2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Eden Prairie’

How to Effectively Clean Your Fireplace

Monday, December 25th, 2017

fireplace-fire-burningAlthough you may expect your fireplace to get dirty with extended use, it’s not intended to be this way. The fireplace should be kept clean, even if soot seems to collect quickly at the bottom of the fireplace. And if this is the case, you should do whatever you can to ensure this is kept under control.

Part of this is regular fireplace sweeping. Part of this is prevention. But you should also be sure to call in professional technicians to clean your chimney and fireplace at least once per year, and help you make changes to reduce soot and debris buildup in the first place.

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The Dirty Truth about Creosote

Monday, November 13th, 2017

chim-scan-insideCreosote is something we deal with every day as professional chimney sweeps and fireplace technicians. It’s likely in your fireplace and chimney right now. Just because it is common, though, that doesn’t mean it’s okay. Creosote makes a chimney dirty, but that doesn’t mean it’s just dirt. Learn all about this fuel-burning byproduct and why you want it out of your chimney ASAP in today’s guide.

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What to Consider before Installing a New Wood Insert

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Wood-burning fireplaces are the oldest way to provide heat for homes. Although people rarely rely on wood fireplaces to provide overall warmth to a house any more, the old fashioned wood-burning hearth is still around because it is an unbeatable source of cozy ambience and beauty for a home. Wood burning fireplaces may not be whole-house comfort solutions any more, but few installations will add as much to your home life.

A wood fireplace insert is a way to keep your old masonry fireplace around but upgrade it so it’s more efficient, losing far less of its heat up the chimney and sending more warmth into your home. This will help make your old fireplace an addition to your heating system that will help keep down your bills. Even for one of the smaller wood inserts, a single load of wood can provide up to eight hours of warmth.

Call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. today to find out more about our services for wood inserts in Eden Prairie, MN and the surrounding areas.

A few things to consider before installing a wood insert:

  • Do you need to upgrade your fireplace? Before you even consider having a wood insert put in, you need to know if your fireplace will even work with one. Wood inserts are designed to fit into pre-existing wood-burning masonry fireplaces. If you don’t already have a fireplace, you should consider a free-standing wood stove instead.
  • Perhaps you should upgrade to gas logs? When it comes time to installing any kind of insert for a fireplace, you will have to consider whether you should upgrade to using gas logs rather than continuing with a wood-burning model. Gas logs do not have the same beauty as a traditional fireplace, but they come with some significant advantages in convenience and maintenance. If you have an available gas line, you should give some consideration to having a gas insert put in.
  • What size insert do you need? You can’t simply go to a store and pick out any fireplace insert and put it in yourself. A new insert must be properly sized for the space and to make sure that it is compatible with the chimney itself and will vent correctly. It’s crucial to have professionals handle this work, as well as to check to see if your chimney is in good repair and if it needs cleaning before the insert is installed.

At 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., we install wood inserts in Eden Prairie, MN from Regency Fireplace Products. All Regency inserts are EPA-certified and environmentally friendly and clean-burning. We offer a variety of inserts and will find the right size for your current hearth, as well as take care of any necessary cleaning and repairs the chimney may require before the insert goes in. We also install wood stoves and gas logs.

For more information on wood inserts for your fireplace in Eden Prairie Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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Fireplace Maintenance Tips for the Summer

Friday, May 30th, 2014

We don’t have much call for our fireplaces in the summer, when temperatures are high and your air conditioner tends to see a lot more use. That actually makes this the ideal time to perform some maintenance and upkeep on your fireplace. Since you don’t have need of it, the technician can perform the operation whenever your schedule is open (as opposed to the fall or winter, when the weather is cold and the need for your fireplace is much higher). Summertime upkeep also means that your fireplace is ready to go the minute the mercury starts to drop. Any service that offers fireplace repair in Eden Prairie can usually perform maintenance services as well. Here are some fireplace maintenance tips for the summer.

  • Schedule a creosote cleaning. Creosote is a sticky substance, a little like tar, that builds up in your fireplace and on the sides of your chimney. It’s flammable, which means it constitutes a significant hazard unless it’s cleaned up. A professional chimney service can do the job safely and effectively, leaving your fireplace ready when the fall arrives.
  • Check for cracks. Old-fashioned fireplaces with brick or stone chimneys can suffer the full brunt of our Minnesota weather – summer and winter alike – and after time, fissures can form in the surface. A chimney inspection can spot those cracks while they’re still small and fix them before they become a major headache.
  • Test the fireplace. Every few months, it pays to start a small fire in your fireplace and just check to see if there are any problems or blockages. If the smoke comes back into your home, or you notice smoke emerging somewhere it shouldn’t, it’s probably a good idea to call a repair service and get the problem properly sorted out.

The experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. can help you out with fireplace maintenance tips for the summer. We handle fireplace repair in Eden Prairie, and we have the skills and experience to perform a full-bore maintenance service with confidence and pride.

We’ll leave your fireplace clean and ready to go when the temperatures start to drop again. Pick up the phone and give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did!

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3 Signs You Need Fireplace Restoration

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Fireplaces are among the most durable of fixtures in a home: they have to be in order to deal with the high temperatures they experience any time they are used. But no fireplace is invincible, and sometimes they can sustain damage due to age or accidents that will require the work of professional restorers to fix.

Here are three indications that you need to call for fireplace restoration in Eden Prairie, MN.

Do not use your fireplace again until you have professionals make sure it is safe once more. Call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. for fast service from experienced and licensed fireplace professionals.

3 warnings you need fireplace restoration

  1. Cracking in the masonry or liner: One of the most severe problems you can encounter with a fireplace is cracking along the masonry or the liner, whether in the chimney, the firebox, or anywhere else. Cracks aren’t restricted to older fireplaces, either: moisture that seeps into a fireplace then freezes will cause bricks and masonry to begin to split apart. These cracks allow heat to escape from the confines of the fireplace and reach combustible building material, possible causing fires. Restoration requires the work of masonry experts who can fill in and smooth over the cracking to keep the heat of a fireplace where it belongs.
  2. A chimney fire: A chimney fire is when combustion occurs within the chimney, instead of down in the fireplace hearth. This is a major emergency, and if your fireplace experiences this, it will need to have major restoration work done afterward to replace and restore tile and clay chimney liners that will endure heavy damage because of the fire. The restorers will also find the cause for the fire in the first place and make sure that the restoration work addresses it.
  3. A leaning chimney: No, that’s not an optical illusion… the chimney is actually starting to lean toward or away from the house. A leaning chimney usually occurs because of deterioration in the chimney’s foundation. Restorers will need to repair the foundation in order to balance the chimney once more. This is an urgent repair job: a leaning chimney poses a safety threat if it collapses, and can cause enormous damage to your home from the stress it will place on construction material.

Fireplace restoration is a highly specialized task. To handle this work, call on technicians with proper certification and training. At 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., we have a staff of Certified Chimney Reliners and superintendents certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. These are the qualifications you can trust for proper fireplace restoration in Eden Prairie, MN, as well as for any other fireplace repairs and sweeping you need.

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A Brief History of Chimney Sweeps

Friday, March 28th, 2014

The job title “chimney sweep” carries with it connotations both romantic and sooty. The first images that pop into people’s imagination when they hear the words “chimney sweeps” are either Mary Poppins or something close to the world of Charles Dickens. However, the chimney sweep in history goes farther back in time than Victorian London. This is an old profession, and a necessary one from the days of the first chimneys up through today.

Chimney sweeps are still with us, and they may not be as soot-covered as before, but they’re still ready to keep your chimney clean and safe. You can find some of the finest chimney sweeps at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Call on us for fast and effective chimney inspection and chimney cleaning in Eden Prairie, MN.

The Chimney Sweep in History

The ancient Romans usually receive credit for the invention of what we would call a chimney. Since the Bronze Age, homes and palaces used large central hearths vented through a hole in the ceiling to heat rooms. But the Romans started to use fires in individual places of a dwelling that vented out a brick stack. Cleaning this was crucial to making sure the exhaust left the room and didn’t enter it, although there was not yet a single profession dedicated to the job.

It was during the 16th century in England that fireplaces with chimneys developed toward their modern versions, with fireplaces built in each room of a house to spread warmth more evenly. When the Crown levied a hearth tax in the 17th century on the number of chimneys in a house, homeowners would build complex tunnels systems of vents to all connect to single chimney. Coal also started to replace wood as the main fireplace fuel. Now homes were riddled with twisty channels choked with coal soot—and the task of keeping them clean was so large that a new profession arose to deal with it: the full-time chimney sweep.

This was an often hazardous occupation. Soot is dangerous for lungs, and the sweeps were frequently up in high places or required to squeeze up difficult narrow shafts. Orphaned children were often placed into indentured servitude as sweeps in exchange for food and lodging. (The term “light a fire under you” comes from a master threatening a frightened child sweep to continue to climb up a long chimney to complete the cleaning.)

In 1864, this abusive practice thankfully ended when Parliament passed a law to stop child labor as chimney sweeps. New inventions also allowed for much easier cleaning of chimneys.

Today in the U.S., chimney sweeps are highly specialized professionals certified to work to keep people’s fireplaces safe using the finest modern equipment.

For quality chimney cleaning in Eden Prairie, MN from a professional chimney cleaning service, contact the experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Give us a call today to schedule your next service appointment!

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The 3 Levels of Chimney Inspection

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Chimney inspection is an important part of maintaining a safe and attractive fireplace in your home. We often need to remind people that a fireplace poses no greater danger to your home than a heating system like a furnace or boiler…as long as it receives regular inspections and necessary cleanings and repairs.

When it comes to inspections, you should entrust the work only to certified professionals. The organization that certifies chimney inspectors and technicians is the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). In January 2000, the National Fire Protection Association adopted three levels of inspection to solidify the methods of inspectors. The CSIA has adopted these three levels, and all certified inspectors now use them.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. has CSIA-certified inspectors on staff with extensive training to provide all three levels. We also offer chimney sweeping, repairs, and the necessary masonry services in Eden Prairie, MN, for your chimney should an inspection identify problems that need remedy.

An Explanation of The 3 Levels

The levels of chimney inspection are a hierarchy: the first level is the simplest inspection, while the third is extensive and necessary if it appears there are serious issues. Which one will you need?

If you haven’t had trouble with your fireplace’s venting and have no plans to make any changes in the near future, then a Level 1 inspection is the place to start. According to the CSIA, “A Level 1 inspection is recommended for a chimney under continued service, under the same conditions, and with the continued use of the same appliance.” The inspector will examine parts of the chimney that are easy to access to check for construction soundness and flue integrity, as well as look for any obstructions.

You will need a Level 2 inspection if you have made any changes to your fireplace or venting: a new fuel source, construction, or appliance addition. It’s also required upon sale or transfer of property, or after any occurrence that might have damaged to chimney and liner. A Level 2 inspection includes everything in Level 1, but also investigates other areas of the chimney exterior plus the attic and crawlspaces.

A Level 3 inspection is necessary if either of the other levels identified the possibility of hidden hazards. Inspectors will often need to remove some chimney components to access areas that could have sustained damage.

In Case You Need Chimney Repair

Fireplaces and chimneys are durable and do not often require repairs. But it’s vital that they receive them when they need them: there’s danger of fire escaping or structural collapse. Call for 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. when you need your chimney inspected in Eden Prairie to find out its current state, and if you’ll need our professional masonry services to restore it.

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Signs That Would Indicate You Need Fireplace Repair

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

A fireplace is often a welcome addition to your home, helping you save money on heating bills while providing a cozy and pleasant atmosphere in the bargain. Fireplaces are practically necessities in cold weather cities like Eden Prairie, MN. It is essential fireplace repair service providers must respond quickly to an issue, especially during the winter months when homeowners use it as often as possible. You can maintain your fireplace for many years with routine cleaning and maintenance. But eventually, your fireplace is bound to require a little more care.

Here are a few signs that would indicate you need fireplace repair.

The first and most obvious sign of trouble is when smoke backs up from the fireplace into your home. That means that the chimney is either blocked or has suffered damage that make it unable to do its job. There are many possible causes for this. Creosote could build up inside the chimney, birds can build nests in it during the warm season, leaves and other debris could clog it up, and the chimney itself may have suffered structural damage.

A similar but distinct issue concerns poor draw, which takes place when a chimney isn’t tall enough, isn’t wide enough, or doesn’t have sufficient air flow to pull the smoke up when a fire is lit. The effects are similar – a room full of smoke – but correcting it may involve more serious chimney repairs instead of just a thorough cleaning.

You may also experience issues of excessive draft: when too much air comes down your chimney, chilling your home and even putting out a fire you’re trying to light. In many cases, this is caused by external factors, such as a chimney built too low behind a nearby structure or the presence of trees too close to the chimney.

Regardless of the causes, these signs definitely indicate that you need fireplace repair. That means dealing with the issue before the snows falls. Eden Prairie fireplace repair falls under the purveyance of 2nd Generation Chimneys. We can perform a thorough inspection, then advise you on the best way to solve your fireplace problems. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

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Why St. Croix County Residents Should Inspect or Replace a Flue Liner When Upgrading a Heating System

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Despite how they look, most chimneys in St. Croix County can not of handle all forms of exhaust. In fact, when you get your chimney serviced, it is vital to perform chimney flue liner cleaning, and if the chimney flue does not look capable of handling a few more winters, replace it. Here are some details on why this is so important and how you can ensure your family and home are safe with your current chimney.

Condensation and Flue Gasses

If your chimney liner is older and has not been updated in some time, then it is likely not optimized for high efficiency gas boiler or furnaces. Chimneys are designed to do one thing – vent flue gasses. However, since heating systems have become so much more efficient in recent years, they now release flue gasses at much lower temperatures as more heat is extracted from the exhaust.

The result is that gasses being released into your chimney or exhaust pipes are often just barely over the dew point, meaning they will cool in the chimney and condense into liquid – often containing dangerous, corrosive acids that can eat through the flue liner and start to leak through the external structure.

In a single hour of operation, a 150,000 BTU furnace can produce over a gallon of liquid lined with various acids that can eat right through your flue liner and cause damage to your house and present health problems to your family.

Proper Inspection and Upgrade

Not only can an increase in efficiency cause problems, but changing the type of exhaust can as well. Switching from gas to oil for example results in different exhaust and can create a problem with older flue liners.

For all of these reasons it is very important to have your current flue liner inspected for damage and to make sure it is sufficient for a new heating system. If it is not, it should be replaced immediately to ensure it will be enough to handle the gasses being released during combustion.  Please call 2nd Generation Chimneys with any questions.

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