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

Some Benefits of Getting Chimney Inspection Services

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

You only need your chimney inspected every five years or so. They’re very durable.

You might have received this advice about your home’s chimneys—but don’t believe it. A chimney left without an annual inspection and sweeping services can pose problems for your home that range from serious annoyances to serious hazards. To keep your chimney a charming and cozy part of your house during the winter, you should schedule regular inspection and sweeping. We’ll go over some of the benefits you’ll receive from these inspection visits.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. offers three levels of sweeping and chimney inspection in Minneapolis, MN to make it simple to find a plan that fits your chimney and budget.

Contact us today before the first winter logs go on the hearth.

Reduced fire hazard from creosote: Although a fireplace is designed to hold flames without causing danger, this safety will vanish if the chimney doesn’t receive regular inspection. Without routine checks and sweeping, your chimney will develop a dangerous build-up of creosote. Creosote is a black, shiny residue left over from burning logs. Creosote is extremely flammable, and if enough of it encrusts the inside of your chimney, it might only take a small spark to ignite it, leading to a fire that spreads into the upper floors of your home.

Stop animal infiltration: The cap on top of a chimney does the important task of preventing animals from entering. Birds in particular like to make nests inside chimneys, but rodents and raccoons frequently invade these spaces as well. Trying to “smoke out” these animals can backfire, so a regular inspection to keep the chimney cap intact against these nuisances is important.

Prevent structural collapse: You might imagine the solid construction materials of most chimneys will mean they have scant danger of falling apart. But mortar can crack, or the lining of your chimney wear away, and this can cause the chimney to collapse. Aside from the aesthetic problem this will cause, a collapsing chimney can allow smoke into other parts of the house, cause a toxic backflow from the fireplace, and create major fire hazards. Inspections will locate structural trouble and get it fixed.

Keep in mind that even though you associate a fireplace with pleasant family moments and cozy holiday charm, it still does the job of containing fire and can become a health hazard without the proper care. Keeping the chimney over your fireplace in good shape is key to fireplace safety, so make sure you sign up for chimney inspection in Minneapolis, MN. 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. will help keep your fireplace a joyful part of your household.

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Chimney Inspection Horror Stories

Friday, October 18th, 2013

At 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., we’re familiar with chimneys that haven’t gotten a proper inspection for many years and the troubles that can form in them. Even though a fireplace makes a wonderful and cozy addition to a home, people don’t like to think about the unseen interior of the chimney that vents the smoke to the outside, so they let those important inspections slide. However, a chimney that goes without any sort of inspection can develop serious issues, such as soot blockages and cracks in the masonry. And then there are issues that go beyond “serious” and enter the “horror story” realm. Here are two of them, both of which you can easily avoid in Eden Prairie, MN with chimney inspections being performed on a regular basis.

Raccoons: Bird nests are a common animal-related trouble you’ll find in chimneys with broken caps. Other creatures known to crawl into chimneys include rats and squirrels. But raccoons are the worst intruders of all. These masked bandits are extremely intelligent, persistent, and have infiltrated far into suburban areas where they have become territorial. They pose a major issue in Minnesota towns today. Raccoons will think uncapped chimneys are hollow trees and try to lair in them, and they are tough to remove. (Don’t try to smoke one out under any circumstances.) An annual inspection will make sure you have a raccoon-proof chimney.

Dangerous creosote build-up: Creosote is the residue left over from the burning of coal or wood. You will find this in any fireplace or chimney—but if you leave a chimney without inspection and cleaning for many years, this buildup can turn into a fire hazard. It will become worse if your chimney has poor airflow. Creosote is highly combustible, and if enough of it chokes up your chimney, a single spark might ignite a large fire that can spread to your roof. Far fewer homes would catch fire each year if people signed up for regular chimney inspections.

You may have heard that chimneys only need inspection every five years. This is a myth, and a potentially hazardous one. We recommend that your chimney receives an annual sweeping service which includes a full inspection to search for common—and uncommon—problems. 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. offers three levels of annual sweeping to fit your needs and budget. Don’t allow any of these horror stories to turn into your horror story: contact us today to sign up for a Eden Prairie, MN chimney inspection service.

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What Happens During a Chimney Cleaning?

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Soot and creosote can build up in your chimney over time. Not only do they interfere with your ability to enjoy your fireplace, but they can constitute a danger to your household. When it comes to chimney cleaning, Plymouth MN and other communities in the Twin Cities need a reliable service in order to make full use of their fireplaces during our long, cold winters. But what happens during a chimney cleaning? The specifics depend on the type of fireplace and the nature of the build-up or damage, though a few general steps are universal.

It starts with an inspection to determine the state of your chimney and note the specific levels of soot or creosote build-up. After that, the chimney sweep lays down tarp and other protective coverings to keep your home clean and safe during the cleaning process. From there, the cleaning can proceed in earnest, using one of three basic methods:

  • The rod method uses flexible rods with sweepers on the end. The chimney sweep brushes the interior sides of the chimney to clear off the build-up. The deeper he needs to go into the chimney, the more extensions he can add to the rods to extend them. The rod method can be applied “top down” from the roof or “bottom up” from the interior of the home, depending on what’s most effective.
  • The weight method applies heavy weights to the brushes, then lets gravity help do the scrubbing. The chimney sweep can raise or lower it using a system of pulleys.
  • The dual line method involves two chimney sweeps: one at the top of the chimney and one at the bottom. They push and pull on a line running the length of the chimney with a brush attached to scrub down the sides of the chimney.

The exact method depends on the type of chimney, the cleaning required, and the proclivities of the chimney sweep. When you need a chimney cleaning in Plymouth MN, we can help. 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. can explain what happens during a chimney cleaning, then clean yours with thoroughness and courtesy. Give us a call today to set up an appointment.

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When is the Best Time to Have My Chimney Inspected?

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

A fireplace with a chimney carries an air of romanticism to it: summoning images of a warm and cozy home on a cold winter’s night. Fireplaces are efficient and atmospheric, as well as providing a way to heat your home without costing you an arm and a leg in monthly energy bills. But in order for a fireplace to do its job safely, you need to plan for regular inspections and occasional repair. We provide St. Paul chimney inspection services, so don’t hesitate to contact us when you find yourself asking, “When is the best time to have my chimney inspected?”

Here in St. Paul, every significant home improvement project depends on the weather. In the summer, we face warm temperatures, high humidity, and even thunderstorms and tornados. In the winter, the temperature drops well below freezing, making outdoor repairs difficult in the extreme. When it doesn’t see much use, a chimney can build up plenty of debris such as leaves and birds’ nests, while existing damage can go undetected since you aren’t likely to use the fireplace in the muggy heat of summer.

At the same time, winter makes outdoor repair work extremely difficult, both in terms of its effects on the repair personnel and on the chimney itself. Slippery roofs, icy surfaces and other conditions make such operations extremely hazardous, as well as increasing the possibility of further damage to your chimney.

In light of all that, the best time to have your chimney inspected is the early autumn, when summer temperatures have diminished, but the first snows have not yet begun to fall. That gives the inspector time to perform a thorough examination, then schedule any repairs or upgrades well before you need to use the fireplace. It’s safer, it’s easier on the workmen and it usually results in a more effective repair session.

For St. Paul chimney inspections, it pays to consult the best. 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. can answer the question “When is the best time to have my chimney inspected?” then go about the task with professionalism and care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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