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

Chimney Cleaning – Not for the faint of hearts

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Chimney cleaning is not a job for just anyone. It takes more than just skilled training get a job done right – it also takes a lot of guts! Check out our tech up on the chimney top at this chimney inspection job.

2nd Generation Chimneys employs highly skilled and brave men to do the job right and keep your family comfortable and safe. Now is a great time to give us a call for your chimney inspection before the weather changes to colder months. Give us a call today!


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Why Do You Need To Have Your Chimney Flue Cleaned?

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Having your chimney flue cleaned is important to the health and safety of your family.  2nd Generation Chimneys is a Minneapolis chimney company that provides thorough chimney flue cleaning, call us today if you need to schedule an appointment!

The Importance of Having Your Chimney Flue Cleaned

When a fireplace or wood stove is used, smoke goes up the chimney where it finally reaches the outside air.  Creosote forms when wood is burned incompletely, or when it is a smoky fire without enough oxygen that causes black smoke to go up the chimney.  During this process the smoke often leaves behind creosote, a dark brown or black tar-like substance that gets deposited on the walls of the chimney.

Creosote can be a fire hazard if too much of it builds up on the inside walls of the chimney.

There are a few kinds of creosote that have differing degrees of stickiness and are each harder to remove than the previous one:

  • Soot that is feather-light and dull gray, brown or black in color that is easy to remove
  • Granular black accumulation that is still fairly easy to remove with a stiff chimney brush
  • Tar-like black coating that is very hard to remove, even with scrapers and power rotary whips
  • Shiny black coating that looks like the inside of the chimney has been glazed over and is nearly impossible to remove

Generally speaking creosote buildup happens during wood burning.  While gas fireplaces burn cleaner, they do let off a lot more moisture which can cause other kinds of build-up to occur.  Additional types of debris that can clog the chimney flue are droppings from animals, nesting of birds, and debris from the presence of insects.  The best way to prevent animals from nesting in the chimney is to have a chimney-top screen.

Having a professional chimney sweep  in Minneapolis such as those at 2nd Generation Chimneys perform your chimney flue cleaning will ensure that not only is it properly cleaned, but that any venting problems or chimney deterioration are identified, as well as any cracks in the liner are found and fixed, and that where applicable new liners are installed.

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Twin Cities Chimney Repair Question: What is Chimney Resurfacing?

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Chimney resurfacing is an important part of your overall chimney maintenance.  Just like any masonry-work, it is essential to keep your chimney in good repair in order for it to work efficiently.  The Twin Cities chimney experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys can help you to better understand exactly what chimney resurfacing is, as well as perform a professional chimney resurfacing for you.

Chimney Resurfacing: The Basics

Weather can really take a toll on your chimney.  Along with changing weather patterns comes the inevitable cracking or wearing out of the masonry that holds the exterior of the chimney together.  Chimney resurfacing will maintain the quality of your chimney.  If your chimney is made of brick or stone and the mortar that holds it all together is eroding or you have stucco covering the outside of your chimney that has cracked, it is important that you have it resurfaced right away.

Some of the resurfacing happens along the horizontal sections of the chimney such as the crown on the very top of the chimney or on the shoulders where the chimney flares out to the sides.  These horizontal surfaces are designed to keep rain water from penetrating into the brickwork or stonework on a chimney and it is essential that they be properly maintained.  If water begins leaking into the chimney because of the wear on these sections it can be very damaging to the mortar holding the masonry together, as well as to the bricks and stonework.

Visibly cracked and weathered crowns or shoulders are an indication that a chimney repair is needed which will normally include restoring the masonry or bricks with fresh mortar, as well as applying a waterproofing agent such as a sealant to protect the repair work that is completed.

So whether you notice small cracks beginning on the chimney crown, the chimney shoulders, or in the mortar that holds the masonry pieces together, it is important to contact a professional Twin Cities chimney company such as 2nd Generation Chimneys to handle your chimney repairs and chimney maintenance.

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Another Happy Customer!

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Here is a recent testimonial we received from a satisfied customer:

“Excellent in every respect, from the initial estimate through completion of the job. I especially appreciated the clear, prompt, and courteous communications, the responsible follow-up—they do what they say they’ll do—and the outstanding quality of the work. From Lisa in the office to Dave and the workmen on site, I felt confident at every stage. This is a first-class operation and I would recommend them without hesitation.”

– Gary T.

Thank you, Gary for the kind words!

Our #1 goal and priority is to offer outstanding, quality service from start to finish. If you are in need of Chimney Cleaning, Chimney Repair, or Chimney Inspection, we are here to help! We offer full service inspection, cleaning, repair, and installation at competitive pricing with expert craftsman trained to do it right the first time. Give us a call today at 1-888-PIXLEYS!

If you have already received service from us, let us know how we are doing by taking our Online Survey. Your feedback is valuable to us and is used to continue improving our service to you day after day.

Our trucks are clean and organized, just like our work!

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Minneapolis Chimney FAQ: Why Do I Need Masonry Repair?

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

In Minneapolis, chimneys are exposed to extreme weather throughout the year. Over the years, water can get into the masonry if it isn’t sealed with the right materials, and once the water settles into the joints, it can weaken the mortar and deteriorate the bricks. During the colder months of the year, water trapped inside the mortar can freeze and cause cracks and other damage to the chimney as a whole.

In older homes, brick and mortar chimneys might simply have worn down due to age. Then when moisture mixes with creosote, it can form mild acids that damage the lining and the masonry. As a result, even a well-maintained chimney may eventually need repairs. At 2nd Generation Chimneys, we can take care of all your masonry repair needs, including sealing and resurfacing. Our technicians are trained to thoroughly inspect your entire chimney and make any necessary repairs.

Masonry Repair Services

The goal of masonry repair services is to inspect the chimney and check for common problems, such as deteriorating and loose bricks, crumbling mortar joints, or creosote build-up and other residues inside the liner. The process can vary depending on the condition of your chimney.

While chimney inspections are always done during the replacement of your heating system, you may also want one completed on a regular basis once a year to check for common signs of wear and tear. Masonry repair services can ensure the integrity of your chimney so that you won’t have to worry about it during the heating season.

There are a number of ways you can reduce the impact of excess moisture damaging your masonry chimney. A chimney cap can stop water from getting inside the chimney and damaging the flue liner, or a new liner can provide protection against the acids that develop due to the mixture of creosote and moisture, especially if you just had a new high-efficiency furnace or boiler installed. Sealing and resurfacing (also known as tuckpointing) can help protect the masonry.

If you suspect a problem in your chimney, or if it has not been inspected in the last year or two, call 2nd Generation Chimneys of Minneapolis for a professional chimney inspection.

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Now is the time for Chimney Repairs and Inspection!

Friday, August 10th, 2012

With your chimney being out of commission during the hot summer months, now is the best time to get any repairs or inspections taken care of. David Pixley of 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. (not to be confused with Jack Pixley Sweeps), has an expert crew ready to serve you. Inspections and repairs are critical to the safety and function of your chimney come those winter months when you need to keep your family warm. Give us a call today!



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Minneapolis Chimney Guide: Common Chimney Problems

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Making use of your Minneapolis home’s fireplace is a great way to relax. Even if you use it only infrequently, though, it is important to have your fireplace and chimney professionally inspected annually. Not only does this keep your chimney  working properly and safely, it also allows professional chimney sweeps to discover any existing or developing problems within your chimney. At 2nd Generation Chimneys we want you to feel confident when using your home’s fireplace. Here’s some information about common chimney problems and conditions that can be discovered and dealt with by a professional service company.

  • Creosote Buildup: Creosote is a tarry substance that results from the burning of wood in your fireplace. It is a byproduct of the burning process and its production cannot be avoided. As long as you have your chimney cleaned annually creosote should pose no danger. However, if left to itself long enough it can be responsible for fires within your chimney. Regular, professional chimney maintenance will cut down on the creosote buildup in your chimney, keeping your fireplace and chimney as safe as possible.
  • Damaged Chimney Cap or Crown: The crown of your chimney sits at the top of the structure to protect exposed masonry chimneys from being damaged by weather or water. The cap is a roofed addition that helps keep water out of your chimney and may have a screen to keep animals and birds out as well. A faulty cap or screen can let in unwanted debris and pests, and can even result in damage to your fireplace’s flue.
  • Damaged Flue: The flue of your fireplace allows combustion gases to vent. A damaged flue can allow gases to seep into your house and lead to the erosion of the chimney’s masonry and brickwork. This puts the structural integrity of your entire chimney at risk.
  • Cracks in Lining of Chimney: Any cracks or damage to the flue lining must be dealt with immediately. This can lead to leaking gases and escaping heat, putting the interior of your home at risk of fire or exposure to gases. It can also lead to blockages and improper ventilation.

When properly maintained your fireplace is a perfectly safe, enjoyable way to relax and heat your home. Annual professional maintenance will alleviate any concern you have about the functionality of your chimney. If you have any cause to suspect a problem with your chimney’s structure or operation, or if you’d just like more information, call the Minneapolis chimney professionals at 2nd Generation Chimneys.

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Three Levels of Chimney Inspection

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Here at 2nd Generation Chimneys Inc., we know the importance of maintaining and inspecting your chimney to ensure proper function and safety. The Pixley family has been maintaining, inspecting and repairing chimneys for generations and offers three levels of inspection to suite your needs:

  • Level 1 Chimney Inspection: During your yearly chimney sweep appointment, our technicians will inspect all the readily accessible components including the damper, smoke chamber and firebox to look for obvious issues that need repair.
  • Level 2 Chimney Inspection: Offers a more comprehensive look at your chimney by accessing crawlspace and using special equipment. Flue size will also be assessed for compatibility with your fireplace or furnace and recommendations made to resolve any issues found.
  • Level 3 Chimney Inspection: This inspection is the most comprehensive including all components from Level 1 and Level 2 inspections as well as removing the crown or other permanent structures to gain better access to the chimney. This is only done if absolutely necessary, so it is best to receive the professional recommendation from one of our expert technicians to determine which level is best for you.

No matter the level, David Pixley and his team of experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys will provide top notch service and recommendations to keep your chimney well maintained.


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