Choosing the Right Wood Stove for Your Home in Carver County

October 13th, 2014 by David Pixley

A wood stove can offer both additional heating and wonderful ambience to your home. But it’s important to install a wood stove that is right for your home in order to gain the benefits. Today’s wood stoves are much more energy efficient than ones from a couple of decades ago, but because of the combustion involved with a wood stove, it’s important to hire trained professionals for both sizing and installation. If you are ready for wood stove installation in Carver County, call the people who have been doing it for two generations: 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

Types of Wood Stoves

In 1988, the EPA started requiring certification of all wood stoves to help reduce safety issues and make wood stoves much more efficient. In addition, the EPA also started requiring minimum emission limits for wood stoves. The result is that there are two types of wood stoves based on combustion approach:

  • Catalytic
  • Non-Catalytic

Catalytic wood stoves have a catalytic converter inside them that helps to recycle exhaust gases. The catalytic converter changes the state of the exhaust gases, which helps reduce the amount of harmful gases and allows them to burn at lower temperatures. Being able to operate a wood stove at lower burning temperatures allows for longer burn periods while also reducing your overall level of emissions; this fact can make a catalytic wood stove great for being a major source of heat in your home. Catalytic wood stoves can be as much at 10% more efficient than non-catalytic wood stoves due to lower burning temperatures.

Non-Catalytic

Non-catalytic wood stoves use the combination of a large baffle, insulated firebox and pre-heated combustion air to heat. By injecting air into the stove, a non-catalytic wood stove burns at a much higher rate, including the ignition of smoke and creosote. Non-catalytic wood stoves are mostly equal to catalytic wood stoves when it comes to high burning, but not when it comes to low burn rates. As such, the fires in a non-catalytic wood stove do not last as long as those in a catalytic wood stove.

A new wood stove installation in Carver County can be a great supplement to your home’s heating this winter.

Contact 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced wood stove installation experts. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

The Significance of Chimney Dampers

October 6th, 2014 by David Pixley

When you’re getting ready to start a fire in your home’s hearth, what is one of the first things you should always check? You should see that the damper is open so the exhaust fumes from the fire will escape up through the flue and out of your home. (The damper is sometimes erroneously referred to as “the flue”; the flue is actually the opening that allows exhaust to escape, and the damper is what controls whether the flue is open or closed.)

The damper is an essential part of the efficient and safe operation of your home’s chimney. To make sure it continues to work well, you will occasionally need repairs and even a new chimney damper installation in St. Paul, MN. Technicians will locate damper problems during regular inspections, and should you encounter trouble with venting from the chimney or notice that the damper is failing to fully close or is stuck open, you must contact experts like those at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. right away. We offer many services to protect your chimney venting and interior, including cleaning, chimney liners, and services for the damper.

The job of the chimney damper

There are several kinds of chimney dampers. The primary damper is the one located near the hearth which you can manipulate by hand. This damper is important during cold weather since it blocks warm air from escaping up the chimney when there is no fire in the hearth. Heat rises, making the chimney one of the easiest places for heat to escape from a home during the winter. The damper keeps your home energy-efficient, and only needs to open when you have a fire in the fireplace.

The damper is also important for keeping out musty smells and moisture from your home. A top-sealing damper is also helpful for this job. In addition to aiding the control moisture, a top-sealing damper will help trap heat in your home and keep out rain and animals that sometimes try to nest inside chimneys. A qualified technician can install a top-sealing damper (which you can then operate easily from a handle placed down near the hearth).

Aside from chimney damper installation in St. Paul, MN and the surrounding areas, we also install chimney caps, screens, vent covers, and single flue rain covers to help keep your chimney protected and your home energy efficient.

If you need a new damper or repairs for your current one, make sure to call on 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. for the work. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

Why Schedule Annual Cleaning For My Prefabricated Chimney?

September 29th, 2014 by David Pixley

Prefabricated chimneys and fireplaces have allowed homeowners the pleasure of enjoying a fire, even if a fireplace was not an original part of the home. Some may think that a prefabricated chimney does not need cleaning – this is not true. Prefabricated chimneys in Mendota Heights need annual cleaning just as masonry ones do. However, it’s important to hire a company that understands how to properly clean a pre-fab chimney, and this is where 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., comes in. For two generations, 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., has provided chimney sweeping services, and our technicians know and understand how to clean every type of chimney there is, so call us today!

Why Do Chimneys Need to Be Cleaned?

There are a few important reasons your chimney needs to be cleaned annually:

  • Prevent a chimney fire – soot and creosote build-up quickly in your chimney. These contaminants are flammable, and when the buildup becomes thicker than a ¼ inch, it can catch fire, causing a chimney fire. Chimney fires are dangerous in any type of chimney, but prefabricated chimneys are not built to withstand great amounts of heat; as such, it is very important to have the creosote and soot removed by a trained professional.
  • Prevent corrosion of your chimney system – not only are creosote and soot flammable, they are acidic; this means they can corrode the metal and/or masonry of any chimney. Corroding metal can lead to cracks and holes, which can be very dangerous.
  • Needed for home insurance – there are multiple insurance policies that require proof of maintenance in order to keep your home insured. No one ever wants to experience a chimney fire, especially with the added complication of not having insurance coverage should something happen.
  • Increase efficiency – a large creosote buildup can restrict the flow of air in the chimney. In turn, this can reduce the efficiency of your fireplace, and also create a smoking problem.

Prefabricated chimneys are great options for homeowners who want to enjoy a warm fire without the cost of building a fireplace and chimney. But pre-fab chimney systems need to be maintained, just as any other chimney.

If you haven’t scheduled a cleaning for your prefabricated chimney in Mendota Heights, Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

Why You Need Furnace Flue Cleaning

September 22nd, 2014 by David Pixley

Even if your home doesn’t have a fireplace, it will need a flue for the furnace to release exhaust. In a gas furnace, the heat from the combustion gas transfers to the air through a heat exchanger, and afterwards the cooled down combustion gas is vented through a flue that safely removes the fumes to the outside of the house. To keep your furnace working at top efficiency and to prevent safety issues from fires or carbon monoxide, you should have annual flue cleaning as part of maintaining the heating system.

The best people to call for furnace flue cleaning are technicians experienced with chimney cleaning. The fully-certified team at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. has many decades of work with chimneys and flues of all kind, and our services include everything from cleaning and sweeping to masonry reconstruction. Call us today for cleaning for your chimney flue in Edina, MN.

The necessity of furnace flue cleaning

Any venting system, such as a furnace flue, will start to gather build-up from the exhaust that move through it. With chimneys, the exhaust build-up from creosote can be quite large. The accumulation is less in a furnace flue, but because the venting cannot be perfect, the flue will eventually require cleaning to remove particle build-up known as “scale.” Not all heating contractors provide this service when maintaining a furnace; you will need to call specialists in chimney cleaning to take care of the job.

Neglecting regular furnace flue cleaning can lead to serious issues. The major one is the flue will become blocked, leading to the exhaust backing up and entering your home. This presents dangers from fire and toxic carbon monoxide exposure.

But even if the flue isn’t blocked, poor venting from scale will create other dangers in the furnace. The reaction of the combustion gas with the heat exchanger will result in corrosion across the metal of the exchanger, a situation that makes it prone to develop cracks that will allow carbon monoxide to escape. The poor venting will also make it difficult for the furnace to work efficiently. Special high-efficiency furnaces depend on clean venting to achieve their energy-saving levels of performance.

Along with regular furnace flue cleaning, you should have the flue cleaned whenever you change your heating system. In some cases, you may need to have a completely new flue constructed to accommodate a higher efficiency furnace. Always check with professionals regarding your heater’s venting when you make a change to the heating system.

Contact us for furnace flue cleaning

Keeping your home safe is our number one priority at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. We have helped homes stay safe and warm with our services for chimneys and flue for many years.

When you need cleaning to take care of your furnace or chimney flue in Edina, MN, make the call to the team at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

Why It’s Important to Schedule Professional Air Duct Cleaning

September 15th, 2014 by David Pixley

While your HVAC system has a filter to help reduce the amount of dirt and dust in the system, the filter cannot capture every single particle. The result can be significant dirt and dust buildup in your system, and one of the areas where these types of particles settle easily is in your ductwork. There are no filters inside your ductwork to help capture this excess dust and dirt, so when your system cycles on, this dust and dirt is delivered directly to your living spaces. One of the best ways to remove dust and dirt build-up in your ductwork is by scheduling a professional air duct cleaning in Maplewood. There are several benefits to gain from cleaning your air ducts, and all cleaning should be done by trained professionals, like the ones at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

Why Clean Ductwork?

There are a couple of important reasons why it’s important to have your ductwork professionally cleaned:

  • Improve indoor air quality – as we mentioned above, if there is any kind of dust and dirt buildup in your ductwork, those particles will blow directly into your living spaces every time your HVAC system cycles. This could be especially problematic for those with allergies or chronic respiratory illnesses like asthma.
  • Improve energy efficiency – if the build-up in your system is significant enough, it can impede the air flow in your system. Restricted air flow forces your system to work harder, and any time your system has to work harder, it uses more energy.

Negative Pressure

The key to successful duct cleaning is creating negative pressure inside the ductwork. This is because continuous negative pressure allows very fine particles to be removed from the system as they become airborne, ensuring that these particles are not released into the living space when the system is turned on after cleaning. Negative pressure also serves to extract the loosened contaminants, which are collected and removed from your home. To create the necessary negative pressure for a cleaning, the technician will access your system, seal off all registers, and use professional-grade vacuum equipment to create the negative pressure.

Your ductwork should be cleaned every 3-5 years. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your ducts cleaned, Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

The Advantages of Gas Fireplace Inserts

September 8th, 2014 by David Pixley

As we head into another fall, our thoughts begin to turn toward heating. Last winter was a doozy, hitting us with incredibly cold temperatures and a lot of snow – and the forecast for this winter is looking similar. A great way to keep your home warm and improve your indoor heating experience, without blowing your monthly budget, is with the installation of a gas fireplace insert in your Minneapolis home. With a wide range of product offerings and two generations of experience with installation, 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., can help you stay warmer this fall and winter with a gas fireplace insert.

Two Choices in Fuel Type

Gas inserts can work with either natural gas or propane. Natural gas can be less expensive than propane and can produce about 5% more heat, but natural gas may not be available in some areas. We will help you to determine which fuel is best suited for your home.

Advantages of a Gas Fireplace Insert

There are several advantages to installing a gas fireplace insert into your home:

  • Versatile – inserts are made in a variety of sizes and colors to fit many different fireplaces and types of décor.
  • Energy efficient – fireplace inserts have efficiency ratings ranging from 65% to over 90%.
  • Clean burning – there is no ash or creosote to clean with a gas insert.
  • Adds additional heating – depending on its size, a gas insert can heat 1,000 to 3,000 square feet. This allows you to add extra heat to the area in which your fireplace is located, offering you zone heating for that area.

Maintenance

One of the great advantages of using a clean-burning fuel is that your fireplace and chimney won’t require as much maintenance as before. But, it is important to schedule annual maintenance for your insert to keep its components in great working condition.

Always Hire Trained Professionals

To ensure that your gas fireplace insert is correctly installed and maintained, it’s always important to hire trained specialists. Look for certification from either CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) or NFI (National Fireplace Institute).

A gas fireplace insert in your Minneapolis home can offer you great energy efficiency and clean burning this fall and winter.

Call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our chimney and fireplace installation experts.

The History of Labor Day

September 1st, 2014 by David Pixley

The official end of summer and the beginning of fall lands on September 23rd, which marks the Autumnal Equinox, when the plane of the Earth’s equator passes the center of the sun and the length of day and night are roughly equal. However, for most people in the U.S., the summer really concludes with Labor Day, the first Monday in September. Labor Day and Memorial Day (the last Monday of May) together serve as the bookends of the summer.

The Labor Day Holiday is a time that people in this country associate with a last summer blast: another reason for an outdoor picnic, a chance for a three-day vacation, family trips to amusement parks, and of course, taking advantage of numerous sales that retailers always offer. (Labor Day is often the second largest shopping day of the year after Black Friday in November.) It’s also the point when school traditionally goes back in session, although some schools start a week earlier and some a week later.

Labor Day’s origins lie in the 1880s. In 1882 Matthew Maguire, a machinist in New York City who was secretary of the Central Labor Union (CLU) at the time, and Peter J McGuire of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), first proposed a celebration of the hard working men and women of the United States. However, five years would pass before the first state made it an official holiday, Oregon. Other states quickly followed this example, although not all selected a date in September.

By 1894, thirty states had started Labor Day celebrations. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a federal holiday only a week after Congress voted unanimously to approve the legislation. The date chosen for the holiday was the same one that Maguire and McGuire had originally proposed.

The U.S.A. is not the only country that celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of September. Canada observes the holiday as well, although they spell it “Labour” Day. In fact, Canada celebrated the occasion earlier than the U.S., and was an early inspiration in this country for the development of the holiday.

All of us here at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. hope you and your family—whether at work or at play—enjoy a relaxing and memorable Labor Day weekend and have a fantastic start to the fall.

What Problems Can a Chimney Cap Prevent?

August 26th, 2014 by David Pixley

We may still be enjoying summer, but fall is right around the corner, and with it comes a new season of heating with your fireplace. Your chimney is the outlet for your fireplace’s smoke and burning embers, so keeping it clear and safe is a priority. One of the easier ways to help keep your chimney safe is with the installation of a chimney cap to your North Oaks property. For over a decade, 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., has installed chimney caps for a multitude of customers, and we can help you with your installation.

What Is a Chimney Cap?

A chimney cap is a small cover for the opening of your chimney. Chimney caps come in a variety of styles to both protect and compliment your chimney and home.

What Are the Benefits of Installing a Chimney Cap?

There are several important benefits to installing chimney cap:

  • Block animals from nesting in your chimney – there are a variety of animals, including birds, squirrels and raccoons, that like to nest in chimneys. By covering the top of your chimney with a cap, you prevent these critters from making a home there.
  • Reduce water damage from wet weather – chimney caps significantly reduce the amount of water that enters your chimney. Rain, snow, sleet and ice can easily enter your chimney through its opening. When water gets into your chimney, it can get into the masonry, and as the water freezes due to winter temperatures, can crack the masonry. If left unattended, water damage can eventually weaken your chimney’s structure.
  • Block hot embers from the roof – burning embers from your fireplace can make their way up the chimney and onto your roof, potentially causing a fire. A chimney cap can prevent these hot embers from escaping.

Why Hire a Professional?

An improperly sized, designed, or installed chimney cap can reduce a chimney’s backdraft, which can lead to the poor burning of fuel and/or smoky rooms in your home. The best way to avoid this is to hire trained professionals, like the ones at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

Chimney caps can protect your chimney and your home from some potentially serious damage. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

What Are Chimney Fires?

August 19th, 2014 by David Pixley

Although you expect to have fires blazing inside your fireplace, you don’t want those flames to go any farther than the hearth. You may think that a fire moving up into a chimney isn’t necessarily a problem, but a chimney fire like this can be extremely destructive and require that you have special repair work done to avoid causing a house fire.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. is a full-service chimney and fireplace company with the training and certification necessary to handle any chimney restoration in Wayzata, MN that you may need. If you believe you’ve experienced a chimney fire, call our technicians right away for an inspection.

Chimney fires and their dangers

Conventional wisdom holds that chimneys are essentially invincible and maintenance-free. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If a chimney becomes dirty and filled with creosote, the trouble it has venting can cause a chimney fire to break out: an intense fire that ignites the combustible material collected inside the flue. Chimney fires can be extremely loud and create cracking, popping, and rumbling sounds—sometimes even audible from outside a home! But they can also go undetected if they are slow-burning. Either kind of chimney fire is destructive: they can reach 2000°F, enough to cause severe damage to any material inside the chimney.

These high temperatures are enough to cause mortar to melt, tiles to crack, and liners to collapse. This will lead to a dangerous situation, since it will permit the heat that vents through the chimney to escape to the building material surrounding it. A damaged chimney can cause a fire to start on the second floor of a home or up on the roof.

Watch for the following signs that can warn you a chimney fire has broken out: excess creosote, a warped metal damper, fallen tiles, a discolored rain cap, damaged roofing material, cracks on the outside masonry, and marks of smoke escaping through mortar joints and tiles.

If you think you have experienced a chimney fire in your home, you should schedule a Level 2 chimney inspection from a technician certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). This thorough inspection will determine what repairs and restoration work are necessary. In most cases, the fireplace restorationists will need to replace the chimney liner to ensure that heat cannot escape through broken tiles and clay liners to reach the combustible material outside.

You can have all your chimney problems taken care of through one contractor: 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. We are certified with the CSIA and can take care of all your needs for repairs and chimney restoration in Wayzata, MN.

Call us today to set up an appointment, and keep us in mind for your regular inspections and chimney sweeping that will help you avoid chimney fires in the future.

How to Prepare for Chimney Sweeping in Minneapolis, MN

August 12th, 2014 by David Pixley

Your fireplace chimney should have annual sweeping service from certified chimney sweeps (certification is from the Chimney Safety Institute of America) to keep it clean and safely venting exhaust fumes out of your home. Your chimney sweeps will also check for any safety issues from damaged components, such as a faulty chimney damper.

When you receive chimney sweeping in Minneapolis, MN from the certified team at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., you will receive a Level 1 chimney inspection along with the cleaning. This visual inspection will make sure that you do not have potential trouble from creosote, debris, or flue damage. We are a full service company for fireplaces and chimneys, and you will have a hard time finding more experienced technicians for caring for your home’s hearth.

When you schedule a chimney sweep visit, there are some ways you can prepare that will make the cleaning process easier and faster:

  • First, clear away the area around the fireplace, in particular the mantle. You don’t want to have any valuable decoration you have on the mantle to receive any damage.
  • Second, clean out the fireplace itself of any unburnt wood or fuel that is still in it. Remove excess ashes as well. It is advisable that you do not use the fireplace for 24 hours before the sweeping appointment.
  • Third, to protect your furnishings that are near to the fireplace (sweeping can produce a large amount of soot) you should either cover them or remove them from the area. The chimney sweeps will take care of laying down floor coverings that will protect your carpet, rugs, floorboards, etc. from damage.
  • Fourth, if you are concerned about other parts of your home, you may wish to lay down papers from the door to the fireplace. However, if you have hired a quality company with proper certification, the chimney sweeps will do everything they can to respect your home and wear protective, disposable covers on their shoes.
  • Fifth, contact your chimney sweeps if you have additional questions regarding the service or what you can do to help prepare.

The actual sweeping service will go speedily and will create minimal disruption on daily activities. If you have 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. performing your chimney sweeping in Minneapolis, MN, the technicians will provide you with the findings from the Level 1 inspection. They will recommend whether you need a Level 2 or 3 chimney inspection, as well as recommendations for any repairs you may need.

Make us your first choice when it comes to any service you may need for your fireplace and chimney. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS