2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Blog : Archive for February, 2012

Bloomington Chimney Q/A: Why is it Important to Have My Chimney Serviced and Inspected After a Chimney Fire?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Hopefully, you have never experience a chimney fire in Bloomington and won’t ever have to. But if you own a home with a fireplace (and use it), the risks of a chimney fire are there and it isn’t important to know what to do after one happens.

Once the fire is out and you have called your insurance company, you may think it is fine to just start using your fireplace again. It is not! You must have your chimney inspected and serviced before using your fireplace again. There are at least four crucial things to be checked for and resolved during this process:

  1. Creosote buildup
    Creosote that is left behind from the fire can clog the up the chimney, presenting a risk for smoke and carbon monoxide to back up into the home. Creosote can also be fuel for a future chimney fire, so any buildup must be removed.
  1. Damage to the chimney
    The fire may have damaged the chimney, especially the smoke shelf, chimney liner or flue tiles. These must be replaced if they are damaged.
  1. Smoke damage
    In addition to damage from the fire directly, there may be smoke damage inside the chimney which will prevent it from working properly and safely.
  1. Proper ventilation
    Any damage or buildup inside the chimney can cause improper ventilation, either in the form of too little clearance for gases to escape up the chimney or leaks that allow gases to ventilate outwards into the home. As mentioned in #1, this can cause smoke and carbon monoxide to get into your house.

In short, getting a quick inspection and potentially chimney repairs after a fire is a matter of safety and health. You want to reduce the risk of further unsafe events, such as carbon monoxide leaks, another chimney fire or even a collapse.

Hopefully you never have to deal with a chimney fire, but if you do, do not skip this important step in the aftermath.  Please contact 2nd Generation Chimney if you have any questions about this.

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Happy Valentine’s Day From Your Twin Cities’ Chimney Inspection Company, 2nd Generation Chimneys

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

We wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show your appreciation to everyone who makes a difference in your life. Even a small gift, like a batch of cookies or a homemade card, can really make someone feel special. Your friends, your family, and your significant other will all have a fantastic Valentine’s Day if you take a moment to let them know how important they are to you.

Calling us for a chimney inspection might seem like a usual gift, but it can actually be something that benefits your whole family. Being secure in the safety of your chimney can make the time you spend by it more enjoyable, and the small problems that you can catch with our video inspection can save you a lot of money by avoiding larger problems in the future. Our chimney cleaning and inspection services will ensure its usability on days you need it most, like Valentine’s Day.

If you have any questions about chimney inspections or fire place installations, give 2nd Generation Chimneys a call today! And to help you celebrate this sweet holiday, here is a recipe for Chocolate Mint Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 36 chocolate mint wafer candies

Directions

  1. In a large pan over low heat, cook butter, sugar and water until butter is melted. Add chocolate chips and stir until partially melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes to cool off slightly.
  2. At high speed, beat in eggs, one at a time into chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, beating until blended. Chill dough about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. While cookies are baking unwrap mints and divide each in half. When cookies are brought out of the oven, put 1/2 mint on top of each cookie. Let the mint sit for up to 5 minutes until melted, then spread the mint on top of the cookie. Eat and enjoy!

For more details, visit allrecipes.com.

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Minneapolis Chimney Care Tips: Chimney Video Inspections

Monday, February 13th, 2012

In Minneapolis improperly lined chimneys, deteriorating interiors or blockages from creosote buildup or animal debris can all be dangerous for you and your family and in some cases present potential fire hazards. To avoid these problems without having your chimney cleaned more often than is necessary, chimney video inspection allows you to see what is happening inside your chimney at an affordable cost.

What You Are Looking for

Chimney video inspection services are designed to catch little things that would be otherwise impossible to see with the naked eye. These include:

  • Poor construction
  • Fire damage
  • Poor gas appliance connections
  • Missing Tile Liners or Mortar Joints
  • Missing or Hidden Breachings
  • Blockages
  • Thimble Holes
  • Bad Connections

All of these things can require chimney repairs liner and present danger to you and your family if not properly fixed but many of them cannot be easily seen from inside the house without a video line. The easy solution is to look in the chimney.

When to Get a Video Inspection

Video inspections are useful in many situations. You may opt to have a video inspection done before you buy a home for the first time or before you have a new heating system installed to ensure there are no hidden costs you’ll need to pay.

Insurance adjusters and fire inspectors use video inspection after a fire to determine what caused it; you should be proactive and use the same technology before anything like that can occur. Even if you find nothing during a video inspection of your chimney, you will have the peace of mind knowing that your chimney is in good shape, ready to prevent any potential future problems for years to come.

The last thing anyone wants is a bum chimney leaking acidic liquid into their home or posing a fire hazard. Use video inspection to avoid these problems and you’ll be set.  Call 2nd Generation Chimneys with any questions.

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Blaine Residents Ask: What is the Difference Between the Different Levels of Chimney Inspections?

Friday, February 10th, 2012

When needing a chimney inspection, many Blaine homeowners balk upon seeing the different levels involved.

How do I know which one to get? Which one s right for me? What is the difference?

To help answer those questions, let’s briefly describe the the levels of chimney inspection defined by the National Fire Protection Association.

Level 1

Also known as a visual chimney inspection, this is the most basic level. This inspection includes looking at all parts of the chimney that are readily accessible, both on the interior and exterior. The visual inspection is generally just done by eye, with no video equipment involved.

The idea is to inspect the overall soundness of the chimney and fireplace or stove installation. You would opt for this inspection if your system has been serviced frequently and you haven’t made any changes to the ventilation system or how you use your fireplace.

Level 2

As you would expect, this inspection is more involved. For this, an inspector will look not just at the readily accessible interior and exterior portions of the chimney, but also less accessible segments. This may include having access to an attic, basement or crawl space. This inspection is usually recorded on video.

You would need this type of inspection if you had made any change to your system, such as getting a new fireplace or changing the ventilation. A Level 2 inspection is also highly recommended when selling your home.

Level 3

The Level 3 inspection is the most thorough and involved. In addition to checking all the same areas in the first two levels, this inspection essentially means inspecting the entire chimney inside and out to determining if you need any chimney repairs.

This type of inspection is really only necessary in cases where the chimney has been or may have been damaged, such as in a house fire, chimney fire or natural disaster. So, with any luck, you will not have to have a Level 3 inspection ever performed on your chimney.

Please keep in mind that these are only general guidelines. The actual definitions of the inspections are much more complicated. If you have any doubt as to which inspection level is appropriate for your situation, call 2nd Generation Chimneys to make sure.

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Plymouth Chimney Tips: The Importance of Chimney Screens, Caps, and Dampers

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Improper ventilation and moisture inside your chimney can create a number of problems, including hazards, such as chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks. Installing and maintaining chimney screens, caps, and dampers will help to reduce the necessity of  chimney cleaning.

Here at 2nd Generation Chimney, we have all of your chimney and fireplace needs covered, and we offer quality and durable products that are made to last. Call us for the best chimney repair in Plymouth.

Chimney Screen

Chimney screens are installed mainly to prevent animals from nesting or getting trapped in your chimney. Birds and other rodents like to use chimneys for nesting sites, especially raccoons since their natural nesting sites are inside hollow trees. Animals nesting in your chimney can create health hazards in addition to restricting airflow. Animals don’t just damage your chimney system when they nest in it; they can also get through cracks in the masonry and walls and chew through insulation and wiring inside your home. It’s also a good idea to install metal screens for your roof vents, since many small animals are able to chew through vinyl roof vents.

Chimney screens are also referred to as exterior spark arrestors because they help keep sparks from wood-burning appliances from drifting out of the chimney. Sparks from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces have been known to start brush fires and other damages to the roof. Make sure you talk to a chimney professional about installing the proper screen for your wood-burning appliance.

Chimney Cap

Modern chimney caps are typically manufactured with a screen attached, and in addition to animal protection, these also help protect the chimney crown. While not all caps will completely cover the crown, they do deflect much of the rainwater. Over time, crowns can crack and allow moisture inside the mortar joints and bricks below. Properly sealing your chimney with a permeable sealant will help prevent water damage, but it’s also a good idea to install a cap and screen that is large enough to cover the entire crown. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so call us if you would like to know more about the chimney caps we offer.

Chimney Damper

In addition to preventing heat loss when you aren’t using your fireplace, dampers can also provide extra moisture protection. Water inside a chimney flue can create many problems. When moisture mixes with any kind of combustion material, it can become corrosive. This can cause important chimney components to break down over time.

There are a variety of products on the market to help keep your chimney flue free of debris, animals, and water. You can help protect your Plymouth home from chimney fires and carbon monoxide intrusion by calling 2nd Generation Chimney to ask about our chimney products and installation services.

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Fridley Chimney & Fireplace Tips: What You Should Consider Before Installing a Pellet Stove

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Pellet stoves allow you to heat your Fridley home with some of the most efficient and clean energy available. Pellets are made from renewable materials, such as recycled wood or organic waste materials, and pellet fuel generates less emissions than all other solid fuels. Because pellet appliances burn such clean and renewable fuel, they are appealing to many homeowners, and pellet stoves are more common in homes than they were even a few years ago. Some manufacturers are now designing new pellet-burning furnaces and boilers; however, pellets are more commonly used in stoves and fireplace inserts. Before you start looking around for a new pellet stove to replace your old heating system, there are a few things you should consider.

In addition to providing highly efficient heat, pellet appliances are also convenient because they have a hopper that stores the fuel, and a feeding device that loads the fuel throughout the day. In most pellet appliances, the hopper only needs to be refueled once a day. However, this added feature also means that there are more components that can break, which may increase repair and maintenance costs. These devices also use electricity to operate, so you’ll want to factor in these additional costs when you are deciding whether or not to install a pellet stove. Another factor to consider is whether or not pellet fuel is accessible and affordable in your area. A quick Internet search will direct you to any suppliers near your home.

Most pellet appliance manufacturers also recommend that you install a stainless steel flue liner before installation. If you have a clay or tile liner, you should find out what size metal liner you’ll need and how much it will cost to re-line your chimney. Hiring a professional chimney technician to inspect your current flue and liner will also determine if your flue size and shape. This will let you know if you need a stainless steel liner that is made of flexible material and how much labor will be involved in cutting the liner to fit your chimney flue.

Depending on the age and condition of your current heating system, you may benefit from installing a pellet stove in your Fridley home. First you’ll need to compare the installation costs with how much you’ll get in energy savings. You can always call 2nd Generation Chimneys to speak with one of our chimney and fireplace experts about which heating system upgrade is the best choice for your heating needs.

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Handling All Of Your Chimney Needs, 2nd Generations Chimneys

Monday, February 6th, 2012

2nd Generation Chimneys is equipped to handle all of your chimney and maintenance and safety needs. 2nd Generation Chimney Service offers chimney cleaning, restoration, caps and dampers and chimney relining. Whether it’s woodstoves, fireplaces, chimneys, or dryer vents, we get the job done right! Give us a call at 612-922-9600 .  We are Minnesota’s number 1 rated full service chimney company.  To learn more about us visit www.2ndgenerationchimneys.com .

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Why Are Chimney Inspections Important in Minneapolis

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

In Minneapolis whether you use your fireplace on a regular basis or not, it’s always a good idea to have someone come out once a year or so to clean and inspect your chimney. Because the truth is that you have no idea what’s going on in that part of your house or up on the roof.

In general, you wouldn’t notice that there was a problem on the roof or in the chimney until it got bad enough to generate symptoms inside like a leaky ceiling. And if your chimney isn’t in good shape when you do go to use your fireplace, you could be creating a hazardous situation for yourself and your family.

There simply isn’t much about your chimney that you can discern with the naked eye or from the ground. In fact, the portion of your chimney that’s visible at all is really a very small percentage of the whole. There could be all types of structural problems hidden deep within the chimney that aren’t causing noticeable problems yet but that could begin to develop into larger issues if left untreated over time.

Just like with anything else, it’s best to get chimney repairs done early before they become larger problems. While a chimney may seem like a pretty straightforward piece of equipment, it actually has to retain a certain set of characteristics to make sure it functions properly and channels exhaust from a fire out properly.

The airflow through a chimney is carefully controlled and regulated. Any small defect or crack in the structure can cause smoke and other dangerous gasses to stay in the house rather than traveling outward. Also, just about anything can fall into your chimney during the year, and that may lead to partial or full blockages of the channel. If you don’t have your chimney checked before you use it, you’re very likely to wind up with an unpleasant surprise when you do want to curl up in front of a cozy fire.

Another side benefit of having your chimney inspected and cleaned is that it winds up getting a professional up on your roof looking around. Aside from chimney problems, they may also be able to spot damage or decay in part of your roof that you’ll be able to get fixed sooner rather than later.  So contact your chimney experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys for your next chimney inspection.

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Why is it Important to Have My Chimney Serviced and Inspected After a Chimney Fire in Anoka?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Hopefully, you have never experience a chimney fire in Anoka and won’t ever have to get a chimney inspection. But if you own a home with a fireplace (and use it), the risks of a chimney fire are there and it isn’t important to know what to do after one happens.

Once the fire is out and you have called your insurance company, you may think it is fine to just start using your fireplace again. It is not! You must have your chimney inspected and potentially get chimney repairs before using your fireplace again. There are at least four crucial things to be checked for and resolved during this process:

  1. Creosote buildup
    Creosote that is left behind from the fire can clog the up the chimney, presenting a risk for smoke and carbon monoxide to back up into the home. Creosote can also be fuel for a future chimney fire, so any buildup must be removed.
  1. Damage to the chimney
    The fire may have damaged the chimney, especially the smoke shelf, chimney liner or flue tiles. These must be replaced if they are damaged.
  1. Smoke damage
    In addition to damage from the fire directly, there may be smoke damage inside the chimney which will prevent it from working properly and safely.
  1. Proper ventilation
    Any damage or buildup inside the chimney can cause improper ventilation, either in the form of too little clearance for gases to escape up the chimney or leaks that allow gases to ventilate outwards into the home. As mentioned in #1, this can cause smoke and carbon monoxide to get into your house.

In short, getting your chimney inspected after a fire is a matter of safety and health. You want to reduce the risk of further unsafe events, such as carbon monoxide leaks, another chimney fire or even a collapse.

Hopefully you never have to deal with a chimney fire, but if you do, do not skip this important step in the aftermath.  Contact 2nd Generation Chimneys Inc with any questions or concerns.

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