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

Do All Chimneys Need Annual Inspection and Cleaning?

Friday, March 27th, 2015

As we head into warmer temperatures, many people are shifting their focus from the indoors to the outdoors. However, spring offers a great time to schedule a chimney inspection for your Roseville, MN, home, especially for those who use their chimney and fireplaces heavily during the winter months. So to answer the question, “do all chimneys need inspection?” the answer is a resounding yes. It doesn’t matter if you have a pre-fab chimney, use a pellet stove with low ash or use your chimney only a few times a year: you’ll need your chimney inspected. And the best people to inspect and clean your chimney are trained experts, like the ones at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

Why Do I Need to Inspect My Chimney?

There are multiple reasons why you need to have your chimney inspected:

  • Home insurance coverage – some policies require that homes with working chimneys have annual chimney inspections to keep the policy in force.
  • Safety issues – a fireplace and/or chimney that is in disrepair or in need of cleaning can be a dangerous one.
  • Reduce and avoid corrosion of your fireplace and flue – combustion by products such as ash, soot and creosote are highly acidic and eat away at masonry and metal. An annual inspection and cleaning removes these acidic byproducts, keeping your chimney in good working order.
  • Reduce the chance of a chimney fire developing – creosote, a combustion byproduct that coats the inside of chimneys, is highly flammable; as such, your chimney shouldn’t have more than 1/8th of an inch build-up of creosote. Annual inspection and cleaning help keep the creosote build-up in your chimney low.
  • Improves operation and efficiency – chimneys do two things at the same time: they vent and expel combustion byproducts and they help bring oxygen to the fire; when your chimney is dirty, it can’t do these two things properly.

There’s a lot of “rule of thumb” kind of information around about chimney inspection and cleaning, but many of these pieces of advice aren’t correct.

If you have questions about how to maintain your chimney in Roseville, MN, call the people you can trust: 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

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What Is a Level 1 Chimney Inspection?

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Without a clean and properly working chimney, your fireplace won’t operate as needed; it could also be possibly dangerous to operate. This is one of the reasons why it is important to schedule an annual chimney cleaning, also known as a Level 1 inspection. The experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., have the qualifications and training to conduct any kind of chimney inspection for your St. Paul, MN, home, as well as repair, installation and maintenance for your entire fireplace and chimney. If it’s been more than 12 months since your last chimney inspection, call us today and schedule an appointment.

What Happens During the Inspection?

During a Level 1 inspection, the technician inspects all of the readily-visible parts of your chimney and fireplace, including the firebox, damper and smoke chamber on the inside and the crown, cap and condition of the chimney on the outside. The goal of this inspection is to find any existing problems both with the inside and outside of your chimney and fireplace, including any structural issues, problems with the masonry and problems with drafting. Once the inspection is completed, the cleaning process will begin. Your entire chimney will be scoured with a rotating brush that removes the soot, ash and creosote, and all these combustion byproducts will be permanently removed using professional-grade vacuums. If any serious problems were discovered during the inspection process, you’ll be notified immediately.

Why Schedule Inspection?

The first reason you should schedule an annual inspection is for safety. A malfunctioning fireplace and/or chimney can be extremely dangerous, with the worst case scenario being the development of a chimney fire. A second reason chimney inspections are important is that they help your chimney operate as they should. Chimneys do two things at once: they expel the toxic byproducts of combustion while also bringing the right amount of air to feed the fire; if this balance is off in any way, your fireplace and chimney will experience problems.

We bring years of experience to every chimney inspection we do in St. Paul, MN, so Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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What Is a Level 2 Chimney Inspection?

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Having a chimney that doesn’t work correctly isn’t just inconvenient, it’s dangerous. Your home’s chimney is the single outlet to expel the toxic byproducts of combustion and also to draw in air to feed your fire the oxygen it needs to burn properly. But when the chimney isn’t healthy enough to do these things, serious problems can ensue. The best way to ascertain whether or not your chimney is in good shape is schedule a chimney inspection. However, there are three levels of chimney inspections and we’ll explain more detail about these below so that you can understand what happens when you need a level 2 chimney inspection in Apple Valley.

Types of Chimney Inspections

The type of chimney inspection you need will depend largely on how you use your fireplace and chimney:

Level 1 Inspection

The level 1 inspection is the most basic type of inspection, and is the equivalent of a chimney sweep. This type of inspection is thorough, but is used when you aren’t changing the equipment in your fireplace, i.e., you aren’t making a change like installing an insert or stove. During a level 1 inspection, your chimney will be cleaned, the fireplace and fireplace box checked, insert or stove checked if there is one, and any blockages will be removed.

Level 2 Inspection

This type of inspection is needed for the following:

  • When you sell or buy a new home with a chimney
  • When you need to line your chimney
  • If you change the fuel type burning in the fireplace
  • If there are changes to the materials of which the chimney is made

A level 2 inspection will include all of the tasks of a level 1 inspection, but it will also include the areas close to the chimney, including attic space, crawl space and basement space.

Level 3 Inspection

Level 3 typically involves serious hazards. A level 3 inspection occurs when a chimney needs to have certain parts removed or rebuilt due to serious corrosion or damage. The tasks of levels 1 and 2 are also performed as part of level 3 service.

Maintaining your chimney is an important part of you and your home’s safety. The chimney specialists at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., will let you know what level inspection you’ll need for your Apple Valley home, so you don’t need to worry about having this information when you call us.

It’s recommended that your chimney is inspected annually, so if it has been more than 12 months since your last chimney inspection, Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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Why Spring Chimney Cleaning Is Important

Friday, March 6th, 2015

“Spring cleaning” is a term everyone knows, and today we apply it to more than just cleaning homes. Any thorough clean-up job done to maintain orderliness, whether at your office or on your computer’s hard drive, can be thought of as spring cleaning.

A part of your home that definitely needs true spring cleaning is your chimney. Spring is one of the best times to arrange for a professional chimney sweep to come to your home and give your chimney a complete cleaning, from firebox to crown. If you are looking for excellent spring chimney cleaning in White Bear Lake, MN, you have come to the right place: 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. has certified chimney sweeps on staff with the experience and equipment to handle the job while keeping your home protected from soot. Contact us today to arrange for your chimney cleaning.

Why spring cleaning is recommended for chimneys

You use your fireplace the most during the winter, and all that exhaust going up the chimney can lead to the development of creosote, a combustible material that needs removal. If creosote continues to build up, it can lead to chimney fires that can damage the chimney and even lead to fires in the upper floors or roof of your home. Extensive soot will also develop inside the chimney over the winter, and it’s important for chimney sweeps to eliminate this so the fireplace can vent properly.

The Minnesota winters can be exceptionally cruel to chimneys, and once the cold and snow are gone during the spring, it’s a good time to get rid of some of the troubles the chimney may have picked up during the last few months. Moisture inside a chimney from snow and rain can lead to cracking along the masonry, and cleaning will catch these problems before they become serious.

One common trouble that chimney cleaners encounter during spring cleaning is animal nests. Many birds and mammals seek shelter inside chimneys during the cold weather, which provide warmth and shelter. Bird nests are a frequent issue, often placed near the crown. Even raccoons can try to lair inside a chimney, and you certainly don’t want to attempt to remove a raccoon on your own!

Finally, chimney cleaning in spring is easy to plan, since chimney professionals are not as busy as in the winter and fall. You arrange to have your cleaning done on a convenient schedule.

We are certified with the Chimney Safety Institute of America and members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild.

For quality spring chimney cleaning in White Bear Lake, MN, give 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. a call. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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What Is a Level 3 Chimney Inspection?

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Although it is natural to think of the chimney in your home as durable almost to the point of invincibility, this is far from the truth. In order for a chimney to safely vent exhaust and avoid creating fire hazards and sustaining damage from moisture, it must receive routine inspections from professionals with licensing from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Inspections will locate any problem areas where a chimney may need repairs, such as relining, masonry work, or a new crown.

If you are unsure of when your chimney last received an inspection, it’s probably overdue for one. Call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., and our certified inspectors will take care of the job, whether you need a Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 chimney inspection in Spring Lake Park, MN. We have many decades of experience with handling chimney issues of all kinds.

What do these levels mean?

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) defines three levels of chimney inspection. A Level 1 inspection is the basic check for a chimney that has not experience any major issues, nor is the homeowner planning on making any changes to the chimney or fireplace in the future. A Level 2 inspection is required if the homeowner had made a change in the fireplace or chimney, such as switching to a new fuel type or putting in a new liner. These inspections are also required when property is transferred or the chimney suffers damage from an event such as building or chimney fire.

Do I need a Level 3 inspection?

The third level of inspection is the most thorough. However, you won’t need to worry about determining whether you need one or not, because the technicians will figure this out when performing either a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection. If the inspectors suspect that a chimney may have serious safety issues during a Level 1 or 2 inspection, they will then do a Level 3.

During a Level 3 inspection, the technicians will check all the parts of the chimney to see that it is sound, the flue venting properly, and combustion systems working correctly. The inspection then moves deeper to normally inaccessible areas of the chimney, which sometimes requires removing the crown or parts of the interior chimney wall to check for damage and serious structural problems. This job takes special tools and techniques that are not used during Level 1 and 2 inspections.

If it’s time for a chimney inspection in your home in Spring Lake Park, MN, a Level 3 chimney inspection may not be necessary. Whatever is required to keep your chimney safe and effective, you can trust to 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. to handle it.

Our certified chimney inspectors will start with either a Level 1 or 2 inspection, and then tell you if you need the higher level. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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