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

How Does Chimney Video Inspection Work?

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Your chimney requires yearly sweeping and inspections to make that it presents no possibility of danger to your home or family. A fireplace should always be a source of warmth and joy, not worry, and regular cleaning with make sure that your fireplace will not turn into a source of safety concerns.

Sometimes, you will need to go beyond the annual chimney sweeping appointment and bring in chimney inspection specialists. You should do this whenever you experience a chimney fire, damage to the chimney, or make significant changes to the heating system such as changing fuel source. One of the key parts of these inspections is special video scanning equipment.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. is a full-service and certified fireplace and chimney company that provides chimney video inspection in Wayzata, MN. From regular sweeping to complete Level 3 inspections, we will take care of making your chimney and fireplace safe. Contact us today to set up an appointment for your chimney.

Chimney video inspection

A video inspection is part of a Level 2 chimney inspection as defined by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA): “A Level 2 inspection shall also include a visual inspection by video scanning equipment or other means in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney.” Using this equipment is part of the mandate of a Level 2 inspection that no “removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required.” They are also part of the extensive Level 3 inspection. One or both of these inspections is necessary in the case of a chimney fire, transfer of property from one owner to another, suspicion of a crack or other major damage, and flue relining or other major upgrades to the fireplace.

To perform video inspection, a certified inspector inserts the camera on a “starter rod” through the damper. (In some cases where it is easier, the camera will go down through the top of the chimney.) The camera then moves up the chimney, with new rods attached to it to stabilize it as it moves farther. The camera rotates as it travels to offer a clear look at the liner so the inspector can view the surface and joints. The image provided allows technicians to see aspects of the flue that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. The inspection looks for cracks down to hairline fractures in the liner, loose or missing mortar joints, broken or missing tile liners, and signs of improper construction.

A Level 2 inspection will tell the technicians what work needs to be done to keep a chimney safe (or if a Level 3 inspection is necessary). Without the aid of video inspections, the job would be far more difficult and the details harder to ascertain.

You can trust all your chimney safety needs to 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. We are certified with the CSIA and use chimney video inspection in Wayzata, MN to give you the best safety inspections possible.

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What Are the Benefits of a Chimney Liner?

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Since the inside of your chimney isn’t something you see often, you may not be aware of how essential the chimney liner is to keeping your fireplace hearth both safe and pleasant. The liner is responsible for helping combustion material from the fires in the hearth escape up the chimney and prevent the development of dangerous residue such as creosote.

Not all chimneys have liners; if you live in an older home, the chimney may have originally been constructed without a liner. If this is the case for your home, you should definitely contact 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. and have us help you choose and install a chimney liner in Maplewood, MN. If your chimney has a damaged liner, you should also contact us for a replacement.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. is one of the most trustworthy sources for chimney repair services, and have upheld our standard for quality through two generations.

Chimney liner benefits

  • Protects your home from fire damage: One of the essential functions of a chimney liner is to keep the heat inside the chimney from reaching the combustible material outside it. For older chimneys with cracks in their masonry, it’s easy for heat to escape to areas such as the second floor or the roof and start a conflagration. In fact, the majority of house fires in the U.S. start this way. A liner keeps the heat inside the chimney where it belongs.
  • Prevents creosote and moisture: Creosote is the #1 enemy of chimneys everywhere. This shiny black substance is the unburned wood energy that gathers due to poor venting or wood that doesn’t burn thoroughly. It is highly combustible and a leading cause of chimney fires. A liner prevents creosote from building up by helping with proper venting. The liner also stops water moisture from becoming trapped in the chimney, which is a significant danger because it will cause cracking when it freezes during winter.
  • Increases a home’s energy efficiency: Liners form a layer of insulation inside a chimney that reduces the downdrafts that can come down it during times when there is no fire in the hearth. This means less cold air getting into your home and forcing you to run your heater more often. It also means more efficient burning of fuel inside the fireplace.

Chimney liners are usually made of clay or stainless steel. Both have advantages and disadvantages; your re-lining professionals will determine which one will work best for your chimney.

If you have any doubts about the integrity of your chimney liner or any other part of your fireplace, contact 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. and we will perform a CSIA-approved inspection. Based on our findings, we’ll recommend how best to proceed with making your chimney as safe as possible, whether through restoration, repair, or a new chimney liner in Maplewood, MN.

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What’s Involved in Chimney Resurfacing?

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Chimneys suffer from wear and tear, just like every other component of your house, and here in Minnesota, they see a lot of use in the winter. That can leave the chimney quite damaged over time. The flue can become cracked, fissures can show up along the bricks, and rain and snow can get in. The solution is to have a chimney resurfacing session from a qualified professional. They restore the lining to its full functionality, which takes less time and costs less money than having to replace the entire chimney. And when it comes to chimney resurfacing, Twin Cities residents should take advantage of warm summer weather to schedule the operation, rather than waiting for winter snows to make it all that much more difficult. This goes for any chimney repair or maintenance service as well. So what’s involved in chimney resurfacing? We’ve included a quick description below.

The first stage is to weigh down coverings and tarps around your fireplace, to protect your home and furnishings from dust and detritus that may be dislodged. The chimney sweep then sends a video camera down the chimney to ascertain where the damage has taken place. Mortar can be applied in places that need it and tiles reset to address any that are broken or missing.  Then the chimney sweep sends an applicator blade – sized to fit your chimney precisely – down the chimney to apply sealant and keep the interior of the chimney secure.

Outside the chimney, the question becomes one of simple resurfacing. The chimney sweep uses safety lines to ascend, then carefully removes the bricks one by one to expose the chimney’s interior. She can then seal any cracks and apply sealant before rebuilding the outer surface of the chimney to repair any damage.

We’ve served the whole of the Twin Cities since 2001 and we have emergency services available for times when repair or resurfacing operations to be performed quickly. Give us a call today to set up an appointment, and let us show you what we can do!

For more on what’s involved in chimney resurfacing, Twin Cities residents can call upon the chimney professionals at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

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Do Fireplaces Really Need Maintenance?

Friday, June 6th, 2014

“Fireplaces are maintenance free!” This is one of the most unfortunate misunderstandings about fireplaces that homeowners have. Because fireplaces and chimneys are usually made of the sturdiest material available, like stone and brick, and have construction that can stand the test of decades, they give the sense that they are essentially invincible and do not need any regular care.

But nothing could be farther from the truth. You need regular inspection and fireplace maintenance in Minnetonka, MN not only to make sure the fireplace consumes fuel and vents properly, but also to avoid possible dangers from chimney fires. For the necessary professional maintenance for your fireplace, make sure you rely on licensed chimney sweeps like those at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. We are proud members of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

Why fireplaces must have maintenance

A fireplace offers cosmetic beauty to the inside of your home, and the chimney to the outside, but they do have the basic function of funneling combustion gases away from the interior of your home and into the outside air. Without regular care, this job will become more difficult for the fireplace.

One particular section of a fireplace that needs regular care is the damper, which opens and closes the fireplace to the flue. A rusty or stuck damper can turn into a significant danger and make your fireplace essentially unusable.

Then there is the problem of creosote: this is the unburned wood energy that will begin to coat the fireplace and the flue, and it will increase in a fireplace that is dirty and not allowing combustion product to easily escape. Creosote is easy to spot: a shiny, tarry black substance. Aside from looking unattractive, creosote is highly combustible, and this leads to the most serious safety concern for a fireplace: chimney fires.

Without regular maintenance, creosote will build up in the flue and fireplace, and when the heat rises high enough, a fire will break out inside the chimney. According to the CSIA, these fires can melt mortar, crack tiles, cause liners to collapse and damage the outer masonry material. Worst of all, this damage can allow heat to reach the combustible building material around the chimney, causing fires to break out on upper floors or the roof.

The CSIA recommends an annual maintenance inspection from a certified chimney sweep to see that the fireplace is venting safely and there is no creosote danger.

To sign up for an excellent program for fireplace maintenance in Minnetonka, MN, contact the team at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. today. Make your fireplace a source of joy, never a source of danger.

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