’t utilize it to its potential, not even a smidgen. Some people just don’t want to spend what’s most precious to them – time. Perhaps, if you’re able, you designate someone to do it for you. Having people on Quick Turnaround . Custom Looks . Great Pricing your team to increase your presence Find Us On 8/12 Hip Lid On Square Caps. and your value is a very real marketing 8/12 Hip & Ridge Lid On Rectangular Caps. avenue in today’s society. Can you get 2.5” or 4.5” Overhang people to follow your Twitter stream? ☺ nteed 87 Stock Sizes, and 174 Designer Lid Sizes, All Ship Within 1-2 Days. ara Flexible Mounting Flanges Accommodate Uneven Crowns. IN TH Recently, there was discussion on the Call: 800.335.2534 Click: NCSG internet list about the use one M

I smile and listen to the message and, most of the time, I listen to it again. We have sent these messages around 6:00pm, to hopefully not interrupt work schedules and to hopefully get to a voice mail or recorder, so that you can listen to our communication at your leisure. This message also can be listened to on the NCSG web site, just by clicking on the hyperlink message. In the day and time we live, everyone wants conveniences and ease of use. Hopefully, you understand, our reaching out to you is to keep your informed and aware that that NCSG is always working for its members. Very soon, you will be hearing about a new online NCSG Scrapbook. We are creating a designated site on the NCSG web site for people to post old pictures, notes, articles, etc. Our hopes will be to hopefully preserve some of the history of the pioneers and events in the past history. Keep your eyes open for some direction to send in your old photos and commentary. Last month, I wrote this President’s message just before our Governance board development combo meeting with CSIA and our outside facilitator. I had the pleasure to see this facilitator once before years ago during Steve Pietilia’s term as President. This education was very enlightening and instrumental in helping the board at that time make changes and improve its systems. It’s always very beneficial to seek to improve your


systems and the way you do things. Even though the tide may be calm and steady, you still need to be better-prepared and continue to tweak your systems. The easiest way to do this is from an outside person that looking in, as it’s hard to see the big picture at times when you are in the mix of the equation. Ask yourself, “Do you have an emergency plan if you don’t come to work?” Are there systems in place, so that others can step in and run things efficiently if you’re gone? Are there checks and balances and duplicity in your daily work? There are a list of changes and implementations that will take place again and my hope is that the NCSG board will continue to seek outside education on annual basis, to not only steer the ship in the right direction, but to increase the value of becoming a board member. My father just retired due to health reasons. He was an optometrist for 57 years and just turned 84 last January. Whenever someone asked him about his work ethic, he always responded that if you love what you do it is never “work”, it’s like being on vacation all the time. Ask yourself, “Do you love what you do? Do you know your 30 second elevator speech when someone asks you about your life or business? “ As always, sweeps luck to you and your family, and God Bless. Jay K. Walker President

OLYMPIA AD ‘LIGHT’YEARS AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION Introducing HYBRID, the new Chimney Liner from Olympia. n No memory and is more flexible than other liners. n Smooth interior for less turbulence and better draft. n Ability to downsize the diameter of the liner in certain applications or instances. n Can be ovalized and coiled for easy handling.

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Editor’s Letter



very once in awhile, a huge project comes your way. One of the huge projects that has come our way since last summer is an industry-wide survey. From selecting a research firm, introducing the firm to the industry and the industry’s terminology and determining what we needed to know versus what we wanted to know, delving into the results from the perspective of one organization and then a second, understanding the results of the survey and then distributing those results systematically, the project was a big one. What did we learn? We learned that the average gross revenue per full-time employee (FTE) is higher among active NCSG members at $102,500, considerably higher than the gross revenue per FTE for former members ($89,900) and never members ($76,300). We learned that the industry is younger than we thought. The average respondent reports a mean age of 48.4 years, having


first become a professional a mean of 18.1 years ago and joining their current company 17.2 years ago. This is where you come in. This project isn’t complete. We’ll take those results in mind when we develop programs for the industry. We’ll also share those results with you as a comparison point for your own businesses. How does your company stack up? The results will likely be shared with media, affiliated organizations and entrepreneurs looking to enter the industry for the next several years. Check out the brief on page 27 to learn more about the survey’s findings and how to get the complete survey results. All the best for a safe and successful summer!

Technical Q&A



Can we as sweeps contribute

to the green movement?


Recently I have had a couple of lengthy conversations with an EPA representative; initially his view of our industry was that we only cleaned out chimneys. I explained that we do so much more, such as educating the homeowner on improved burning techniques that increase combustion efficiency which in turn reduces emissions. Our contributions to the green movement add up very quickly when you give some helpful tips like the following to your homeowners. Just these few things can greatly reduce the


emissions produced by a wood burning appliance. • Split firewood into smaller pieces • Burn only seasoned wood • Proper wood storage (keeps firewood off the ground and covered, preferably in a wood shed) • Proper flue size for the appliance • Proper chimney height • Routine maintenance • Instruct the home owner how to use a moisture meter

Also, today’s wood stove manufacturers recommend that your wood fuel should have a moisture content of 20% or less. This is the recommended moisture content for the latest generation of high-efficiency stoves.

Industry Watch Lindemann Chimney Co. Welcomes New National Sales Manager

enthusiasm and drive. I am excited to have him on board!” Samples enjoys spending time with his wife, Dawn and their three daughters; Desiree, Brooke and Autumn. They love traveling, camping and doing things together as a family. He also enjoys Crossfit, bicycling and being labeled “Old Faithful” as he supports his daughter “Whispering Waters” in their Indian Princess club. Samples also coaches soccer for six-year olds.

Lindemann Chimney Co. is proud to announce the addition of Matt Samples as the companies’ National Sales Manager. Samples will be responsible for sales team leadership, networking with customers, helping customers grow their business and will contribute to product and vendor selection. Samples comes to Lindemann with a long history of sales leadership in financial sales, medical devices as well as other businesses. He brings to the Lindemann Team excitement, energy and a positive attitude. “We are very excited to have Matt on board” says CEO Rob Lindemann. “He radiates enthusiasm for his job and aligns with our companies’ core values.” When asked why Samples chose Lindemann he said “I was drawn to the leadership at the top of the company. It infiltrates the company and is laid out and defined in the company’s core values. I see Lindemann as a leader in the industry on the cutting edge and am enthused about helping grow the company.” Jeff Wiles, President of Lindemann is also excited about Matt joining the team. “He is exactly who we have been looking for to complete our line-up for our team. Matt brings to the team

Samples can be reached at or on his cell phone at 630-800-5673. 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 mheeke@ 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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Coach’s Corner


We Train Our People At Our Training Center, Not at Your Home


ey it is mid-point of the year as you read this month’s issue, and the thought comes to mind today, what have you done over the first part of the year as far as the analysis of your business model? What have you implemented within your business to take your business to the level you envisioned it to be when you started it? What time have you invested to work on your business? Take time to reflect a few moments on these important facets of management. I will credit Al Levi, the keynote speaker at this year’s NCSG convention with the thought he expressed of the need for each and every company to step up their training efforts. The thought process went even deeper than many had ever considered and this invoked the concept that a part of each company’s operation should be an in-house training center. This so instead of training our staff members on our client’s homes, rather we train them in our own training centers. A radical thought perhaps, but one that holds merit from so many angles for improvement of the business model. From the aspect of marketing the services and products, his thought process of “we train our people at our training center, not in your home” is a thought process that has tremendous potential to each person who listens and each business that implements the advice. As you view your own frustrations in running your business, how often does the frustration boil down quite simply to an employee who either does not understand or perhaps simply does not get it? How much is the waste to the company and the cost of a call back? What is the loss from a sale where the need cannot be envisioned or the knowledge to do the repair or installation simply does not exist? This, my friends, is a major issue with too many businesses that operate each and every day. And one of the leading roadblocks to the dreams we established when we started the business.


I have watched as successful sweeps, sweeps that see their businesses growing, and growing dramatically, are taking this plunge to the “next level” as a part of overall business plan. They are stepping up the investment in training, not only with the in-house center, but also in dedicating the time necessary to do the training, as training does take time. But as with any proper investment the payoff can well be huge. The added payoff may well be that the staff member(s) actually start to “buy into” the strategies and the goals of the business owner and the business, dreams can start to become realities! But for the training to have true value, it falls upon the business owner to either become the trainer or have a qualified person who is in-house and can present the training. Perhaps one alternative is to go outside the company and bring in a qualified instructor. Likely the qualified instructor, even though it is an expense, may have a profound effect on the business by introducing new and more efficient principles. It is also likely that an outside instructor may identify incorrect practices that have crept into the everyday operation of the business, practices that may be time consuming, hazardous and ultimately have an adverse effect on the bottom line. However if an outside instructor is utilized, this must be followed up by the development of the systems to insure compliance with the skills that have been shared. Bringing in a trainer and then management straying from the concepts and principals will have a negative effect on the potential benefits! The failure of management to stay the course is a very damaging force and can wreak havoc! There are also alternative ways this can be done. With the online methods that are so simple today, such as Skype and GoTo-Meeting, video training is a very simple proposition. This can involve an instructor doing the instruction live, but from a remote location. This simply will involve the downloading of

software (usually free), compatible hardware, a cam on each end, and either a large television or projector and screen. With proper planning these can be offered as classes with CEUs to validate the recertification process! There are also various on line presentations available, these available from many sources. Likely most notable, NFI with its on-line library, and CSIA with their scheduled on line offerings are two excellent sources. NFI also offers one free on line training each month when it is recorded for their library. The key thing is education will be like fertilizer for your work force. It will stop the work force from withering as a plant does in a drought, or when cold weather descends upon us. Education will be the food that will build the brain power for your work force. Education will lower their fears of tasks, and will open your business up to new services, new products, and the ability to tackle these and to come out in a profitable mode, all the while increasing your business value and equity.

So hopefully this is a thought process that can assist you, and your company, as you make the move to the next level. However, in order to derive the benefit, you have to take aim, and you have to fire the guns. But is the implementation of this concept the one that may take you to the level you want to go and help you reach the goals that you started your business to achieve? It is all about you my friend, all about you! About the Author: Jerry Isenhour is an industry consultant and coach who authors a monthly article in Sweeping as a service to the industry. For more information about Jerry and how he can assist you individually and your business in your quest for success and you ascent to the next level, take a look at his web site He can be contacted at or by phone at (704) 425-0217. You can also obtain great business tips from his Facebook page Chimney & Venting Consultants.


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Selecting the Right Stainless Steel Chimney Liner The chimney relining industry has evolved drastically over the last ten years. Years ago there were only a handful of chimney liner manufacturers. Although there was competition among these manufacturers, there was enough business available to sustain all of these companies. The competition was fairly friendly so pricing was for the most part steady and fluctuated mainly with the price of stainless steel. Today, all of this has changed. This change was both good and bad for the chimney relining industry. The catalyst for this change was a tidal wave of new chimney liner manufacturers. These new manufacturers range from a garage business that sells strictly to locals to a full-bore manufacturer that sells via the internet nationwide. The internet helped spark this boom which made way for anyone with enough capital to purchase a liner machine to sell nationwide without extensive overhead and expensive marketing. The good brought about from this boom is competitive pricing for the chimney liner buyer. The cost of liners has dropped drastically over the last few years and this is a direct result of new suppliers and fierce competition. With good usually comes bad and the bad this time is unfortunately very bad. This fierce competition has led many manufacturers to cut costs. Liner machines typically cannot run any faster so the only option is cheaper material. Cheaper material, when used incorrectly, can lead to premature failures which will eventually give your service company a bad name. Today the go-to for chimney liner material is 316Ti. This is now changing as suppliers now offer 304, 316, 316L, 316Ti, AL 29-4C and Asian conglomerates that do not meet the criteria for any of these stainless steels. Now more than ever it is important to learn how to select the right liner for the right job. Often times this can be difficult because you never know what the homeowner is burning. When in doubt stick with the gold standard. 316Ti is more expensive than any of the above mentioned stainless steels but it will last longer especially in high heat and corrosive conditions. Why will it last longer? To answer this we need to have a basic understanding of stainless steel and metallurgy.


“Stainless steel” is the generic name for a number of different iron-based alloys used primarily for their resistance to corrosion. The one key element that they all share is a certain minimum percentage (by mass) of chromium: 10.5%. Although other elements, particularly nickel and molybdenum are added to improve corrosion resistance, chromium is always the deciding factor. When an ordinary piece of steel is exposed to air and water it corrodes forming a brown iron oxide, commonly called rust. This iron oxide layer is not protective and eventually the entire piece of steel will corrode and be converted to rust. But when enough chromium is added to ordinary steel it will mix with oxygen at a molecular level and form a very thin corrosive resistant film. This film is called chromium oxide and is only about 130 Angstroms thick (1 Angstrom= one millionth of a centimeter). The chromium oxide layer that forms on stainless steel is described as: • Passive: Does not react with other materials • Tenacious: Clings to the layer of steel and will not transfer elsewhere • Self-renewing: If damaged or removed by force more chromium from the steel will be exposed to the air and form additional chromium oxide. The above characteristics allow stainless steel to be machined, formed, sharpened, or worn away without loosing its anticorrosive properties. “Prime Metal” is certified to ASTM (American Society for Testing & Materials) standards and is delivered with a certification sheet verifying its properties. This certificate of conformance has important information that includes the name of manufacturer, name of the buyer, date, type of metal, what ASTM standards it was tested to, heat treatment number, coil number, physical properties and a list of elements by mass. This ensures that the metal has been tested and meets all of the specifications necessary to be called a certain class of stainless steel. This is our number one defense to purchasing “fake” overseas metals that are typically much cheaper than their American counterpart. Not all overseas mills are bad. There are many reputable European and Asian steel mills. If you are skeptical

about a certain brand of liner and want to be sure that you are getting what you pay for, then ask the manufacturer for a copy of their latest metal certification. Any reputable manufacturer will gladly offer up a copy of their metal certifications. In fact any liner manufacturer that has a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listing is required to keep copies of their metal certification for UL inspection. UL inspectors make quarterly inspections to ensure that a listed product is still being manufactured according to the listing. There are over 100 stainless steel alloys. We will only discuss a few of them that are related to the chimney industry. Alloys containing chromium and nickel are classified as 300 series. The most common of which is type 304 stainless steel. It is often called 18-8 stainless because it contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. In the annealed condition they are essentially nonmagnetic, although some may become slightly magnetic by cold working (forming on a liner machine). The magnet will not stick but you will feel a slight pull if it has been cold worked. 300 series stainless have excellent corrosion resistance and good formability. Type 316 differs from 304 by having slightly less chromium and the addition of molybdenum. The molybdenum increases its corrosion resistance and provides increased strength at elevated temperatures. Type 316 stainless has particularly good resistance to sulfuric (coal), hydrochloric, and tartaric acids. Type 304 and 316 stainless can be susceptible to sensitization which is the formation of grain boundary chromium carbides at temperatures between 900 and 1500º F. Sensitization can result in rapid corrosion. The addition of titanium stabilizes the structure against chromium carbide precipitation (the cause of sensitization). This allows the alloy to be used at elevated temperatures for extended periods of time. Over firing can certainly subject a liner to temperatures above 900ºF and this will shorten the useful life of a standard 304 or 316 liner. Keep in mind that 316 offers higher strength and better creep resistance at higher temperatures than 304. 316 also possesses excellent mechanical and corrosion properties at sub-zero temperatures. When there is a danger of corrosion in the heataffected zones when welding, the low-carbon variety 316L should be used. Stainless steel 316L is a Chromium-Nickel stainless steel with added molybdenum to increase corrosion resistance and mechanical properties. It is non-magnetic in the annealed condition and cannot be hardened by heat treatment. 316Ti Stainless Steel is a stainless steel alloy with a small amount of Titanium (minimum 5x % (Carbon + Nitrogen) added. Its composition allows it to resist acids and the stresses of hot and cold cycles. It can be used with solid fuels (wood, coal and pellet), gas and oil. It can withstand temperatures up to 2100°F. It is used for its resistance to sensitization during prolonged exposure in the 1000F-1500ºF temperature range.

As a general rule, stainless steel does not like chlorides. Chlorides cause pitting which leads to rapid corrosion. Chlorides are found in a variety of substances such as salt, detergents, cleaners, many types of soot and creosote removers, fertilizer and moisture removing substances. For this reason it is important to educate homeowners not to burn trash and other substances that may contain chlorides. Superferritic stainless steel (AL294C) was developed in the 1980s by Allegheny Ludlum (thus the AL prefix) for power plant tubing. Sea water is used to cool power plants and the sodium chloride in the salt water attacks most varieties of stainless steel. AL294C and other similar superferritic alloys have a greater percentage of chromium and molybdenum which greatly improves its corrosion resistance to chloride pitting. The increased levels of chromium and molybdenum also make this stainless steel very expensive. AL294C is not recommended for solid fuels due to undesirable changes to the alloys structure at elevated temperatures. AL294C is often specified for high efficiency appliances. These types of appliances are cooler and create exceptionally high amounts of moisture which in turn promotes the formation of corrosive acids. Below is a summary of which liner materials are better suited for certain types of fuel. Material

Best Suited for:


High Efficiency Gas or Corn

304 or 304L

Woodburning Appliances

316, 316L or 316Ti

 oal, Oil, Gas and Woodburning C applications

In the end it will pay off to learn about these steels and to educate the homeowner so they can make the right choice, even though the correct choice often costs more money. Please keep in mind that the stainless steel strip used to make chimney liners is typically only .005” or .006” thick. It would matter much less if the liners were .024” thick, but since they are not; using the best material is obviously the best choice. Homeowners will often say “Why purchase the more expensive liner when both of them have a lifetime warranty?” It is important to remind yourself and to educate the homeowner that theses warranties only cover the cost of the replacement liner. Either the homeowner or you will have to cover the labor and none of this will repair the damage to your reputation for installing what they think is a bad liner. Homeowners can review liner pricing at the touch of their finger tips on the internet. But in the end, your knowledge and service level can ultimately prevail over cost. About the Author: Steve Penatzer is the Operations Manager for Olympia Chimney Supply where he has worked for the past four years. Before joining Olympia’s staff, Steve worked as a plant manager for a metals/glass manufacturer.



PA Chimney Sweep Guild Donates Time and Talent to local Scout Camps


he chimney sweep community has always been very charitable and always looking to help out. The Pennsylvania Guild of Professional Chimney Sweeps is a perfect example of this. The PA Guild hosted their 15th annual charity workshop in May. The Guild’s workshops benefit Boy and Girl Scout camps with chimneys in need of repair and/or restoration. These camps are often neglected (and under-financed) and the chimneys are usually in pretty bad shape.

This year the charity event took place May 10-12 at Camp Anderson, a Boy Scout camp in Tyrone, PA. As in the past, there was no cost to the Boy Scouts or to Camp Anderson as the labor, tools and travel expenses were all donated by the sweeps of the PA Guild of Professional Chimney Sweeps and the individual sweep companies. The members of the guild donate their time and talent, while some chimney supply companies (Olympia Chimney Supply, Saver Systems, National Chimney, etc.) donate tools and parts to upgrade the chimneys. The cost of repairs with supplies and labor are estimated at $25,000-30,000. There were several chimney sweeps from all over the state of Pennsylvania as well as some from out of state. The guild encourages family members to attend and this year several wives and children were in attendance. Camp Anderson had three chimneys in need of repair. The repairs donated included two wood stove inserts (including the installation of stainless steel liners), a free- standing wood stove with Class ‘A’ chimney installed, several firebox rebuilds, one flue repaired with a ceramic coating application, assorted exterior masonry repairs and outdoor fire-pits built. This year’s event also included a pig roast, band, cake and top down bonfire to celebrate the 15year anniversary of the charity events. The PA Guild feels this is the perfect way to give back to the community we serve in. The event gives sweeps the opportunity to work with other companies and learn and discuss new strategies, ideas and tools. There are also suppliers at the events and it allows the sweeps the rare opportunity to try out new tools and products before purchasing them. The charity events are a great way to help out a worthy cause while learning and having fun!


Again thank you to all the suppliers, sweeps and friends who have attended over the years as without you the Guild could not provide the much needed services we provide to the community.


Whether it’s your first year in the business or your 21st, this is a great opportunity to help the community, see and use new products and tools, as well as meet other in the chimney sweep field. If you would like more information on the charity events or would like to attend next year’s event please feel free to visit the website www. or call Bill Thornton, Guild President at (215)540-9787.

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MIX Group Members Can Thrive in a Down Economy “Success or failure in business is caused more by the mental attitude even than by mental capacities.” – Walter Scott


n recent years, our economy has changed drastically. Many are struggling to keep their doors open and others are struggling to just maintain, let alone increase, sales and profit numbers. It’s scary. At the same time, the economy presents a great opportunity for those with the right attitude and willingness to step up to the challenge. If you can keep your attitude positive and be intentional about the changes you make in your business you will not only survive this economy but also actually be stronger and thrive once things turn around. MIX (management information exchange) groups are designed specifically to help you with this.

and July/August and are designed for company critiques; therefore they take place wherever the company being critiqued is located. They are referred to as the “host” company and are determined by a pre-set rotation.

As a member of a MIX group, you can obtain a fair, honest, topto-bottom critique of your business by peers. Other benefits include financial comparisons, training segments, the exchange of ideas on management, employee issues and marketing and most importantly, fellowship with other business owners.

The second day the host company presents a short overview of their operation. MIX members then take a tour of the host’s physical space and conduct confidential interviews with the host company’s employees. After completing the employee interviews, MIX members will take time to interview and have frank conversations with the host. MIX members will then share their observations, concerns and suggestions with the host company.

MIX is a group of (up to) twenty non-competing companies that meet twice a year with the specific goal of improving each member’s individual operation. Kirby Ragland of Chimney Saver Solutions in Richmond, VA, states, “The MIX group has initiated an extra kick in the continuing evolution of my company. My goals are set higher and I have much more support and confidence in implementing new ideas…I look forward to the challenges of growing my business and the MIX group will play an important role in that process.” There are four active MIX groups within the chimney sweeping and hearth industries. Each group is its own entity; therefore, they each have their own membership criteria and set of bylaws. However all MIX groups require participating companies to be involved in the hearth or sweep industry in either a service or retail aspect. MIX groups meet twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter. Meetings are usually held in January/February


Typical meetings will last three days. The first afternoon of each meeting is usually set aside for training or financial reviews. Bill Murphy from Hudson Valley Chimney Services, Poughkeepsie, NY observed, “Since joining the MIX group, my gross sales have grown moderately and [yet] my net income has more than doubled. Need I say more?”

MIX members will then brainstorm together and present the host company with suggestions of how to improve upon the already existing procedures and processes. Ragland experienced this first hand, “I changed the job descriptions of several technicians after my MIX group interviewed them and dug up some problems that were embedded in my approach. The change paid off almost immediately.” Mark Stoner, from Ashbusters Chimney Service Inc. in Smyrna, TN compared it to a doctor’s visit, “When the MIX group visited my business, and it was like “open heart surgery”’s tough. It’s like going to see a team of lay out all your illnesses and they come up with a plan to make you better. The main thing is YOU NEED TO DO WHAT THE DOCTOR SAYS! It’s been the single best thing I have ever done for my business.”

MIX Group Members Sound Off “As a business owner if I had to give up all conventions, workshops, seminars, etc. to stay in my MIX group I would. Nothing has allowed me to grow my business and make more money than being in MIX.” states Bill Murphy. “Since its inception, MIX has not only allowed me to develop friendships from around the country, but to take a hard look at how I do business and what steps I can take through the MIX input to improve our operational approach. This includes employee, financial/revenue, marketing and benefit decisions.” – Mark Rizzo, London Chimney Service, Inc. and Fireplace Safety Service Company in Mill Valley, CA. “Not joining this MIX group for me would be like trying to catch a shooting star with a butterfly net. Each and every one of our members has a common goal, along with a compassionate commitment to help each other with ideas to develop and improve all of our businesses beyond our wildest dreams.” - David Lamb, Northeastern Chimney LLC in West Hartford, CT. “Being part of a MIX group give me the opportunity to see things from another prospective and get the cobwebs out. We tend to do things the same way because that’s the way we always did it. There are always great ideas to take away from a meeting.” – Jeanne Smith, Lindemann Chimney Co. in Lake Bluff, IL. “Joining a MIX group was one of the best decisions I have made as a small business owner. Being able to collaborate with other small business owners who share your same challenges, frustrations, and opportunities is a priceless advantage when it comes to running a small business! Sure, there are plenty of “consultants” who may be able to give you advice on how to do things, but I have met plenty of consultants whose advice must be taken with a BIG grain of salt. Being affiliated with other small business owners who are actually implementing the ideas they are espousing is, in my mind, given more weight when it comes to implementing ideas that are new to me. In a nutshell, being a member of a strong MIX group has not only been extremely helpful, but personally motivating and fulfilling as well. The friendships and good times are cherished moments that are greatly appreciated when I attend each and every MIX meeting.... because after all… it can be lonely at the top!” – Aaron Zambrana, A to Z Chimney Sweeps in Lincoln, CA.

Another segment of the meeting is set aside for the exchange of new ideas in all areas of operations including marketing, customer service, management, etc. Jim Brewer of The Magic Sweep Corporation in Chesapeake, VA says, “My MIX group keeps me motivated to improve my business. Meeting several times a year with other business owners allows me to compare best practices in management and marketing. The meetings always give me a fresh view of some current issue that I’m dealing with…” Marc Gagne from AAA Timberline, Inc. in Clarence Center, NY looks at it this way, “Instead of relying on just the information that I gather about a subject, I can tap into a library of time tested, reliable information that my MIX group members have already gathered through the school of hard knocks.” The rest of the meeting is used for goal setting and goal accountability and if time allows, members will often invite in a guest speaker or participate in a training session. Past topics include websites, exit plans, financial planning and business building ideas. Charles Hall of Winston’s Chimney Service in Arlington, VA, believes, “Being in a MIX group has been great. When I visit a company for a critique I learn things; sometimes it’s things we are doing well at our company, but more often than not, it’s things that other companies are doing better than us. I’ve had the opportunity to ‘peek behind the curtain’ of a couple very successful companies to see what makes them tick. I always come away with a few nuggets that help my business, and the friendships are a bonus on top of that…you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You need to mimic strategies and techniques others are using successfully and tweak them to work for your company and your market. You don’t have to do it alone.” Besides the business aspect of MIX, many members, including Brewer, enjoy the camaraderie it builds. “In addition to the business angle of MIX, I’ve gotten to know a lot of great people and built lifetime friendships. My wife and I have taken many vacations with other members of our MIX and really enjoy the personal aspect as well as the business side.” The investment for each meeting is your own travel costs to and from the meeting, lodging, meals and your share of the facilitator’s fee and expenses. When asked about the investment required, Gagne stated, “It is worth 10 times the money I invest in attending the meetings we have every six months.” If you would like to learn more about how to become a member of a MIX group or have questions for current members please feel free to contact the facilitator, Hope Stevenson, at (480)353-9041 or


Progressive Perks


Reach Out, Connect and Recruit! Every time you recruit a new member you benefit. More members mean more networking opportunities, more resources and better ways to advance the profession.

membership application form so you will receive credit for:

The Member-Get-A-Member program is a way to get new members and give you, the referring sweep, a reward too and it is easy to do. Reaching out to potential new members when you interact at meetings and events is a great time to tell them why you joined the NCSG, why you continue to be a member of the NCSG and how the contacts you’ve made through NCSG have influenced you personally and professionally. Give NCSG your endorsement and invite them to join!

• FREE membership dues (equal to 1 year)

• $50.00 off membership dues for each

2 – 4* new members 5+* new members

Prefer to refer? Just send contact information to Debbie Cornelius at and she will take the next step and make sure you receive credit when they join. *New Member – has not been a member of the NCSG for at least four (4) years.

All you need to do is make sure they place your name on Item #2 Who referred you to the NCSG? line of the NCSG

2011 – 2012 SWEEPS ADVANTAGE COUPON PROGRAM Featured Coupons of the Month A very special thanks goes out to the NCSG Supplier members who participated in the 2011 – 2012 Sweeps Advantage Coupon Program! AHRENS Chimney Technique • AirJet, Division of Continental Industries • Alpha American Company BAC Sales, Inc. • Condar Company • Copperfield Chimney Supply • Duct Cleaners’ Supply • Dynacote LLC • Earthcore Industries, LLC • Enervex, Inc. (formerly Exhausto) • Firesafe Industries • Fireside Distributors, Inc. • Hearth Classics • High Stepper, LLC • HY-C Company, Inc. • Lifetime Chimney Supply • Lindemann Chimney Supply • Longleaf Lighter Company • Matters of the Hearth • Meyer Machine & Equipment • National Chimney Supply • Neuex Hearth Products • New England Chimney Supply • Olympia Chimney Supply • SaverSystems • Smoktite LLC • SNEWS - The Chimney Sweep News • Ventech Industries, Inc. • Wakefield Brush • Whitecaps • Wohler USA, Inc. • Z-Flex. Look for the 2012 – 2013 offers in the “Members Only” section of the NCSG website at These coupons will be good until June 30, 2013.


CSIA Update Publication for CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®s

CSIA Represented at OESP

Rich Rua also a presented a CSIA seminar

reached at (317) 837-5362 or dkasmer@

called Darwin Award Candidates and

By John Pilger, CSIA President

Code References. Rich showed a series

The 59th Annual Oil & Energy Service

of bad installations and the explained

And we are also excited to welcome

Providers (formerly known as NAOHSM)

the proper IRC Codes to follow. Rich did

Sharon Anderson as CSIA’s new

Trade Show and Convention was held

a great job and had the whole class’s

Program Coordinator. She brings with

on May 20 -24, 2012 in Providence, RI.


her over 15 years of administrative and customer service experience including

John Pilger of Chief Chimney Services, Inc. in Smithtown, NY and Rich Rua of A

This year’s show was smaller than

non-profit work with the State of

Traditional Sweep in Portsmouth, RI were

previous shows and floor traffic was

Indiana’s Department of Environmental

there representing the Chimney Safety

slower, but with our new approach, the

Management. Sharon is responsible for

Institute of America and CSIA Certified

quality time we spent with attendees will

CSIA event registration and sponsored

Chimney Sweeps as a program of the

pay off.

events and NCSG convention speaker questions. She can be reached at

CSIA Affiliated Trades Committee. Their

(317) 837-5362 or

message was twofold; first to educate

The 60th Anniversary OESP Trade Show

the oil service technician on what a

and Convention will be held in Hershey,

chimney sweep does and second to hire a

PA, May 19-23, 2013 and CSIA’s Affiliated

CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep to perform

Trades Committee will be there to proudly

Even More Education Options

their annual inspections and sweeping.

represent our CSIA Certified Chimney

(New Format for In-Person Classes and


Chimney Physics Online)

This year CSIA was one of the sponsors

CSIA knows that, for many sweeps,

of the iPad giveaway contest. To enter

Staff Changes

the contest, attendees had to have a card

Congrats Donna and Welcome Sharon!

you’re not making money out in the field.

stamped at 30 booths each day. When the

We are excited to welcome Donna

With this in mind, CSIA has reduced

attendee stopped by the CSIA booth, they

Kasmer to her new role as CSIA

your opportunity cost (and actual cost)

were asked a question on chimneys before

Certification Coordinator. As CSIA’s

by shortening the Chimney Physics and

their cards were stamped. John and Rich

former Education Coordinator, she offers

Inspections and Report Writing classes

would then engage them in conversation

a great deal of knowledge and experience

from three-day to two-day sessions. You

about the importance the venting system

with all of the processes associated

will spend less time out of the office and

has on how their oil-fired appliances

with administration of our certifications

you will spend less on registration for the

perform. While they were at the booth,

which will minimize the learning curve

same great education from CSIA.

attendees were given CSIA Public Safety

and service transition for CSIA’s premier

CSIA is proud to offer two new online

Brochures and their badges were scanned

programs. As Certification Coordinator,

courses. The Relining Masonry Chimneys

to collect contact information for follow-up

Donna is responsible for the CSIA

with Stainless Steel ONLINE course has

with occasional educational information

credentialing process, proctored exam

received great acclaim. And the CSIA is

about CSIA and chimneys.

requests and CEU renewals. She can be

taking it a step farther with the launch


time away from the office is time that

of a new monthly course Chimney Physics ONLINE. This five-day self-paced online course includes problems and solutions related to fireplaces, furnaces and hearth

• Installing & Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances • Installing & Troubleshooting

products of all fuel types.

Woodburning Hearth Appliances

Payment Plans Now Available for Education

• Inspection & Report Writing

CSIA has repeatedly heard that finances stand in the way of many sweeps when

• National Chimney Sweep Training School

it comes to education. At CSIA, we believe that the more you learn, the more you earn and we want to make it easier for you to learn more! CSIA will now work with

This means that course registration and

you to develop a customized payment plan to make attending CSIA education more

housing costs may be covered under the

affordable. Contact Candice Bradbury at (317) 837-5362 or for

Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill

more information on setting up direct debit payments.

(Active or Selected Reserve), the Reserve

Military Vet? CSIA Classes Approved for VA Education Benefits The following courses held at the CSIA Technology Center near Indianapolis have

Educational Assistance Program or the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program, depending on personal eligibility.

been approved for U.S. Veteran’s Administration (VA) benefits: • Chimney Physics

Since individual benefits are based on a complex formula including the dates and

Congratulations to Our New CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps

length of service, veterans must contact the Department of Veterans Affairs directly for personal eligibility information. Vets can call the National Call Center directly at (888) 442-4551 or visit the GI Bill website

Indiana Nicholas DeLucenay • Old Smokey’s Fireplace and Chimney, Inc • Clark Lake Illinois John Ladd • Lindemann Chimney • Lake Bluff Kansas Bruce LeMaire • Home Safe Hearth & Chimney • Wichita Maryland George Sebek • Mark & Buttons Chimney Sweeps Inc. • Owings Mills Calvin Pugh, III • Complete Chimneys Inc.• Severna Park Massachusetts Edward Gallagher • Rocksolid Chimney, LLC • Natick Montana Peter Richardson • Big Sky Chimney • Gallatin Gateway New Hampshire Jonathan Metcalf • Fireside Sweeps LLC • Fremont

New York Sean Rice • Ithaca Stove Works• Ithaca Pennsylvania Aaron J. Dice • Chimney Sweep Systems, Inc. • Newville Stuart Kurzendoerfer • Chimney Sweep Systems, Inc.• Newville Jason Raines • Antrim’s Complete Chimney Service • Pottstown Todd Lee Miller • Olympia Chimney Supply, Inc. • Scranton Jason Bullaro • Olympia Chimney Supply, Inc. • Scranton Virginia Garret McKivigan • Chimney Saver Solutions • Richmond Wisconsin Ryan Friederick • Center Stove & Fireplace • Richland Center Colin Fanning • Environmental Contracting Services, Inc. • Pleasant Prairie David Murray • Environmental Contracting Services, Inc. • Pleasant Prairie


Custom Education Available for Sponsorship Companies, associations and state guilds are encouraged to bring CSIA education to your meeting. Available events range from single-day CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep review and exam sessions to three-day Diagnosis and Documentation sessions. CSIA has made sponsoring events even easier with a new low minimum attendance requirement and rebates on all registrations over the minimum. We do ask that you allow at least 90 days lead-time when scheduling your sponsored event. Please contact Sharon Anderson at (317) 837-5362 for more information and to bring CSIA education to your next meeting.


CSIA Calendar of Events Schedule subject to change. Please contact CSIA prior to making travel arrangements.

CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Review and Exam February 14, 2012 | Orlando, FL March 2, 2012 | Atlanta, GA March 9, 2012 | CSIA Technology Center March 21, 2012 | Lake Bluff, IL Sponsored by Lindemann Chimney Supply April 13, 2012 | Manchester, New Hampshire 11, 2012 | Scranton, PA May 18,2012 June 1, 2011 | CSIA Technology Center June 15, 2012 | Richmond, VA July 9, 2012 | Reno, NV August 2, 2012 | CSIA Technology Center August 17, 2012 | Madison, WI September 7, 2012 | Atlantic City, NJ October 19, 2012 | Latham, NY November 2, 2012 | CSIA Technology Center

CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician Review and Exam February 14, 2012 | Orlando, FL August 3, 2012 | CSIA Technology Center In-person intensive review sessions help candidates prepare for the CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician® exam. The review sessions are not a substitute for advanced study. CSIA CEUs: 1.25-T, 1.25 CS, 1-HS, 1-CL

National Chimney Sweep Training School April 2–7, 2012 | CSIA Technology Center June 2012| CSIA Technology Center June11-16, 4–9, 2012

August 6–11, 2012 | CSIA Technology Center September 24–29, 2012 | CSIA Technology Center

In-person intensive review sessions help candidates prepare for the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® exams. The review sessions are not a substitute for advanced study.

Fundamentals of sweeping and inspection of chimney systems, equipment operation, health and safety considerations and step-by-step instruction in codes, clearances, standards and practices.

CSIA CEUs: 1.25-T, 1.25-CS, 1.25-HS, 1.25 CL

CCS CEUs: 4 T, 4 C&S, 4 C&L, 4 H&S NFI CEUs: 6 T

Chimney Physics—2 Day March 22–23, 2012 | Lake Bluff, IL Sponsored by Lindemann Chimney Supply March 23–24, 2012 | Albany, NY Sponsored by NYSCSG 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 in a twoday in-person format. CSIA CEUs: 3-T 3-CS 3-HS 3-CL

Inspection and Report Writing July 19–20, | CSIA Center August 6-72012 Arlington, VA Technology Sponsored by VACHP Chimney inspections and evaluations, report writing including regional and environmental influences, effective photo documentation, digital organization and administrative procedures. CSIA CEUs: 6-T, 6-CL

Installing and Troubleshooting Gas Hearth Appliances June 25-29, 2012 2012 |CSIA Center May 14–18, CSIATechnology Technology Center Service and installation, including appliance standards, combustion requirements, pipe sizing and installation, troubleshooting, carbon monoxide testing and fuel conversion. CEUs: 4-T 4-CS 4-HS 4-CL

Installing & Troubleshooting Woodburning Hearth Appliances July 9–13, 2012 | CSIA Technology Center Energy efficiency, appliance selection and sizing, installation of woodburning fireplaces and stoves, system operation, maintenance and troubleshooting. Subject to availability. CSIA CEUs: 4-T 4-CS 4-HS 4-CLL

Register today at or call us at (317) 837-5362.

Send us your greenhorn.

in 6 days, and we’ll send you back a pro.

You can spend weeks trying to get a new employee up to speed. In the process, you’ll have used up your valuable time, your patience, and more money than you would like to admit. Instead, send your employee to the most popular, cost-effective chimney sweep training in North America: CSIA’s National Chimney Sweep Training School. In less than a week, we’ll create an employee that you’ll be proud to send on a call – and happy to count toward your bottom line.

Classes fill quickly, so register now!

2012 DATeS:

April 2-7 April 2–7 June 11-16 June 4–9 August August 66-11 –11 September 24-29

September 24–29

At the 6-day hands-on Training School, your employee will learn: How to inspect and service chimney systems serving any fuel burning appliance.

How to be safe, with the latest health and safety equipment and methods.

How to work with residential heating appliances, including wood stoves, pellet stoves, inserts, factory-built fireplaces, central heaters and furnaces.

How to diagnose chimney performance problems: understanding draft and flow, diagnosing down drafts, flow reversals, inadequate flow, stack effects, updrafts, pressure effects and gauges.

How to navigate the International Residential Codes.

How to follow the NFPA 211 standards.

Class size is limited to ensure a ratio of no more than eight students per instructor. This small class size means that students have the opportunity for individual attention from the school’s experienced instructors, and ample opportunities for hands-on training. Because class size is limited, it is important to apply early to reserve your place.

Register today at or call us at (317) 837-5362. Take advantage of these other CSIA educational offerings that can build your business:

The online CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep review provides exam candidates with a convenient and affordable guided learning experience.

The online Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician (CDET) review provides exam candidates with a convenient and affordable guided learning experience designed to help you pass the CDET exam.





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NewNCSG Members


REGION 1 CONNECTICUT Michael Overstreet • Michael’s Chimney Service and Restoration • Vernon


SOUTH CAROLINA Philip Jantz • Jantz, Philip • Cheraw

REGION 4 OHIO Benn McNeill • Bromwell’s • Cincinnati


KANSAS Steve Neeley • A-1 Enterprises • Dighton

WISCONSIN Kevin Laughlin • Laughlin Chimney Service • Sturgeon Bay

REGION 6 CALIFORNIA Jeff Hahn • Macs Chimney Sweeping • Greenville David Templeton • Complete Sweep • Irvine Jason Aaron Palodino • Paladino Chimney Sweeps Inc. • Center Ridge IDAHO Joel King • Kings Roofing • Mountain Home

NCSG Charter Members Paul Bourque Huntsville, AL

John Cline, Menlo Park, CA

Don Leavitt San Diego, CA

Dale Meisinger, N. Augusta, SC

David Harris Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Eva B. Horton, Greenwich, CT


Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania


TEXAS Matthew Milner • Milner, Matthew • Whitesboro

Dan Wheeler Santa Rosa, CA

Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire

Alan Hisey, St. Louis, MO

Harry Richart, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

REGION 4 Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio

REGION 5 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

2012 Chimney Service Industry Survey Findings Now Available In late 2011, the National Chimney Sweep Guild and the Chimney Safety Institute of America co-sponsored an industrywide survey conducted by a Whorton Marketing & Research, a professional market research firm. We thank those responding to the survey. With close to 5,000 surveys successfully delivered between email and mail, the overall response rate to the survey was just shy of 13% making it the largest sample size and response pool either organization has ever received. The two organizations learned about how those in the industry most commonly entered the trade, the most common business approaches, financial performance, company size and makeup including market share and productivity. The survey also identified customers by source, factors inhibiting growth/profitability, changes made in the last five years and important concerns over the next five years. Additionally, the organizations gained insight on the industry’s opinion of NCSG’s membership programs and CSIA’s certification and education programs.

A sampling of the findings: • The mean average gross revenue of all respondents is $437,000. With an estimated 5,000 companies in the industry, the industry’s yearly revenues are approximately $2,185,000,000. • Respondents report a mean average of 5 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff and 2.7 trucks running at peak. A total of 31% of respondents report one FTE employee (generally themselves), while 28% report a rounded total of two FTE (1.5 to 2.4), 35% report between 2.5 and 10 FTE, and 8% report more than ten FTE. • The average gross revenue per FTE employee is higher among active NCSG members at $102,500, considerably higher than the gross revenue per FTE for former members ($89,900) and never members ($76,300). A summary of survey findings are available online at www. and and by request by contacting Melissa Heeke, NCSG and CSIA Director of Marketing & Communications at or (317) 837-5362.



The Best Technology I’m not the savviest person that ever worked in this industry, not even close. But I know one thing: the single best technology this industry has ever produced was that of relining chimneys. Why? Well you can fill in the blanks as well as I, but just to offer a few for instances:

cleaning, remains the core that is driving this industry and will continue to drive it long into the future.

1. Relining makes chimneys safer to use. It dramatically reduces the potential for fire as well as the dangers attendant to carbon monoxide.

• There remain tens of thousands of chimneys built prior to 1940 and still in use that have no tile liner at all.

2. It makes chimneys work better. That means appliances they are venting heat with much greater efficiency. 3. Some relining systems may also strengthen older chimneys, accomplishing each of the above and saving homeowners either the loss of that chimney altogether, or at the very least some expensive repairs. Remember, it’s not that people were not using unsafe chimneys all those years before this industry developed the ability to reline. No. Those chimneys were being used day in and day out during the cold season. One can only hazard a guess as to how many lost homes and lost lives can be attributed to faulty chimneys before relining was available and widely in use. But whatever your guess, it’s pretty obvious, relining technology in one stroke has saved homeowners possibly billions of dollars in energy costs as well as innumerable lives. But what’s really most amazing about relining is that the technique for the most popular form of relining, that done with stainless steel liners, is relatively simple. Perhaps not so simple that even a caveman could do it, but certainly simple enough that one can do it with even a small amount of additional training. That’s right, it isn’t rocket science or even airplane science, and there are plenty of opportunities to learn the basics. Also, the need for the application of this technology continues to be as strong as ever and undoubtedly, along with chimney


Let’s look at just a few of the reasons there are still a growing number of relining opportunities.

• Even masonry chimneys that were constructed with tile liners need to be relined when those tiles become damaged from chimney fires, earthquakes, settling of the chimney foundation, lightning, water damage, or acidic flue gasses – all common occurrences throughout North America. • Virtually any time a new heating appliance is vented into an existing masonry chimney a liner is required to maximize heating efficiency and guard against the buildup creosote. Furthermore, each of these opportunities is supported by code. I.e. under the conditions listed above, relining is required if the chimney is to remain in use. However, you can be certain awareness of and the blatant need for relining, while it is well known to all of us in the industry, is not even a small blip on the radar for the vast majority of homeowners. That’s right, believe it or not what goes on in their chimney beyond the smoke that it vents, is a matter about as well understood as the fundamentals of Quantum Mechanics. So, here’s the question for you: Are you using the best technology the chimney industry has ever developed? Are you offering this simple but necessary technology to the homeowners in your neck of the woods? And if so, are you educating your public widely about how, why, when, and where it is needed? If not, there’s no time like right now to begin.



Legacy of Leadership “Strive for Perfection…Settle for Excellence.” -The Disney Institute


any of you have heard me talk about or seen me write about the influence of Walt Disney over the years. You can imagine what a thrill it was for me to part of the Guild’s experience of finally bringing our annual convention to Orlando this past February. I’m an admitted geek when it comes to the Mouse and all that he and his creator’s legacy represent, from the thrill and wonder they instill in children to the dreams and passion they inspire in adults and business people. Last month I had a rare opportunity to participate in a Disney Institute program hosted here in Indiana called Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence. At the onset of the program, one of the facilitators, a twenty year veteran of the company remarked, “It’s not magic that makes Disney work, it’s the hard work of the cast and leadership that makes Disney magic.” That got me thinking. I’ve always been a sucker for the “magic of Disney,” and while I’ve studied plenty about what’s behind the magic, I don’t know that I had truly contemplated what really continues to deliver the magic 46 years after Walt’s death, 57 years after he opened his first park and 84 years after he created Mickey Mouse. It’s the legacy of leadership that he created and encouraged in everyone around him and has been passed down for literally generations since.

Granted, we may not all be a Walt Disney, but the real legacy he left is the realization that we all can be leaders. After all, a leader is anyone who is an influencer of change. Consider the janitor who picks up trash off the bathroom floor in a way that suggests he’s not just doing so because it’s his job, rather he’s doing so because he knows it’s the right thing to do and he takes legitimate pride in making things look better. Now consider the person that just witnessed that janitor pick up the trash, walks out the door and sees a piece of trash in the hallway or on the sidewalk, and throws the trash away subconsciously following the janitor’s lead. Doesn’t that make the janitor a leader? Emphasizing the impact one average person can have on a leadership movement, there’s a great short video on You Tube called “The First Follower.” The video and the dialogue behind it were featured as a TED Conference talk in 2010, but the key to the story wasn’t as much about the average guy who had the guts to stand alone and start the “movement” as it is about the first guy to join him and dare to follow; the influence the first follower had on what would become a large movement. That first follower was, in fact, a leader himself who influenced change in the others around him. I won’t tell you any more about it, as it’s worth the three minute investment of your time to check it out for yourself. JULY 12 SWEEPING 29

So it’s all about influencing change. It’s surely no surprise to anyone reading this article that in today’s business climate, change is guaranteed and constant. To truly succeed and thrive, we can’t simply react to change; we have to anticipate change and be proactive. Reflecting back on what has become known in Disney history as “The Transition Years” following the deaths of Walt and, five years later, Roy Disney, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner said this about change: “It may seem easier for our life to remain constant. However, change, really, is the only constant. We cannot stop it and we cannot escape it. We can let it destroy us or we can embrace it. We must embrace it.” In the program I attended, the Institute suggests there are four key functions that any leader must perform. And keep in mind, leadership is not automatically instilled by one’s title. Leadership is instilled by one’s actions; so anyone has the capacity to be a leader. First, a leader has a vision for the future. It may be grand or it may be relatively small, but it’s a vision none-the-less. He or she knows the change that needs to occur and communicates that vision with passion. Think of a change needed in your own business. Are you able to effectively communicate your vision to everyone who needs to know it? Second, a leader can identify and articulate what needs to get done to bring about the change that is sought, and is able mold

their operations accordingly and identify the right people to carry it out. Great leaders organize their operations so that information is effectively shared, allowing for good decisions to be made, and quality results to be produced. Who do you need around you to help you make your vision a reality? Third, a leader is able to engage those around them, actively involving their team in the work and letting them take ownership of their contributions to the change. If you have employees, this is when they are given and accept responsibility for the performance of your business. When decision-making power goes to the team, they have a greater sense of ownership, show initiative in their work, and take pride in the products and services they produce. Are you encouraging autonomy and ownership in those around you? Fourth, a leader has a commitment to results. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Patience is a necessity, but along the way great leaders stay focused on the goal, encouraging check points along the way to maintain everyone’s motivation and to actively support progress toward the goal. And ultimately, the cumulative effect of a leader’s day-to-day behaviors add up to leave a legacy for their organization and everyone they touch. True leaders recognize that the values and behaviors they demonstrate each and every day will be remembered longer than their accomplishments. They create the positive and respectful example for others to follow. They create meaningful and effective relationships for life. They ignite excitement and enthusiasm in those around them. They remain true to their values through consistent behavior. Are you merely building a business, or are you creating a legacy?


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I was once told that we judge our own integrity based on our intentions…when asked, most of us would say that we have integrity. However, others judge our integrity based on our observable behaviors and actions. How would others judge you? I hope you are each finding the magic in your own business. More importantly, I hope you are discovering how your business can continue to deliver the magic for years to come. Until next time, I continue to 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.

Single wall pipe vented out window to with in 10 inches of wooded soffit with gutters full of leaves. - Submitted by Woody Padgett of Future Energy Co. in Shelby, NC

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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. CALL NOW 813-982-0219

July 16-20, 2012 CSIA (online) Health and Safety Week For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit safetyweek July 19-20, 2012 CSIA Technology Center Inspection and Report Writing For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit

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July 23-27, 2012 CSIA (online) Lining Masonry Chimneys with Stainless Steel For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit July 23-27, 2012 CSIA (online) Chimney Physics For more information, please call (317) 837-5362 or visit

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Hotel reservations are now being accepted for NCSG Innovation 2013 at Chateau on the Lake in Branson, MO, April 4-7, 2013. Just call 1-888-333-LAKE (5253) and mention that you’re with the National Chimney Sweep Guild to lock in rates starting at $129 for a mountain view and $134 for a lake view. Get ready for some R&R.You’re earned it!

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July 2012  

Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney & Venting Technology

July 2012  

Sweeping: The Journal of Chimney & Venting Technology