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

Why Upgrade Your Old Fireplace with a Gas Log Fireplace Installation

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

An old fashioned wood-burning fireplace can bring tremendous joy to a home: there really is no way to duplicate the odors of burning wood or the pleasing crackle of the flames. However, wood-burning fireplaces create a tremendous amount of work, not only to load them with wood and keep them burning, but also to maintain them and keep them clean. If you have wondered about the possibility of retro-fitting and older wood-burning fireplace with gas logs, there are some good reasons to make the transition.

At 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., we are supportive of wood-burning fireplaces as an attractive option for homes. But we also know the major advantages of installing gas logs; in many cases, families will benefit from this upgrade. Here are reasons to think about gas log fireplace installation in St. Paul, MN to replace your wood-burning hearth. Call our fireplace and chimney professionals to learn more about the process.

Heating efficiency

There’s an ineffable pleasing feeling to the warmth from a wood-burning hearth… but that heat isn’t even or efficient compared to a gas log fireplace. In fact, burning wood is one of the least efficient ways of creating heat. With a gas log fireplace, you will have a more effective adjunct to your heating system, and can save as much as 25% from your heating bills.


Wood-burning fireplaces are a lot of work. Once you replace an older fireplace with gas logs, you no longer have to worry about storing wood, hauling it inside, or purchasing new logs/chopping logs. The cleaning work is far easier as well, with no ash to scrape up and remove. A gas log fireplace can turn on with the flip of a switch, and when you turn it off there’s no more work to do.


The lack of sparking from a gas fireplace means your home will be at less risk from fire damage—and this is also safer if you have small children or pets in your house. A gas log fireplace will not threaten to create creosote inside the chimney, which means reduced chances of a dangerous chimney fire occurring.

Easier maintenance

Without the residue that comes from burning wood, the gas log fireplace needs less intense maintenance to keep it clean and safe year after year. Although you will still need maintenance for the fireplace and chimney on a regular basis, the work is simpler because it won’t have to deal with the effects of creosote and other build-up.

Installing a gas log fireplace requires experts to make sure that it vents safely and works its best at generating warmth and fitting in with your décor. Our staff at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. handles comprehensive services for fireplaces and can deliver you a high quality gas log fireplace installation in St. Paul, MN.

To find out more about your options for a wonderful gas log hearth in your home Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS.

Continue Reading

Why Consider a Top Sealing Damper for Your Chimney

Monday, July 21st, 2014

The damper is a key part of your fireplace. It is located at the bottom of the chimney, right above the firebox, where you can access it to open and close it. The damper prevents heat from escaping out of your home through the chimney when you aren’t using the fireplace, and this stops a major loss of heat that would otherwise lead to elevated bills for your home and unpleasant drafts.

You can also have a second damper placed in your chimney: a top sealing damper located at the chimney crown outside. Although not a necessity, there are some excellent reasons to have your chimney fit for a top sealing damper. You can’t handle this job on your own, however. Call on an experienced company like 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. to handle chimney damper installation in Minnetonka, MN. We offer numerous fireplace services from installation to sweeping, and our technicians are certified with the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Why a top sealing damper is a good idea

A top sealing damper for a chimney is similar in many ways to a chimney cap. It mounts onto the crown of the chimney, and like a chimney cap it prevents rain, debris, and animals from entering the chimney and causing damage. Unlike chimney caps, which have open sides that allow air to flow past them, a top sealing damper goes beyond simply keeping unwanted objects (and creatures) from entering the chimney and helps prevent heat loss. They are easy to operate: a long cable goes down the flue from the damper and attaches to a handle you can move to open and close the device just as for the bottom damper. Even when the top sealing damper is open, it has a screen will help keep animals from entering it.

Tests have shown that the improved heat sealing power of a top sealing damper can contribute to more than $100 in heating savings during a winter. These additions to a chimney will rapidly pay for themselves.

Top-sealing dampers can be combined with chimney caps to double their protection. (One drawback of top sealing dampers is that they are not as effective at keeping out the rain as caps.) The Chimilator is a top-sealing damper model available from 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. that includes a stainless steel animal and rain cap, plus a multiple setting handle.

We carry the top brands in dampers and caps so that your home receives only the highest quality chimney protection and energy savings.

Call the chimney and fireplace professionals for more information about chimney damper installation in Minnetonka, MN. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

Continue Reading

What Are the Benefits of Masonry Chimney Cleaning?

Monday, July 14th, 2014

When people think of chimneys, it is almost inevitably the masonry chimney that springs to mind: a tall tower of sturdy red bricks mortared together. Masonry chimneys have existed for centuries because they are durable and can stand against tough weather conditions. However, they still need regular care and cleaning to protect them from damage and long-term wear and tear. For this service, you need qualified chimney sweeps.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. is certified with the Chimney Safety Institute of America to perform chimney cleaning and Level 1–3 chimney inspections. For your masonry chimney cleaning in Coon Rapids, MN, make us your first call.

Why you should have cleaning for your masonry chimney

  • Reduce the chance of a chimney fire: A major danger for a chimney is the development of creosote, a shiny black substance that is the result of poor venting and inefficient wood burning. (This is one of the reasons you should not put green wood in a wood burning fireplace.) Creosote is highly combustible, and if enough develops inside your chimney it could catch on fire and do damage to the chimney and possibly the upper floors or roof of your home.
  • Allow for proper venting: If the interior of your chimney becomes too dirty, it will vent improperly. This can lead to exhaust like carbon monoxide entering your home and inefficient heat emanating from the fireplace. As mentioned above, it will also lead to the development of creosote. Cleaning will also take care of major blockages like animal nests.
  • Allow for a thorough inspection: Before a chimney can receive a full inspection to see that it isn’t suffering from chipping and cracking along the masonry or other structural damage, it must have sweeping. We advise that mortar chimneys have cleaning once a year to make inspections easier.

After we have completed cleaning, we provide a Level 1 inspection so you will know that the chimney is safe for use.

At 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., we combine both chimney cleaning and safety inspections. For masonry chimney cleaning in Coon Rapids, MN Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

Continue Reading

The Difference Between Exterior and Interior Spark Arrestors

Monday, July 7th, 2014

We often emphasize this fact with customers: “A fireplace in a home poses no more danger than any other natural gas heating system.” We then add this caveat: “…provided it receives maintenance and has the proper safety precautions installed.”

If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, a key safety device is the spark arrestor, which helps prevent embers that can cause fires inside your home, or in combustible material (scrubs, brush) right outside your home. If your home’s fireplace lacks spark arrestors, you need to have them installed as soon as possible to keep your hearth and home safe. Call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., where we offer full installation of a variety of fireplace spark arrestors in St. Paul, MN.

There are two types of spark arrestors, interior and exterior, and your home needs both.

Interior spark arrestor

These are often known as “hearth screens,” barriers that prevent embers from leaping from the fireplace and igniting flammable material. These screens can consists of sliding glass doors, metals screens and curtains. Arrestors can be designed to be part of the attractive décor of the fireplace, but they must also be carefully fit and installed for the type of wood that will be burnt in the fireplace, and to make sure the chimney receives proper ventilation. These arrestors are also important for the safety of children and pets in your home. Make sure that you receive professional installation for your interior spark arrestor so that it does the multiple jobs that it needs to do, while still adding to your home’s beauty.

Exterior spark arrestor

The big difference between the interior and the exterior spark arrestors is that the exterior arrestors serve no decorative purpose at all. For the most part, you will not actually see the exterior arrestor. These safety features are attached to the chimney cap or rain cover, and take on the combined tasks of preventing the escape of embers from the top of the chimney, stopping animals from entering the flue, and keeping out rain that will create moisture inside the mortar leading to cracking. If you already have a spark arrestor installed for the chimney, make sure that you schedule regular inspections to see that it is in good condition.

If you are unsure about your fireplace spark arrestors in St. Paul, MN (for example, you don’t know if you have an exterior spark arrestor or not), call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. today. We can examine your fireplace and chimney to see if you need installation, replacements, or repairs.

2nd Generation Chimneys will see that you have a fireplace that will keep you warm and cozy with minimal risk of danger to your house or your family. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1—888—PIXLEYS.

Continue Reading

Denmark Also Celebrates the Fourth of July

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Maybe an elementary school teacher tried to trip you up with this test question: “Do other countries have a Fourth of July?” If the teacher had phrased the question as, “Do other countries celebrate the Fourth of July?” you would be less likely to slip up and answer “no.”

Except… and your teacher probably didn’t know this at the time… there is another country that celebrates the Fourth of July. They don’t celebrate a holiday that happens to fall on July 4 (there are quite a few of those spread across the globe), but the actually celebrate U.S. Independence Day.

That country is—Denmark.

Every July 4, in the Rebild Region in the north of Denmark, thousands of people gather in Rebild National Park to hold the largest Fourth of July celebration outside the U.S.A., an events known as Rebildfesten. This tradition has continued for over a hundred years now, starting in 1912. The origins of this unusual celebration is that in 1911 a ground of Danish Americans purchased the 140 acres of the parkland between the woods in Rold and the Lindenborg stream. The next year, they deeded the land to the Danish King and people of the country as a memorial to Danish Americans, under the condition that the place remain undeveloped, open to the public, and used to celebrate U.S. holidays. Today, the park also hosts a museum on the history of Danish immigrants to the U.S., housed inside a log cabin.

This display of solidarity with the U.S. is because of the country’s warm welcome of 300,000 Danish settlers who were among the earliest to migrate across the seas. The celebration continues as sign of the long friendship between the two nations.

Since its inception, the celebration has hosted famous speakers such as the members of the Danish royal family (the queen and princess both attended for the 100th anniversary), Walt Disney, Keith Carradine, and Richard Chamberlain. The festivities actually start two days earlier, but on the fourth is when the major parade is held (which marches over 3 miles from the train station) and the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra performs a selections of music from both countries.

Although we doubt you will be celebrating your Fourth of July in Denmark this year, we at 2nd Generation Chimneys hope you have a fantastic Independence Day.

Continue Reading