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2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Blog: Archive for September, 2012
The Minneapolis heating season is almost upon us and that means you need to start thinking of some of the basic maintenance tasks needed before you start using your heating equipment. This is especially true for your chimney, which is responsible for removing the exhaust from your heating system and maintaining steady ventilation throughout your entire home.
Just how important is it to clean your chimney on a timely basis each year? To start, consider the purpose of the chimney. A chimney is designed to remove large volumes of exhaust which means there will be a natural build up of creosote and soot on the flue liner in your chimney. A little bit of build up is normal but when it builds up extensively, such as over the course of a long, cold winter, it can be a problem. At first, it simply slows the flow of exhaust out of the chimney which can put unnecessary stress on your heating system.
However, with time, enough creosote or other debris such as bird’s nests, pests and other debris that got into your chimney over the course of the summer months can create real hazards, potentially even fire hazards.
The Benefits of Annual Chimney Inspection
A chimney inspection will do a few things. First, it ensures all of the creosote and soot build up is removed from your chimney before your heating system is turned on for the first time. Second it checks for damage done as a result of normal operation and any extreme weather since last spring. Finally, it removes other debris that could have built up in there between winters.
Chimney inspection and cleaning needs to be a normal part of your home’s heating maintenance. It is an important preventive step against potential problems and it ensures your chimney works efficiently throughout the coming heating season.
If your chimney has not been inspected in a couple years, contact 2nd Generation Chimneys of Minneapolis for a professional chimney inspection today.
It’s mid-September and that means colder weather and the holiday season is just around the corner. With colder weather, brings the need to keep warm, so having your chimney cleaned and ready to operate is a necessary task to get scheduled now. Holidays most likely means company, so don’t smoke the family out of the house on Thanksgiving because you didn’t get a proper chimney cleaning in. Give 2nd Generation Chimneys a call today to schedule your chimney clean and inspection. Keep your family safe, warm, and smoke free this season!
Pellet stoves are a viable option for many homeowners in the Minneapolis area – offering an alternative heating source that is independent of your gas lines and that can save you money over pricier fuel options in the winter. If you have been considering having a pellet stove installed in your home and would like to learn more about the specific benefits of doing so, here are a few of the many reasons why area homeowners have them installed.
The biggest benefits of a pellet stove are related to cost. A pellet stove costs less to install and offers a less expensive option for heating than gas furnaces or boilers – especially in colder climates. While the system does use electricity and you will need to purchase the wood pellets for your stove (possibly having them delivered depending on where you live in the Minneapolis area), the cost is still less than that of operating a gas powered heating system.
Other Benefits of a Pellet Stove
Beyond the cost benefits of a pellet stove there are a number of other reasons you might consider one a good fit for your home. To start, the system is self-contained, meaning there is a much lower risk of smoke and gas fumes entering your home during combustion than with other types of heating systems. There is much less ash as well and creosote is kept to a minimum, which makes cleaning easier and reduces the risk of a chimney fire.
The wood pellets these stoves run on are largely made from recycled materials as well, meaning this is a mostly green heating method and one that can save you a great deal of money over time. Due to the pellets being recycled, these stoves are often considered carbon neutral (though they do consume some small amount of electricity that isn’t factored into this).
Overall, a pellet stove is a good fit for many homes in Minneapolis, though it is important to have a professional inspect your space and help you determine if it is the right fit.
Remember, whether you have a pellet stove fireplace or a fireplace, regular chimney cleaning is needed to keep it functioning safely. Call the experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys for any chimney sweeping or fireplace installation in Minneapolis!
No need to climb that ladder yourself when the experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys are available to do the cleaning for you! It is important to get your chimney cleaned at least once a year to ensure proper function. With holiday’s just around the corner, remember to schedule your chimney clean now before you run into the unfortunate event of a smokey Thanksgiving. Plan ahead and give us a call today!
Chimney fires are scary things to think about, but by taking a few precautions, you can help prevent this problem from happening in your Minneapolis home.
First, here is a little on what causes chimney fires. The wood that you burn in your fireplace or wood stove contains material than can condense on the inside of your chimney. This forms a tar-like substance called creosote, which is very flammable. If enough creosote builds up in your chimney, it can form a serious fire hazard.
While any wood can create creosote, there are some factors that make creosote buildup more likely. Burning green wood, extremely cold temperatures, and poor air supply can lead to more creosote condensing on the chimney. To reduce buildup, it’s best to have small, hot fires with seasoned firewood.
However, since burning any wood will lead to creosote in your chimney, the best way to prevent chimney fires is to have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year. A chimney sweep will remove any creosote buildup and check over your chimney for other problems.
To prepare for your chimney sweep’s visit, there are a few things that you can do:
- Don’t use the fireplace or wood stove for 24 hours before the appointment
- Move furniture away from the fireplace
- Keep pets and children away from the work area
Here at 2nd Generation Chimneys, we understand the impact of fire damage on your home. If you have experienced a chimney fire or any other damage to your chimney, the 2nd Generation Chimneys team is ready to take care of you. We have experienced professionals on staff to ensure a proper restoration from start to finish. Give the Pixley’s a call today to ensure your chimney is ready for Fall!
Contributed by High’s Chimney Service, a 30+ year old Washington DC chimney repair and service company.
It’s no secret that you create pollution when you burn something. Wood is no exception to this rule. Most people would be surprised to learn just how much you can reduce your pollution when you use your fireplace with a few simple tips.
1. Know your Enemy
First, it is helpful to know about the air pollutants you should be concerned with. Particulate matter is the fine particles left behind when something is burned; it is the equivalent of soot. When airborne, particulate matter is often visible as dark smoke and contributes to respiratory conditions. Carbon Monoxide is a poisonous gas that results when there is not enough oxygen to produce a complete burn. There are other harmful gasses that might result when you burn contaminated fuel — volatile organic compound (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides are particularly notable.
2. Only clean, natural firewood is firewood
Not all wood should be considered firewood, and only firewood should be burned (other than your kindling). This excludes things like:
- painted or stained wood (which will release VOCs)
- pallets (which are treated with chemicals that typically contain formaldehyde and arsenic.)
- wood with glue on it
- driftwood (the chlorine from the salt causes carcinogenic gasses)
- wood with heavy pesticides
- moldy, rotten, or diseased wood
- any treated wood
- glossy paper or paper with colored ink (magazines are a no-no; black and white newspaper is ok)
- any trash, including Styrofoam, plastic, and rubber
3. Only Use Seasoned firewood
Seasoning, or curing, wood means leaving the wood to dry properly for at least 6 months. The reason you want seasoned firewood is that it will burn much more efficiently. Wet wood produces a lot of smoke, and you want to avoid that.
4. Burn hot, but smart
A hot fire burns the wood efficiently. The most smoke is produced when a fire is starting and when it smolders, because these times are when the fire is cool. Try to start the fire quickly. And never let a fire smolder, especially overnight (that’s just asking for trouble). A decent-sized fire is recommended, because a small fire won’t get hot, but a very large fire may get wild and dangerous.
5. Get your Chimney Inspected Regularly
There are many chimney problems that can affect the environment inside and outside of your home. For example, chimneys with cracks, leaks, or inadequate liners can have inefficiencies and will not keep the fire as hot. An inefficient fire system wastes energy, which means more fuel needs to be burned, which means more pollution. Chimneys might also have air flow issues, which can be caused by improper venting, creosote buildup, or other problems. Lack of proper air flow can prevent complete combustion, resulting in inefficiencies and possibly even carbon monoxide. There really are too many problems here for average homeowners to check themselves.
Reducing the pollution coming from your chimney is actually pretty simple. In addition to helping the environment, these tips can help keep your family safer and save you money in firewood and chimney repair and maintenance costs.