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

New Year’s Traditions Explained

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

2014 is almost upon us, and with the coming of the New Year, we thought we’d take a brief look at some of the more popular traditions associated with this holiday. It’s been around for at least 4,000 years: as long as we’ve figured out how long it takes for the seasons to come and go. Here’s a quick discussion about some of our more modern traditions and where they started:

  • Auld Lang Syne. The famous song began in Scotland, where it was published by Robert Burns in 1796.  He claims he initially heard it sung by an elderly resident of his hometown, which suggests it has traditional folk origins even before that. It became even more popular when big band leader, Guy Lombardo, started playing it every New Year’s Eve, starting in 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
  • The Dropping of the Ball in Times Square. The tradition of dropping the ball in Times Square started in 1907. It was made out of iron and wood with light bulbs located on the surface, and the ball originally “dropped” over the offices of the New York Times at One Times Square. Dick Clark famously broadcast the event every year from 1972, until his death in 2012.
  • The Rose Parade. The Tournament of Roses Parade has been held in Pasadena every year since 1890; taking advantage of California’s warm weather to present a parade of floats, bands and horses. A football game was eventually added to the festivities in 1902, when Michigan dominated Stanford’s team by a score of 49-0
  • Baby New Year. The use of a baby to signify the New Year dates back to Ancient Greece, where it symbolized the rebirth of Dionysus (the god of wine and parties). Early Christians initially resisted the pagan elements of the story, but soon came to adopt it since it matched the traditional Christmas symbol of baby Jesus in the manger. Today, people of all faiths and traditions refer to the New Year as a baby, representing new beginnings.

Whatever traditions you choose to celebrate, we here at 2nd Generation Chimneys wish you the very safest and happiest of New Years. May 2014 bring you nothing but the best!

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Wishing You a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

It’s the holiday season once again, and everyone at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. wishes the very best for you, your family, and your friends. We hope that whatever brings you joy fills these last days of the year.

We’d like to thank all of our customers for giving us the opportunity to provide you with services that improve your lives and help you better enjoy this time with your loved ones. You are the reason that we exist as a company, and that’s something we always keep that in mind. We are eager to work with you in the coming year.

Here’s something to remember for the season: many companies in our industry are very busy on service calls during December—it’s one of the most crowded times of the year. If you need service, make sure you schedule it as soon as possible so you can continue to enjoy the pleasures of this time of year.

Lastly, we at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. want to conclude with a thought from the late Earl Nightingale to help remind us all that we do not need to wait for a holiday to have a reason to enjoy or celebrate ourselves, our lives or our family:

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.

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The Benefits of Regular Chimney Inspection

Friday, December 20th, 2013

If you’ve ever seen pictures of old, deserted towns where many of the wooden buildings have long since crumbled away, you’ll notice that the only parts that survive are the chimneys. These towers of stone and brick are the sole reminders that, perhaps a century past, houses stood in those spots. Chimneys are as sturdy and durable as almost any part of your home.

However, this hardiness doesn’t mean you can leave your chimney alone and without regular inspections. A chimney can cause problems if it doesn’t receive care from professionals and routine cleaning. We’ll explain how you can benefit from scheduling regular inspections for your chimney.

When you need a trained and knowledgeable chimney inspector in Minneapolis, MN, call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Our name speaks for our years of experience.

Why you should have regular chimney inspection

  • Creosote detection: The number one threat to your chimney and fireplace is creosote. This is the unburned wood energy that builds up because of poor venting and the burning of green wood. Even with excellent venting and care, creosote can still develop inside your chimney. Creosote is highly combustible, and can cause fires to break out in the upper parts of your home, such as the second floor, and most worrisome, the roof. If an inspector finds too much creosote accruing along the interior of your chimney, you will know it’s time for thorough cleaning.
  • Finding problems with flue dampers: You should open the flue damper when you have a fire going to allow smoke to vent, and close it when the fireplace is not in use so heat from your home won’t escape. If the damper becomes damaged, it may have trouble opening and closing all the way, leading to improper venting. Inspectors will catch this and know how to repair it.
  • Locating issues with flue lining: The lining of your chimney, which is made from clay, ceramic, or refractory cement, is responsible for containing the combustion byproducts of the fireplace and properly venting them to the outside while protecting the rest of the chimney from fires or corrosion. Damage to this lining can lead to fire and poor venting. Chimney inspectors will locate places where the lining needs to be replaced.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends you have an annual inspection done for your chimney from a certified CSIA chimney sweep. 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. has a staff of CSIA-certified inspectors to take care of your chimney. When you need a Minneapolis, MN chimney inspector, make us your first call.

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Common Causes of Chimney Fires

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

The title of the post might sound a touch scary. “How often do chimney fires happen? Should I even have a fireplace?” You don’t need to worry unnecessarily, since a fireplace in a home is no more dangerous than any other heating system you may have installed, such as a furnace or a boiler. If you take care of your chimney with regular sweeping and the necessary repairs, it will pose no serious danger to you, your family, or your home.

But accidents still happen, and poor chimney maintenance will make them more likely to happen. Here are the most common reasons for fires to start in chimneys. To prevent any of these from occurring in your home, rely on the professional services of 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. for chimney cleaning in Saint Paul, MN.

Here Are Some Causes of Chimney Fires

There is one main cause of chimney fires, although there are many reasons for it to develop. The cause is creosote, and it is Enemy #1 for your chimney and fireplace. Creosote is the name for that shiny, tarry, flaky residue that will start to coat the masonry of your fireplace and chimney after burning wood. Creosote is basically unburned wood energy, the by-product of combustion, and it is highly combustible itself. If it starts to layer the bricks of your chimney too thickly, not only will it restrict the escape of flue gases, but it will pose the risk of igniting and causing fires that can reach the upper floors or roof of your house. The more creosote builds up, the longer it can sustain a fire. Creosote will build up because of poor venting in your chimney, or excess smoke from burning unseasoned wood.

To help prevent creosote build-up, make sure that your chimney is properly vented. Build smaller, hotter fires that will burn completely and produce less smoke that will encourage creosote. Make sure that the chimney receives regular cleaning—once a year is recommended.

Only rely on CSIA-certified chimney sweeps

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that you call a chimney sweep with CSIA certification to handle cleaning because they are regularly tested on their understanding of the complexities of chimney and venting systems. At 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., all of our sweeps are CSIA certified, so you know that when you have your annual sweeping done, you will get the proper care that will keep creosote away and other dangers. You can enjoy your cozy fireplace all through the year without needing to worry about fires starting where they don’t belong. Contact us for your chimney cleaning in St. Paul, MN.

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How Often Should I Get Chimney Sweeping?

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Chimney sweeping is an occupation surrounded with myths—many of them from Mary Poppins and other movies and books about Victorian London. These are benign myths, of course, and amusing for modern chimney sweeps. But there’s another myth about chimney sweeping we encounter too often, and it’s a far more dangerous one: “your chimney only needs cleaning every five years or so.” This is not remotely true, even if you only use your chimney during the winter. Regular chimney sweeping is important for both the attractiveness of your fireplace, and for your safety. You should consider the fireplace in your home as part of your heating system. Just as your heating system should receive yearly maintenance, your chimney and fireplace should receive yearly cleaning.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. has CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified technicians on staff to provide you the cleaning and other services you need for a safe and beautiful fireplace. Make us your first choice for chimney sweeping in Minneapolis, MN.

Schedule annual chimney sweeping

The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 states: “Chimney, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” It will almost always be necessary to clean your chimney: even if you don’t use your fireplace often, deterioration can still occur and animals can build nests inside it. The CSIA recommends that even an 1/8” of soot build-up needs sweeping—and if it starts to develop into shiny creosote, it should be cleaned up sooner than the yearly visit because that is enough combustible material to constitute a fire hazard.

What if you use gas to heat your fireplace? Does that mean you need yearly cleaning as well? Absolutely. Even though gas burns cleaner than wood, you can still have trouble with damage from weather, debris, and animal nesting. Damage to the lining of the chimney from these infestations can turn into a serious fire hazard. You should have an annual inspection done on any type of fireplace.

Call for professional chimney sweeps

You can’t effectively clean a chimney on your own: there’s a reason that the profession “chimney sweep” exists in the first place. The task requires experience, training, and special tools. Removing dangerous creosote is a top priority during chimney sweeping, and you need this potentially dangerous substance scrubbed away as thoroughly as possible. Call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. for chimney sweeps that will keep you safe and make your fireplace a source of comfort and coziness all through the winter.

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