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

5 Facts about Santa Claus

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Many holiday traditions involve the story of Santa Claus, the lovable old man who spends most of his time at the North Pole taking a single evening to deliver presents and candy to children everywhere. But since Santa Claus is so elusive (unless he happens to be visiting your local shopping mall), how do we know so much about him? Where exactly does his journey begin? Our holiday guide details 5 of the most common traditions associated with Jolly Old Saint Nick.

  1. The Origins of Santa: The name “Santa Claus” comes from St. Nicholas (a name which became Sinter Klaas for short in Dutch), a Christian Bishop from 4 A.D. who was known for giving his fortune away to those in need in Turkey. Santa Claus’ first associations with gift-giving comes from Holland’s St. Nicholas’ feast day, during which children would leave out their shoes overnight and find presents waiting inside the shoes on the next morning.
  2. The Stocking by the Chimney: While many people associate Holland’s shoe tradition with the origins of hanging a stocking, this isn’t entirely accurate. Hanging stockings instead comes from the legend of a time St. Nick helped a man afford to marry off his daughter by throwing a bag of gold down the chimney, which landed in a stocking that was hanging up to dry.
  3. St. Nick’s Outfit: Santa got his fashion sense from a wooden cutout handed out during a meeting of the New York Historical Society in 1804. But it wasn’t until a 1930s Coca Cola advertisement that his traditionally blue, white, and green outfit was transformed into a big red suit.
  4. Leaving Cookies out for Santa: Food was traditionally used as ornamentation during the holidays in medieval Germany as apples and cookies commonly adorned the home at wintertime. When the Christmas tree became a common symbol of the season, edible treats began to vanish, a phenomenon which became attributed to Santa Claus’ snacking habits.
  5. Why Santa Drives a Sleigh: Santa gets his sleigh from a tale spun by Washington Irving, the same author who brought us the Headless Horseman. He wrote down an account of a dream in which Santa Claus drives a weightless wagon through the sky, and the stories became so popular, they stuck around.

Here at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. we hope that you have a joyful and safe celebration, no matter what holiday traditions you engage in this year. Happy holidays!

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Why Is Firebox Cleaning an Important Part of Chimney Service?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

‘Tis the time of year for warm fires, but you could be in for a lot more if your firebox isn’t as clean as it should be. From all appearances, your chimney looks like one large component, but the truth is, your chimney can consist of up to 22 parts, one of which is your firebox. Chimney sweeping should be performed annually by a trained professional, so if you are getting ready to warm some chestnuts by an open fire, make sure you’ve had your chimney swept first. If you haven’t, call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., today and schedule an appointment for fireplace cleaning in Wayzata, MN.

What Is the Firebox?

The firebox is the part of your fireplace where the fire actually burns. Because of this, it is the part of your fireplace that sustains the most heat. Many fireboxes are made of some kind of masonry, like bricks, but some are made of metal, as you’ll find with a pre-fabricated chimney.

Why Is It Important to Clean the Firebox?

During a routine chimney sweep appointment, your firebox isn’t just cleaned, it is also inspected. Due to the high temperatures the firebox sustains, it isn’t unusual for wear and tear to set in. Combustion byproducts can be very acidic, so both masonry and metal can crack; the mortar in the masonry can erode, and metal can corrode over time. If these problems have developed with your firebox, they’ll be detected during your annual chimney sweep and repaired as necessary.

Maintaining Your Firebox

An annual chimney sweep helps you to maintain your firebox through the years, but cleaning out ash after every use is also important. Ash and soot accumulate quickly and can be corrosive; if left to sit in your firebox, you can prematurely age the masonry and/or metal work in the firebox. Cleaning out the ash from your fireplace after every use helps to significantly reduce the potential effects of the soot and ash while keeping your firebox clean for the next warm fire.

Warm fires and winter go hand-in-hand. Keep your winter fires healthy and safe with a clean firebox and chimney.Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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The Risk Involved with Neglecting Chimney Cleaning

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

We are at the time of year when a toasty fire adds both warmth and ambience to your home. However, if you haven’t had your chimney properly swept, you could wind up with a room full of smoke or worse. Chimneys aren’t used just for fireplace enjoyment; they are also used to vent the toxic byproducts of combustion heating systems. So, if you use your chimney for both your fireplace and heating system, having a clean chimney is critical to the safety of your home and proper functioning of your fireplace and heating system.

Risks Associated with a Dirty Chimney

Here are some of the potential problems that can develop from a neglected chimney:

  • Flue corrosion – the combustion byproducts that your chimney and flue sustain are highly acidic in nature; as such, they can eat away at both metal and masonry, causing corrosion to develop. Excessive corrosion can lead to cracks and holes, as well as problems between the joints; these are potential dangerous situations, as the toxic byproducts can backdraft into your home.
  • Potential problems with home insurance – many home insurances require that homes with an active chimney schedule annual cleaning to ensure safety. Should you have a chimney fire, and you haven’t had your chimney cleaned, you may not be covered for damages.
  • Reduced efficiency – when soot and creosote are allowed to build, the resulting layer inside your chimney can reduce drafting, which reduces the efficiency of your fire.
  • Chimney fire – creosote and soot are highly flammable and can catch on fire right inside your chimney. Creosote build-up should never be more than 1/8th of an inch; scheduling annual cleaning helps ensure that the creosote build-up in your chimney will stay low.
  • Check of firebox, etc. – a chimney cleaning also involves the inspection of your fireplace’s firebox, or if you have a gas or propane fireplace, the inspection of the valves, doors and components. The top of your chimney will also be inspected for animal nests, etc., and that chimney tiles are secure.

Winter is so much more inviting with a warm fire.

If it’s been more than 12 months since your last chimney cleaning in Circle Pines, call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts!

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What Happens During Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning?

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

One of the biggest fire hazards to your home comes from an appliance you might never suspect: the clothes dryer. Dryers contain a vent that exhausts water vapor and other by-products of clothes drying to the outdoors. Unfortunately, this necessary outlet is also responsible for 15,600 structure fires every year according to the U.S. Fire Administration. When the exhaust vent becomes clogged with lint, fire is a distinct possibility, and while cleaning the lint trap is a good habit for dryer use, it cannot prevent lint from lining the inside of the vent as well.

Some trained technicians offer professional dryer vent cleaning so that you can rest easy knowing this is one component of your home you won’t have to worry about for years to come. This is a service best left to a professional with the proper tools and trained eyes to recognize problems and keep your vent clear.

The Dryer Vent Cleaning Process

Dryer vent cleaning, when performed by a professional, involves a set of steps that the average homeowner may glaze over or be ill-equipped to handle. There are actually several ways one can go about cleaning a dryer vent, one of which involves simply using a flexible rotating brush that connects to a vacuum. The brush angles to reach every nook and cranny of the dryer vent while a powerful vacuum collects any debris therein. This is important because it not only prevents fire hazards, but your dryer also performs better when there is less blockage, improving efficiency and reducing the need for repairs or replacement parts.

Finally comes the inspection. This is another portion of the process that can be done incorrectly if you examine the vents with an untrained eye. A skilled technician measures the airflow of the dryer vent with a digital airflow meter before and after the cleaning to make sure that the airflow has increased. These tools are often unavailable to amateurs or can be costly and difficult to use.

Don’t trust the fate of your home to just anyone.

Put your confidence in dryer vent cleaning experts, like the people at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. For dryer vent cleaning in Ramsey, Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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