2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Blog: Archive for January, 2014

What Is a Top Sealing Damper?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

If you’ve lived with a fireplace in your home, you are familiar with the damper. You keep it shut when the fireplace isn’t in use so that no extra heat from your home escapes up the chimney, and you open it when you light a  fire so the exhaust fumes from the fire don’t flow into your home but instead vent safely to the outside.

However, you may not have heard of a “top sealing damper” or know if your fireplace even has one installed. We’ll take a look at this important component of fireplace venting in this post. When you need fireplace repair in Minneapolis, MN for a chimney damper or anything else, call the CSIA-certified technicians at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

The Top Sealing Damper

As the name indicates, a top sealing damper is installed at the top of a chimney, as opposed to the standard damper that is in reach from the fireplace hearth. Pull-cables operate top sealing dampers, and when shut the dampers can completely close off the chimney top. This increases your protection against heat loss through the flue than with a standard damper alone. Top sealing dampers are 90% more efficient than standard throat dampers if they use a silicone rubber gasket for their seal.

An added benefit of a top sealing damper is that, with a screened cap, they provide protection from animals and debris such as branches and leaves from entering and blocking the chimney.

We highly recommend top sealing dampers for wood-burning fireplaces, so if your chimney does not have one, you should consider scheduling installation.

If you already have a top sealing damper, please make sure that you do not attempt to repair it yourself should it become stuck, loose, or develop leaking along its edges. Repairs require going up on the roof, and this is discouraged for all but professionals. Chimney sweeps have experience with these sorts of repairs, so call up a licensed professional service that does fireplace repair in Minneapolis, MN—before you try to find a tall ladder!

We Can Help You with Your Chimney and Fireplace

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. has many years of work on chimneys of all kinds, from sweeping to repairing masonry. We are members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild and have properly certified-technicians with the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Call us for top sealing damper repairs and installation.

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Signs You Need Chimney Restoration in Minneapolis

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

In the cold weather we’re currently having, a good fireplace is one of the best features you can have in a home: a cozy central spot that gives you the direct warmth you usually can’t get from a standard home furnace or boiler.

However, if the chimney that vents your fireplace has damage, that cozy spot might become hazardous. Although chimneys are built to withstand many stresses, they sometimes need restoration work. Here are some signs that you may need to contact a company like 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. to restore your chimney in Minneapolis, MN.

Signs to look for that indicate a need for chimney repair

  • Smoke or fumes entering your home: If your chimney starts to shows signs that it has venting trouble, and the issue isn’t related to a closed damper or obstructions like animal nests, then you may need to have restoration done to flue to make sure it has the proper lining and sealing. Relining is often necessary to avoid having to fully re-build a damaged chimney.
  • Leaning chimney: It may at first look like an optical illusion, but if it turns out that your chimney is indeed starting to tilt, you need restoration work immediately to right it. A leaning chimney will put heavy stress on the building material of your home and will tear the lining and possibly allow fire and exhaust into the upper levels.
  • Missing bricks and stones: Although chimneys are built to handle both weather and internal heat, over time their mortar can begin to wear down and the bricks loosen. If you notice missing bricks or stones on your chimney, restoration is necessary—and it needs to be done soon, because each missing brick will cause the structure of the chimney to weaken even further.
  • Spalling bricks: When water enters a brick or stone and causes the surface to peel or flake off, it’s called “spalling.” If you notice bits of masonry falling off your chimney, then it’s probably spalling. If this continues without repairs, it could cause the whole chimney to collapse.
  • Damaged wallpaper: One of the best ways to recognize a chimney that is leaking excess moisture is to look at the wallpaper in the areas near the chimney. If you notice lumps, warping, or peeling, then you should call for chimney repair right away, since this moisture could come from damaged masonry or broken liners.

Please don’t allow the apparent sturdiness of your chimney to make you think it can survive without repairs. No one has yet built an invincible chimney that can resist all the effects of time and weather. Chimney repair requires experts in venting and masonry, so hire only certified chimney reliners approved by the Chimney Safety Institute of America for the job. If you want skilled chimney restoration in Minneapolis, MN, call on 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

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Is a Leaning Chimney a Serious Problem?

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

A chimney leaning away from the house, slanted at an odd angle, is an image pulled from a Victorian storybook or a Gothic movie. It’s stylish and strange. But, you don’t want that happening to your chimney. Not only does it put the whole appearance of your house off-kilter, it can pose other problems for you.

But how serious is it? If the chimney only leans a bit and seems in no danger of immediately crumbling and taking out a wall, are there any urgent reasons to repair it aside from cosmetic ones?

Yes, there are. In this post we’ll explain why you need to call immediately for masonry services in St. Paul, MN when you have a chimney that’s turning into the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., where we offer masonry services that will take care of the problem for you.

The dangers of leaning chimneys

The usual leaning chimney is one that appears to be separating away from the side of the house. Even if it seems like the chimney isn’t about to topple over (sometimes the lean can look almost like an optical illusion), this tilt puts tremendous strain on the construction material of your home, and over time can cause significant structural damage. Just because the lean looks small doesn’t mean that it isn’t putting enormous stress on the material around it: most chimneys weigh many tons, and your home’s frame was not built to stand this level of pressure. Masonry repairs to shore up the foundation of the chimney will eliminate this problem.

There’s also the danger of toppling bricks. The tilt can start to dislodge bricks which will crash onto your house, and possibly right through your roof. This is obviously something you never want to happen, and masons can make sure your bricks are all still mortared in tightly after straightening the chimney.

The pressure from the lean can do significant damage to the interior lining of a chimney. The lining is responsible for helping to safely vent exhaust from the fireplace. Breaks in the liner can cause combustion gases to enter your home, and also leads to a major fire hazards.

Call for chimney masonry services

Even if the lean only seems minor, if you notice your chimney starting to tilt you need to have the problem dealt with immediately: there are too many potential dangerous outcomes. Call for masonry service in St. Paul, MN for your leaning chimney. At 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., we provide full services for all kinds of fireplaces and chimneys, and we can help you straighten up your home.

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