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

Minneapolis Tip: Why Your Dryer Vents Need to be Cleaned

Monday, October 29th, 2012

When your dryer buzzes to let you know that it has finished drying your clothes, do you always remember to change the dryer filter? We do most of the time. But what about all of the lint that that doesn’t get trapped by the filter? That lint gets sent out through your dryer vent to the outside. Over time, that lint can build up and start to clog your dryer vents. When that happens, a whole bunch of things can potentially happen to your dryer. In this blog post, we explore some of the reasons why you should have your dryer vents cleaned in Minneapolis.

Safety

This may come as a shock to some people, but each year there are approximately 15,000 house fires resulting from dryer lint. As your vents become more and more clogged with lint, it gets closer and closer to the heating element inside your dryer. Lint is extremely flammable and when it gets too hot or if it touches that heating element, it can ignite very quickly. Proper cleaning of your dryer vents could potentially reduce the chance that you experience a fire in your home as a result of dryer lint.

Faster Dry Times

The dryer vent is your dryer’s exhaust vent. If it becomes clogged with lint, it can’t let out of the moisture that it is removing from you clothes. With much of that moisture staying inside your dryer, the dryer will have to run longer to get your clothes dry. With proper cleaning, you can make sure that your dryer continues to operate as efficiently and as quickly as possible.

More Efficient

When your dryer’s vents become clogged, it has to work harder to push the air and moisture out. This increases the energy demand from your dryer and lowers its efficiency. Cleaning your dryer’s vents regularly will keep it operating and peak efficiency and keep your utility bills in check.

Longer Dryer Life

If you dryer has to work harder to dry your clothes and force the exhaust air through a clogged vent, it will put a lot of strain on your dryer’s fan. This extra stress can cause it to wear out faster than normal. With regular maintenance, you may be able to extend the life of your dryer.

If you have any questions about your dryer or your dryer’s venting system, give the professionals at 2nd Generation Chimney today. We’ve been offering fast and reliable dryer services in Minneapolis for many years.

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We Sweep Chimneys!

Friday, October 26th, 2012

2nd Generation Chimneys is out and about in your neighborhood sweeping chimneys and getting households ready for the winter season. Our crew is ready for you, so give us a call today and we will come prepared for all your chimney needs. 1-888-PIXLEYS

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St Paul Heating FAQ: How Do Wood-Burning Fireplaces and Stoves Compare to Other Types of Heating Systems?

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Are you thinking of switching your heating system over to a wood-burning fireplace or wood stove? When comparing wood-burning applications to heating systems that run on gas or electricity, you’ll want to consider the benefits and drawbacks of both. At 2nd Generation Chimneys, we clean, repair, and inspect traditional fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, and gas log fireplace inserts. We’ve put together some factors to consider if you are thinking that you might like to install a new fireplace or stove.

Fireplaces

In addition to the aesthetics of a warm fire, a fireplace can be a great source of heat if you are heating a small home. Depending on the price of wood, a traditional fireplace can be an inexpensive way to heat a given area within the home. If you want to install a gas log insert, then you’ll need to factor in the cost of the extra gas piping. Any type of fireplace should be inspected every year according to the CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) standards, so this is also something to keep in mind.

In addition to routine chimney cleanings and inspections, you will also have to think about storage space for wood, and the effort involved in starting a fire every day during the winter. Wood needs to be stored in a dry area, and you should only burn seasoned wood, which means that the wood has been completely dried out for at least six months. Other factors include clearance for the chimney, the square footage of the area that you need to heat, and how well your home is insulated. There will be some heat loss due to the use of a chimney, but if your damper, chimney cap, and masonry are all in good condition, there will be less air loss and better efficiency.

Wood Stoves and Pellet Stoves

Wood stoves are a little more efficient than an open fireplace, and depending on the type and model you choose, you can get up to 50,000 BTUs with some wood stoves. There are many different designs, and they can be installed as a freestanding wood stove or inserted into an existing fireplace (depending on height and condition of the chimney flue).

If you are considering a switching to pellet fuel, keep in mind that there are many different heating applications that use pellets. Freestanding pellet stoves are the most common type, and wood pellets are a highly efficient and renewable fuel. In addition, pellet stoves are relatively effortless since they only need to be refueled about once a day. However, there’s more maintenance a regular wood-burning application due to the moving parts in the feeding arm.

Call the St Paul fireplace and chimney experts at 2nd Generation if you would like to learn more.

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Dryer Vent Cleaning – From the Inside, Out

Friday, October 19th, 2012

You are likely in need of a dryer vent cleaning, whether it has been on your to-do list or not. Many people over-look this very important maintenance service unintentionally only to end up in high-risk for fire damage as well as carbon monoxide leaks from the dryer exhaust. Give the Pixley family at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. a call today to ensure proper dryer performance and safety at your home.

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Minneapolis Chimney Tip: How to Maintain Proper Airflow in Your Chimney

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Whether you heat with gas, wood, or pellets, proper airflow in your chimney is important for several reasons. Not only does it help with efficiency, but it can also prevent backdraft and fire hazards. Here are some ways you can ensure that you are getting proper airflow in your chimney.

At 2nd Generation Chimneys, our Minneapolis chimney specialists are here to answer any further questions you might have. Our technicians are trained and certified to inspect chimneys for any type of heating system that requires ventilation through a chimney, so feel free to contact us any time.

Make Sure the Damper is Fully Open

Before you turn on your heat or build the first fire in the fall, always make sure that the damper is fully open. After you open it, check to make sure it’s fully open. Often a damper won’t open all the way because of excess creosote or soot buildup on the smoke shelf, or the damper could be damaged.

Schedule Your Annual Chimney Cleaning Before the Heating Season

In addition to checking for damage to the damper or other components, hiring a professional for a thorough chimney cleaning and inspection before the weather gets cold is important for many reasons. This gives the technician a chance to clean out dangerous levels of creosote build-up, and check for other issues with airflow. Poor chimney design is another issue that can be remedied in several ways. A damaged chimney cap or animals living inside the chimney are other potential airflow blocks.

Have Your Chimney Repaired as Needed

Should you need a chimney repair, it is important to have the repairs done before you use your heating system for the first time in the fall. This ensures proper airflow and safe operation. If there are cracks in the lining or your chimney needs masonry repairs, it’s also important to have this done since moisture can damage the inside of the flue or fireplace.

Increase Airflow by Making a Hotter Fire

The draft in your chimney works by pulling the air up through the chimney, so an easy way to increase the airflow is to burn hotter fires. Because hotter air is lighter, it creates more pull. If your chimney is too short or narrow for the heating unit, it can also affect the airflow and draft.

Make Sure Your Home is Properly Sealed and Insulated

Having a home that is sealed too tightly or one that has too many cracks and air leaks can disrupt the pressure inside the home, which also affects the draft.

Call the Minneapolis heating experts at 2nd Generation for any further questions you might have.

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Minneapolis FAQ: What is the Difference Between Creosote and Level 3 Creosote?

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Many of our customers in Minneapolis have asked about level 3 creosote and how it differs from normal creosote build-up, so we’ve created a helpful post to explain the difference and how to prevent level 3 creosote. Don’t hesitate to call 2nd Generation Chimneys any time if you have further questions. We’re here to provide you with all your Minneapolis chimney needs, so call today!

What is Creosote?

Creosote is a natural by-product of burning wood inside your fireplace or wood stove. Any type of wood-burning application will create some level of creosote build-up inside the chimney flue. Depending on the type of wood you use and the ventilation inside your home, creosote can build up quickly inside your flue lining. Regular chimney cleanings should take care of any normal build-up, but if your chimney hasn’t been inspected or cleaned in a while, the creosote creates a thick, gummy substance that is more difficult to get rid of. This is categorized as “level 3 creosote,” and it can cause potential fire hazards and corrosion of your chimney liner.

Ways to Prevent Level 3 Creosote Build-up

Annual chimney and fireplace inspections are a good way to prevent level 3 creosote. Scheduling an inspection before the heating season begins is ideal for a few reasons, namely because our chimney technicians can detect and clean out any Level 3 creosote from inside your chimney. In many cases, using chemicals is one of the only ways to get rid of this type of build-up. Ask your technician if you have concerns or questions. In addition to fire hazards, moisture inside the chimney is a common problem, especially if your masonry chimney has cracks, or your chimney cap is not properly installed. When moisture gets inside your flue liner and mixes with creosote build-up, it can create a chemical that can start to corrode the lining.

Wood-Burning Tip

Another important tip to remember is toburn the right type of wood. If you are burning “green” or wet wood, it can create more creosote build-up due to the nature of the unseasoned wood. “Seasoned” wood is wood that has been dried out for at least six months in a proper location. Always try to dry your wood in a covered area, where moisture cannot penetrate the wood pile. If you have questions, call us.

Contact the Minneapolis chimney technicians 2nd Generation Chimneys today to schedule your next chimney inspection. We can help prevent safety concerns with a Level 1. 2. or 3 inspection. Call us any time to schedule an appointment.

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Does Your Chimney Need Fixing?

Friday, October 5th, 2012

The Pixley family does it all! We clean, sweep, inspect, install, and of course repair chimney’s and fireplaces. If your chimney is beginning to fall apart from age or other unforeseen damage, give 2nd Generation Chimneys a call to get it fixed! Our team is equipped with the skills and tools to take care of all your chimney needs.

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Minneapolis Chimney Sweeping Question: Why Does My Chimney Need to Be Inspected if I Have a Gas Fireplace?

Monday, October 1st, 2012

When you use a traditional fireplace in Minneapolis, it’s easy to see why you need to have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. The smoke going up the chimney leaves residue behind that can eventually become a hazard if not removed. But there are other reasons that it’s important to have your chimney inspected regardless of the type of fireplace you have, which is why it’s still important to get regular inspections even if you have a gas fireplace.

Outside Debris

One of the main reasons to have your chimney inspected is that things can fall into it from outside. Any type of debris has the potential to become a clog in your chimney, which in turn can cause serious ventilation issues in your home. During a regular inspection, a certified Minneapolis chimney inspection professional can easily find and remove anything that may be interfering with the proper movement of exhaust through your chimney.

Structural Issues

Over time, your chimney will invariably develop cracks and other structural issues that need to be addressed to keep it in good shape. Many of these structural issues, if caught early, are very easy to repair. But if they’re not attended to promptly, small cracks and chips can easily get larger, eventually compromising the integrity of the entire structure. Cracks that let in air from outside also change the way air moves through your chimney, making it a less effective ventilation system for your home.

So while a gas fireplace does burn clean, creating no soot or other residue that can be deposited inside your chimney, there are many other reasons it’s important to have your chimney inspected. This usually only needs to be done once a year to ensure that you have a safe and properly functioning chimney to keep fumes away from the living spaces of your home.

For more information about chimney sweeping or inspection in Minneapolis, give 2nd Generation Chimneys a call!

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