2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Blog: Archive for April, 2013

What Kind of Tools We Use For Chimney Sweeping in St. Paul

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Homeowners throughout the St. Paul, MN area enjoy the comforting glow of fireplaces for much of the year. But creosote, animals, and other debris present challenges to this comfort, which is why you need routine professional chimney sweeping. Unfortunately, many customers have a somewhat antiquated image of what we do, usually associated with lots of soot and black dust, perhaps something out of Mary Poppins. While we retain the chimney sweeper’s cheer of the Disney film, we use only clean, modern techniques to keep your chimney working well throughout the year. In this post, we’d like to explain the basics of the process so that you get a sense of what you’re getting. If you’re looking for St. Paul, MN chimney sweeping, look no further than the experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Call us today!

  • Brushes. Your chimney sweeper will use a variety of rotary brushes to scrape the creosote from the interior of your chimney safely. These brushes are designed with this task in mind, and specifically built to remove creosote efficiently. They are attached to flexible rods, or to a long flexible hose that goes up and down your chimney, all the way to the top.
  • Vacuum. In order to keep your home clean, and to prevent the black dust from entering your household, the chimney sweeper uses an industrial vacuum with a filter specially designed to capture micro-particles of dust. The vacuum’s position depends on your chimney and the type of equipment being used, but its high suction rate ensures that the job is done cleanly and efficiently, with minimal disruption to the rest of your home. The sweeper may also recommend covering the chimney area in drop cloths to ensure that your belongings to do not accumulate dust.
  • Chemicals. If the amount of creosote in your chimney reaches what’s called level 3, then your sweeper may recommend using special chemical agents to remove the creosote, in addition to brushes.

We hope this gives you a preview of the clean, efficient service that we offer. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give the St. Paul, MN chimney sweeping experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. a call today!

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What You Need to Know About Chimney Fires and Insurance

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Whenever you use a fireplace or stove that requires the use of a chimney to heat your home, there is the possibility of a chimney fire. While scheduling routine chimney maintenance and professional chimney sweeping services will keep your chimney as safe as possible, you should still understand some basics about chimney fires and insurance. Here is some information about the Minneapolis chimney insurance claims procedure. If you have any further questions, or need to schedule any services for your chimney, contact 2nd Generation Chimneys. We have the answers to any questions you may have about Minneapolis chimney insurance claims.

First of all, you need to initiate your claim right away. Contact your insurance company to do so, and try to get your claim number as soon as possible. Then you must find a reliable contractor to work with. This contractor will act as a liaison between you and the insurance company you use. Make sure that you are working with a dependable, qualified contractor.

Your contractor may have you sign a contingency contract, which serves as a written agreement between you and the contractor. Many insurance companies will not work with a contractor on a restoration without this type of contract. In most cases, if you have the proper insurance, you will only wind up paying your insurance deductible in the event of a chimney fire. Make sure that you have a good grasp on the details of your insurance policy. You do not want to have a chimney fire occur in your home, only to realize that the resulting damages are not covered by your policy.

Generally speaking, an insurance payment will occur in two phases. You will get a first check, representing the actual cash value, which will be released once your insurer agrees to the damages and their worth. The final replacement check is issued once the project is complete.

When you are looking for information about Minneapolis chimney insurance claims, or if you need a contractor you can work with in complete confidence, call 2nd Generation Chimneys today. We can handle your evaluations and reports, claim loss recovery and chimney restoration needs. Call today to get started.

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Twin Cities: The Importance of Chimney Resurfacing

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Check out our video of one of our certified technicians performing smoke chamber resurfacing. As part of our chimney repair services, resurfacing is an important part of maintaining and preserving your chimney and masonry work. Don’t wait until your chimney becomes irreparable to schedule a maintenance call. We service the Twin Cities area so Schedule an appointment today!

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How to Tell If You Need Minneapolis Masonry Services

Monday, April 15th, 2013

If you have a fireplace in your home that you use regularly then you’re likely enjoying comfortable and efficient heating for your home. Even though chimney and fireplaces can sometimes last up to 100 years they will eventually need repair. For all your Minneapolis masonry services call the experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys. If you’re having any issues with your home’s fireplace or chimney make sure that you call for a professional immediately. Here are a few of the signs that you should keep an eye out for that could indicate that you need Minneapolis masonry services.

Inefficient Chimney or Flue

If you’ve started to notice smoke coming out into your home from your fireplace it could mean that you need to call 2nd Generation for Minneapolis masonry services. This can sometimes mean that you’re having an issue with your flue or that there are cracks in your chimney letting air in. It may also indicate that there is blockage or creosote build-up inside your chimney. Not only does this mean that your chimney isn’t working well but it could also fill your home with smoke.

Water Leaks

If you see water dripping down into your fireplace then you probably need the Minneapolis masonry services of 2nd Generation Chimney. This problem likely indicates that there are leaks and cracks in your chimney or in the flashing around the chimney that is letting water or melted ice drip down into your chimney. This problem can be remedied by re-sealing the flashing or filling in the holes and cracks that are in your chimney.

For all your Minneapolis masonry services call the friendly specialists at 2nd Generation Chimney. We have years of experience working with all different types of chimney systems and problems. We’ll be able to quickly diagnose the problem and get it fixed for you as soon as possible. Call us today to talk with one of our expert chimney sweeps.

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From Mary Poppins to 2nd Generation – A Brief History of Chimney Sweeping

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Originally based on a series of children’s books written by P. L. Travers, the popular Walt Disney film Mary Poppins instilled in the American imagination a delightful portrait of the chimney sweep, played by Dick van Dyke, who sings and dances well, even when covered in soot. We might call this the romantic image of the late 19th and early 20th century English chimney sweep who performs difficult labor with a smile on his face.

Of course, as with many of our modern professions, the history of chimney sweeping was not always as pleasant as the Plymouth, MN chimney sweeping experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys make it! The occupation had its hardships, including illness and disease from soot and carbon monoxide.

In this post, we’d like to give you an overview of the profession of chimney sweeping. For Plymouth, MN chimney sweeping, call the experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys today!

Long used in ancient Rome, chimneys became especially prevalent in post-Renaissance Europe, especially for nobility, whose castles and palaces were well equipped with numerous fireplaces, many of them quite extravagant. But even for the average row house, the use of wood as a fuel to both heat and cook meant that the home fireplace received much more use than they do today. When creosote builds up, it becomes a fire hazard and blocks the ventilation. Up until the late 18th century, both the English and Americans alike were largely ignorant of the dangers of soot, creosote, and carbon monoxide, so that young apprentices would often be susceptible to disease early in life. Such conditions were stemmed by governmental restrictions, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that such dangers were truly exposed.

The modern chimney sweep uses much of the same equipment as his predecessors to remove creosote and soot buildup from the interior surface of chimneys: brushes and scrapers. But, vacuum technology has made the practice much safer to perform, and safety equipment is regularly used to prevent inhalation of noxious particles. A clean chimney allows you to heat your home confidently. It provides excellent comfort throughout the heating season.

When you need chimney services, make sure you contact a professional. For more information, or to schedule a Plymouth, MN chimney sweeping, call the experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys today!

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How Water Can Damage Your Chimney in St. Paul

Monday, April 1st, 2013

While most homeowners associate their chimneys with fire, water can pose significant challenges to the parts and materials of your chimney. While the rest of your home is protected from water and snow by roofing material and eaves, your chimney stands exposed to all of the elements. When professionally installed and maintained, your chimney is built to last, but over time it may require repair. Remember that professional chimney and fireplace repair in St. Paul, MN requires expertise and experience. Call the experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys today.

Water damage is the result of erosion, oxidization, as well as the deterioration of brick and mortar materials by frequent freezing and thawing. If water enters the pores of these materials, and the temperature drops, the resulting water expansion inside these materials can cause significant problems to the integrity of the masonry. Here are a few ways that water can damage your chimney in St. Paul, MN:

  • Rusty damper. In addition to the freeze/thaw action of water, there is, of course, the oxidization of metal cause by water and water vapor. While most of the materials used within chimney and fireplace construction are water-resistant, rust is still a constant risk. Your damper controls the airflow of your chimney, so that you can avoid losing heat when you’re not using your fireplace. When moisture enters the damper mechanism, the parts can rust, and they may eventually cause the damper to become stuck.
  • Mortar deterioration. As already mentioned, water can pose a significant threat to your chimney mortar. Your bricks are only as good as the glue that holds them together, so be sure to ask your local fireplace repairman to use only quality mortar for repairs and new construction.
  • Faulty flashing. Your flashing is the material that forges a seamless bond between your chimney and your roof. Typically made out of aluminum or copper, flashing can begin to undergo wear and tear over time, especially if improperly installed.

Understanding the risk of chimney water damage is important to keeping your home safe. If you need fireplace repair in St. Paul, MN, call 2nd Generation Chimneys today!

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