2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Blog: Archive for February, 2015

Signs Your Chimney Needs Repair

Friday, February 27th, 2015

You can’t have a safe or effective fire in your home’s fireplace without a safe, effective chimney. As such, if you are a homeowner who uses your fireplace, whether for a simple, occasional fire or for every day heat, it’s important to be aware of the signs that your chimney may need repair. It’s just as important to hire experts to repair your chimney should it need repair. The fireplace and chimney experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., bring two generations’ worth of experience and expertise to every job we do, so if you have fireplace needs, including repair, call us today!

Chimney Repair Signs

Here are some items to be aware of when it comes to chimney repair:

  • Crumbling mortar – mortar is the cement or other binding substance that holds the stones or bricks of your chimney and fireplace together. If you can see that the mortar is crumbling, or can physically crumble it with your fingers, there is likely a moisture problem with your chimney. Crumbling mortar can lead to loose masonry, which can be very dangerous for your chimney.
  • Loose flue tiles – loose flue tiles, also known as shaling, occurs when you find tiles that are specially-designed for the top of your flue in the lower parts of your chimney or even in the firebox. These tiles are very important for the safety of your chimney and need to be replaced before your next use.
  • White powder on masonry – bricks sometimes develop a white, powdery substance on their surface that can be easily brushed off. Many people take this as normal, but it isn’t. That white powder is there because moisture that has gotten inside the brick and pushed the salt of the brick to the surface. There is a name to this phenomenon, and it is called Moisture isn’t good for any kind of masonry, so if you are seeing efflorescence, it’s time to call for an expert.

Whether you use your fireplace for occasional ambience or every day for additional heat, your chimney needs to be safe and effective.

If you are seeing the signs that your chimney in Roseville needs repair, Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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What Is Creosote?

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Combustion heat always creates byproducts – some of them toxic – whether the combustion is in a simple fire pit in your backyard or a fireplace insert in your living room. Combustion byproducts can be gases, vapors, fumes, ash and soot, but there is one byproduct that can lead directly to chimney fires: creosote.

What Is It?

Creosote is a sticky, corrosive and highly flammable substance that is created when the noxious gases and vapors from combustion cool below 250 degrees. When the gases cool to this temperature level, they liquefy, combine with soot and ash, and become the substance known as creosote. The sticky nature of creosote allows it to cling to the inside of your chimney, creating a highly flammable, dangerous build-up that can ignite.

Stages of Creosote

When a professional chimney cleaner assesses the level of creosote build-up in your fireplace, he/she will refer to the build-up as being Stage One, Stage Two or Stage Three:

  • Stage One – Stage One creosote is the easiest and least problematic as it is mostly comprised of soot; this means it is also the easiest to remove.
  • Stage Two – Stage Two creosote is black and flaky, and this is because the tar in the creosote has hardened. This level of creosote build-up can cause air restriction and pose the risk of a chimney fire.
  • Stage Three – a Stage Three creosote level is a very serious situation. This level of creosote looks and acts like a layer of tar and is very hard to remove; it is also extremely flammable and likely to cause a chimney fire. It may be necessary to replace the lining in a chimney that has Stage Three creosote.

Schedule Annual Chimney Cleaning

Preventing chimney fires is one of the most important reasons to schedule an annual chimney cleaning in in Carver County. If it’s been more than 12 months since your last chimney cleaning and you are having problems with drafting, soot and ash, call the experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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Valentine’s Day: Pagan Revelry, Clandestine Marriage, and 14th Century Poetry

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

What do you think of when you think of Valentine’s Day? Perhaps rushing off to the stationary store after work to choose the perfect card with which to express your feelings towards a loved one? Dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant? Roses, dark chocolates, and other gifts and confections? Whatever Valentine’s Day may look like to you, chances are that it is a far cry from the history surrounding this holiday – or at least we hope so. Here are a few interesting facts about this most romantic of holidays, from your friends here at 2nd Generation Chimneys.

The fact of the matter is that there is no definitive history as to how Valentine’s Day came to be. There are a few different saints with variations of the name Valentine, for example. One of the most prevalent legends, and one certainly in keeping with the romantic nature of the holiday as we know it today, pertains to a priest serving during the 3rd century in Rome. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, who believed that young men made for better soldiers if unfettered by marriage, it was illegal for young men to marry. A true believer in love, Valentine would marry young couples in secret. Until, at least, he was found out, and met a very unpleasant end for his crimes.

Like many of our modern holidays, Valentine’s Day can also be traced back to pagan ritual. Lupercalia, as the pagan festival is known, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, a god of agriculture. As is often the case with Roman celebrations, the details of this celebration are unfit to detail here. Suffice to say that, while there is certainly a touch of the amorous in the proceedings, the festival was a far cry from what we associate with Valentine’s Day today.

How, then, did our modern version of Valentine’s Day come to be? The answer may lie in, of all places, 14th century poetry; particularly, in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer. Famed for his Canterbury Tales, Chaucer may well be the very first writer to associate Valentine’s Day with romantic love, in the manner of which we are familiar with it today. His The Parliament of Fowls details the dream-vision of a narrator consumed with the idea of romantic love and the natural order of finding a mate. Valentine’s Day is mentioned by name a number of times, as the narrator witnesses a parliament of eagles vying for the hand – or, perhaps more aptly, the wing – of a mate.

Whatever you may think of the holiday’s sordid and convoluted history, we here at 2nd Generation Chimneys hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with the special someone in your life.

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What Happens During a Chimney Inspection?

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The safety of your family is important to you, which is why we feel it is so important for every home chimney to receive inspection once a year. Like any other type of heating equipment, a chimney can pose a safety hazard if it is not regularly maintained. Maintenance includes cleaning problem areas and checking for any damage that could increase your chances of a dangerous chimney fire. Heating equipment is the second leading reason for home fires, and chimney fires take the lead in this category.

Scheduling chimney cleaning and inspection every year can significantly lower your risk of a fire, alerting you to any repair needs and giving you some peace of mind over the condition of your unit. Call a company trusted for chimney inspection and repair and recognized by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Call 2nd Generation Chimneys today.

The Levels of Chimney Inspection

What happens during your next chimney inspection will depend on your needs, the state of your chimney and firebox, and whether you or your technician suspects trouble. There are three stages or levels of chimney inspections.

  • Level 1 – A level 1 chimney inspection is recommended for most homeowners as part of annual chimney cleaning. Before chimney cleaning, the technician should inspect your chimney for any large debris, like birds’ nests, and areas with a high concentration of creosote. After cleaning up these types of issues, the technician should inspect the chimney again using a strong light to locate any visible damage.
  • Level 2 – Level 2 chimney inspections are a bit more comprehensive, but are necessary after a fire, in case you decide to sell your home, or if you’re upgrading your stove or alternate heating equipment. Technicians will access crawlspaces and use high-tech equipment to assess the state of the chimney.
  • Level 3 – Finally, level 3 chimney inspections are recommended only in extreme cases, as the chimney may be disassembled to an extent for a complete inspection.

The technicians at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. are highly trained and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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