What to Consider before Installing a New Wood Insert

November 10th, 2014 by David Pixley

Wood-burning fireplaces are the oldest way to provide heat for homes. Although people rarely rely on wood fireplaces to provide overall warmth to a house any more, the old fashioned wood-burning hearth is still around because it is an unbeatable source of cozy ambience and beauty for a home. Wood burning fireplaces may not be whole-house comfort solutions any more, but few installations will add as much to your home life.

A wood fireplace insert is a way to keep your old masonry fireplace around but upgrade it so it’s more efficient, losing far less of its heat up the chimney and sending more warmth into your home. This will help make your old fireplace an addition to your heating system that will help keep down your bills. Even for one of the smaller wood inserts, a single load of wood can provide up to eight hours of warmth.

Call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. today to find out more about our services for wood inserts in Eden Prairie, MN and the surrounding areas.

A few things to consider before installing a wood insert:

  • Do you need to upgrade your fireplace? Before you even consider having a wood insert put in, you need to know if your fireplace will even work with one. Wood inserts are designed to fit into pre-existing wood-burning masonry fireplaces. If you don’t already have a fireplace, you should consider a free-standing wood stove instead.
  • Perhaps you should upgrade to gas logs? When it comes time to installing any kind of insert for a fireplace, you will have to consider whether you should upgrade to using gas logs rather than continuing with a wood-burning model. Gas logs do not have the same beauty as a traditional fireplace, but they come with some significant advantages in convenience and maintenance. If you have an available gas line, you should give some consideration to having a gas insert put in.
  • What size insert do you need? You can’t simply go to a store and pick out any fireplace insert and put it in yourself. A new insert must be properly sized for the space and to make sure that it is compatible with the chimney itself and will vent correctly. It’s crucial to have professionals handle this work, as well as to check to see if your chimney is in good repair and if it needs cleaning before the insert is installed.

At 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., we install wood inserts in Eden Prairie, MN from Regency Fireplace Products. All Regency inserts are EPA-certified and environmentally friendly and clean-burning. We offer a variety of inserts and will find the right size for your current hearth, as well as take care of any necessary cleaning and repairs the chimney may require before the insert goes in. We also install wood stoves and gas logs.

For more information on wood inserts for your fireplace in Eden Prairie Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

The Importance of Cleaning Your Factory-Built Chimney

November 3rd, 2014 by David Pixley

Factory-built, or pre-fabricated, chimneys allow people to use a fireplace in their homes even if a fireplace wasn’t part of the original architecture. It is no secret that masonry chimneys and fireplaces need annual cleaning, and this is the same for factory-built chimneys. There are thousands of chimney fires each year in the US; properly cleaning your factory-built chimney in Inver Grove Heights can go a long way toward eliminating this possibility. If it’s been more than a year since your last chimney cleaning, call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., and schedule a cleaning today.

What Is a Factory-Built Chimney?

A factory-built chimney is typically a single unit, and is usually made of metal (although there are some masonry ones as well). Because a pre-fabricated chimney is one unit, it cannot be used with an existing chimney or flue. Pre-fabricated chimneys are thoroughly tested with their fireboxes at the factory, and they have very specific installation requirements that need to be adhered to in order to ensure safety and proper function.

Why Does a Pre-Fabricated Chimney Need Cleaning?

  • Remove creosote and soot build-up – soot and creosote can accumulate quickly in your chimney, especially if you use yours frequently. Soot and creosote are flammable; with a large enough buildup, they can catch fire inside your chimney. 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.
  • Helps prevent corrosion – combustion byproducts are very acidic. As such, they can corrode the metal and/or masonry of any chimney. Corrosion in the metal of your pre-fabricated chimney can lead to cracks and holes, which can be very dangerous.
  • Increase efficiency – a large creosote buildup in your chimney can restrict the flow of air in the chimney. In turn, this can reduce the efficiency of your fireplace.

Factory-built chimneys are well-insulated, safe and offer homes without a chimney the ability to have a fireplace. However, it is just as important to clean your factory-built chimney in Inver Grove Heights as it is to clean a masonry one.

Contact 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., and schedule a cleaning appointment with one of our certified experts. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

What Happens During a Level 3 Chimney Inspection?

October 27th, 2014 by David Pixley

Your fireplace adds warmth and décor to your home and is a wonderful source of heat that keeps you feeling cozy and content. But without proper maintenance, any type of heating system—boilers, furnaces, and fireplaces alike—becomes a safety hazard. It’s important to schedule chimney inspection every year to ensure your fireplace has proper ventilation and that there are no serious problems that need to be addressed. The National Fire Association and the Chimney Institute of America have established three levels of inspection which all inspectors now use. Level 1 is the most basic type of inspection while Level 3 is used only in rare instances. We’ll go over all of the levels in this guide.

Chimney inspection and chimney cleaning are jobs for professional technicians who know what specific types of problems to look out for. At 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., we’ve been in the business for two generations, so we know the proper way to perform a chimney inspection in White Bear Lake.

Level 1 and 2 Inspections

Level 1 and Level 2 inspections are the most common types that homeowners schedule. A Level 1 chimney inspection is part of your yearly chimney cleaning service. If your contractor does not inspect your chimney along with cleaning service, you should hire a new contractor. This is a routine inspection, during which an inspector checks all of the exposed portions of the chimney to make sure construction is stable.

You will need a Level 2 inspection whenever you make a change to your fireplace. You may, for example, switch to a different fuel source or decide to reline a chimney flue. A technician will need to access your roof and crawlspace, and may require video cameras for inspection.

Level 3 Inspections

Level 3 inspections are only performed when you or your inspector suspect a problem. For this type of inspection, the inspector may need to remove some components of your chimney, such as the chimney crown or parts of the interior chimney wall. In this case, technicians should limit removal only to areas where a problem may be present.

Trust the safety of your home to the trained and certified experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. for chimney inspection in White Bear Lake. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

Can I Do Annual Chimney Sweeping on My Own?

October 20th, 2014 by David Pixley

There are certain tasks around your home that are good for doing yourself; there are others that are better left to professionals. One task that is better left to a professional is chimney sweeping. It is recommended that your chimney is swept every fall to ensure safe and efficient use during the winter months. Creosote builds up fairly quickly, especially if you use your fireplace often, and chimney sweeping in the Twin Cities helps keep your chimney functioning as it should. There are several reasons why it’s important to hire a trained professional to sweep your chimney, as we’ll discuss below. If you are ready to start using your fireplace again, contact 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., and schedule a chimney sweep today.

Reasons to Hire a Professional for Chimney Sweeping

Here are a few reasons why it’s important to hire a professional for chimney sweeping instead of doing it yourself:

  • Safety – one of the main reasons it’s important to sweep your chimney is to remove the creosote, soot and ash that can build up therein. These materials are flammable, and if not properly removed, can catch on fire.
  • Specialized tools – there are a number of specialized tools a trained chimney sweeper will bring to the job that you probably don’t have, including chimney brushes and rods, chemical soot and ash removers, cleaning tools and specialized chimney cleaning systems.
  • Protection of home goods – your professional chimney sweep will cover the floor and all home goods in close proximity to your chimney to ensure that everything stays clean.

Benefits of a Professional Chimney Sweep

As we mentioned above, having your chimney swept is very important to you and your home’s safety. Here are some other reasons why you’ll want to get your chimney swept before winter:

  • Energy efficiency – not only is the build-up of creosote, soot and ash dangerous, it can also restrict the air flow in your chimney, which can decrease the efficiency of your fireplace.
  • Longevity – the materials that can build-up in your chimney are highly acidic; as such, they can eat away at the masonry of your chimney, which will wear it down and eventually cause it to crack and break.
  • Bad for your flue – if you have a combustion heating system that requires a flue, a build-up of creosote, soot and ash will corrode your flue just as it does your chimney.

A fireplace can offer great supplemental heat during the winter – but not if it isn’t professionally cleaned.

Call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., and schedule an appointment for professional chimney sweeping in the Twin Cities today.

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.