Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. The most common job for a customer we have never worked for is repairing a stove that has stopped working. For our repeat customers, showing up and cleaning out the stove one to two times a year keeps the stove from breaking down again.
Most repairs can be avoided with the proper maintenance.
Q. Describe three recent jobs you've completed.
A. Yesterday we did three jobs. The first job was burning out a Harman Accentra pellet stove that had stopped working because the feed system was full of creosote. This is a common problem for older Harman Stoves without the air crossover kit. To burn out a stove, we take it outside, take it apart and light the inside of it on fire with a torch. After all of the creosote has flaked off, we reassemble the stove. We also installed the air crossover kit so the stove will not gum up in the future.
Our second stove was an annual service cleaning on a Lopi Newport stove. This customer came to us this past winter after a hopper fire, an example of what can happen if you neglect cleaning the stove for too long. Yesterday was just showing up to clean out the stove for the season and was somewhat uneventful.
The last job of the day was back at the shop. We had to tear down a stove which we picked up from a customer. This stove is an Englander PDVC that caught fire in her house and was removed by the Fire Dept. There was actually nothing wrong with this stove, the customer just lost power to the stove and when the smoke stopped going up and out...it came down and in. The firemen just got it out of the house....but then it sat outside in the rain for a week. We are going to refurbish this stove for her so she can sell it and get something more automated.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Pellet stove technicians are much different than your average hearth installer and/or chimney sweep. We are a company of technicians. We are NFI Certified in pellet as well as licensed in MA to install and work on solid fuel burning equipment. Also we are fully insured.
A savvy technician doesn't part swap. we set becjmarks and look for results. The industry is set up in such a way that dealers for specific brands have control over the parts required for repairs. Though we are not supported by any manufacturer, we have the knowledge and know how to professionally service more than 135 models of stoves across 41 manufacturers; most of the common parts which are needed we stock. Nobody else in New England can boast this.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. I think that customers would be interested to know that there is no formal training available for this industry. Though we are required to have a license to perform the work, you have to demonstrate competence to take the test or prove that you have worked under another licensed professional for three years. Anyone independent that says that they are factory trained or certified is lying. There is no factory training for independent service technicians.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. Customers should look beyond the basic licenses and insurance and see what a company's reputation is abroad. Any company in business for a long time should have a pretty good internet presence or at least published affects of their company at a community level.