We here at Mike’s Clean Sweeps always encourage our clients to do their own research. The folks who write the codes governing fireplaces, chimneys, and dryer vents sit on national and international code committees and spend their spare time combing through the data on structure fires. It is through the collaborative effort of dedicated specialists that we have a standard of care in the chimney and venting industry. But out here on the West Coast, due in part to the scarcity of technicians, realtors are reluctant to follow NFPA 211 in regards to Level 2 Inspections, and, as a result, a great many homeowners are unknowingly operating fireplaces that are dangerous to use.
That’s why we prefer to employ a variety of cutting-edge specialized cameras from top to bottom every time we service a chimney. We here at Mike’s Clean Sweeps follow the National Fire Protection Code, which maintains that if a chimney is cleaned it must be inspected, that these guidelines represent only the minimum standard, and all companies certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America are obligated to meet or exceed this minimum standard for fire safety. What good is sweeping a chimney if the dang thing is riddled with holes and cannot properly contain heat and the products of combustion? Is it prudent to start a fire in your home without first ascertaining if the clearances to combustibles have been met by builders and remodelers? Our Level 1 inspection includes portions of a Level 2, namely, the camera scan of the concealed flue tiles. This is because a camera-based chimney inspection is the only meaningful approach to preventing structure fires related to fireplace use. We often find issues with cracked tiles, large mortar voids between tiles, or, especially in older homes, no flue tiles at all. Technicians that claim to inspect a fireplace who do not run a camera are gravely misleading their clients about what they know regarding the condition and potential hazards of the system.
My philosophy is to be straight-up with people. I have found that, in the end, it’s always best to be honest and do the right thing, even if it’s embarrassing or leads to losing a job. What it really boils down to is safety, and, although I do not win over every potential customer, I have the satisfaction of knowing that the people who do hire me respect the specialized nature of the trade and are willing to pay for a higher quality of service.
About the Owner
Born in San Mateo and raised to honor hard work, Michael Carlson has had the sort of adventures befitting an individual with many talents. A mischievous child and rebellious youth, Mike nevertheless managed to tour the United States several times with his high school band and, despite never really striving for popularity, Mike won a senior poll for “Most Environmentally Conscious” (those beach clean ups with the recycling club really paid off) and soon found himself studying history at Reed College in sunny Portland Oregon.
The academic intensity of Reed was offset somewhat by the wild nudity, political activism, and mechanical couches wheeling through the campus. All seniors were required to write a diploma thesis for graduation. Taking a semester off to ponder research options (he had written on the Navaho Code Talkers, the Why We Fight propaganda film series made by Frank Capra during World War II, the Port Chicago Disaster and Mutiny, and of Jewish immigrants in New York City at the turn of century) Mike settled on how sectarian groups with direct and decisive ties to the infant Nazi Party influenced the development and implementation of National Socialist ideology.
Although I’ve recommitted myself to preventing fires in the Bay Area, I’ll never stop writing music. Click here to hear a tune I wrote about being a chimney sweep!