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

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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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

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Do Fireplaces Really Need Maintenance?

Friday, June 6th, 2014

“Fireplaces are maintenance free!” This is one of the most unfortunate misunderstandings about fireplaces that homeowners have. Because fireplaces and chimneys are usually made of the sturdiest material available, like stone and brick, and have construction that can stand the test of decades, they give the sense that they are essentially invincible and do not need any regular care.

But nothing could be farther from the truth. You need regular inspection and fireplace maintenance in Minnetonka, MN not only to make sure the fireplace consumes fuel and vents properly, but also to avoid possible dangers from chimney fires. For the necessary professional maintenance for your fireplace, make sure you rely on licensed chimney sweeps like those at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. We are proud members of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

Why fireplaces must have maintenance

A fireplace offers cosmetic beauty to the inside of your home, and the chimney to the outside, but they do have the basic function of funneling combustion gases away from the interior of your home and into the outside air. Without regular care, this job will become more difficult for the fireplace.

One particular section of a fireplace that needs regular care is the damper, which opens and closes the fireplace to the flue. A rusty or stuck damper can turn into a significant danger and make your fireplace essentially unusable.

Then there is the problem of creosote: this is the unburned wood energy that will begin to coat the fireplace and the flue, and it will increase in a fireplace that is dirty and not allowing combustion product to easily escape. Creosote is easy to spot: a shiny, tarry black substance. Aside from looking unattractive, creosote is highly combustible, and this leads to the most serious safety concern for a fireplace: chimney fires.

Without regular maintenance, creosote will build up in the flue and fireplace, and when the heat rises high enough, a fire will break out inside the chimney. According to the CSIA, these fires can melt mortar, crack tiles, cause liners to collapse and damage the outer masonry material. Worst of all, this damage can allow heat to reach the combustible building material around the chimney, causing fires to break out on upper floors or the roof.

The CSIA recommends an annual maintenance inspection from a certified chimney sweep to see that the fireplace is venting safely and there is no creosote danger.

To sign up for an excellent program for fireplace maintenance in Minnetonka, MN, contact the team at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. today. Make your fireplace a source of joy, never a source of danger.

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3 Types of Masonry Services

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Chimney and fireplace repairs often involve far more than fixing broken dampers, cleaning out layers of creosote, and clearing clogged gas lines. Sturdy fireplaces need masonry services to repair any damage they can suffer from time and the elements. Masonry services from trained specialists will take care of cracks and breaks, full restorations, leaning chimneys, and more.

When your chimney needs masonry services in Minnetonka, MN, only call on fully qualified technicians.

At 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., we have a staff that includes chimney repair specialists who can handle masonry jobs from sealing cracks to extensive restorations. Call us today!

3 types of masonry services we provide

  • Tuckpointing: Also known as re-pointing, this is a masonry repair technique using a mortar that resembles the original to fill in gaps. It is commonly used on old masonry that has begun to deteriorate due to weathering. This is a rare trade and requires specialists who can correctly match the texture and color of older brick and mortar material with new mortar to create a seamless illusion that enhances the look of the older masonry without giving it the appearance of being “patched.”
  • Repairs to flashing and fire stops: Metal flashing is what seals the point where a chimney meets the roof, and the masonry here needs special care should it become damaged and loosened over the years. Fire stops protect your ceilings and crawlspaces, which often contain flammable material, from the heat in the chimney. The masonry sealing along here must be re-sealed or replaced should it suffer from damage and create fire hazards.
  • Brick fireplace repairs: The fireplace must be free from cracks along the bricks and mortar to prevent moisture of any kind from seeping in and causing damage, which will create even larger cracking. If the damage enters the firebox—the place where the fuel in the fireplace is combusted—it will turn into a major hazard that can allow toxic gases to enter your home or fire to reach the building material adjacent to the fireplace. Any time you see mortar chunks missing or cracks along the hearth bricks, call for masonry services to repair the area right away.

Maintain regular fireplace inspections

Some masonry damage to your fireplace you can identify on your own with a simple examination of the hearth. Others are more difficult to detect. For this reason, you should schedule regular fireplace inspections to catch places where you need repairs. A Level I inspection done once a year will identify any spot where you need masonry services in Minnetonka, MN for your fireplace.

Make sure that the hearth in your home remains a place of safe, cozy enjoyment for your whole family. Contact 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. for all the repairs and inspections necessary to keep your fireplace in excellent shape, no matter its age.

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Minnetonka Chimney and Fireplace FAQ: Why is Chimney Sweeping Necessary?

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Hiring a Minnetonka chimney technician to clean and inspect your chimney and fireplace before the heating season is an important part of preventive maintenance. At 2nd Generation, we provide comprehensive inspections and chimney cleaning.

Call us today if you haven’t scheduled your annual chimney sweeping service. Here are a few important reasons to do this.

Wood-Burning Appliances and Pellet Stoves

Wood-burning fireplaces and wood stoves create creosote buildup over time. While there is some normal level of buildup that is to be expected, removing excess creosote can help prevent chimney fires and other hazards from occurring. it is essential to schedule an annual cleaning and inspection to ensure the safe operation of your fireplace. Even though pellet fuel is a clean-burning fuel, pellet stoves also need to be cleaned inspected for other issues.

Gas Logs and Fireplace Inserts

Even if you don’t heat your home with wood, inspections for gas inserts is just as important as inspecting a traditional fireplace. The technician will need to check the gas connections, piping, and firebox for any damages or gas leaks. Gas logs and inserts can also have corrosion issues if there’s excess moisture in the chimney. We will make sure that your chimney cap is doing its job of keeping out the rain and snow and creating issues. A technician will also inspect the electrical work and controls, including the thermostat, to ensure that everything is working properly.

Certain animals also like to nest in chimneys, particularly birds and raccoons. If any animals have nested in your chimney over the summer, we can make sure that there are no potential dangers associated with animal infestation once you start using your gas logs again. We’ll also check for proper airflow and other debris lodged in the chimney.

Call the Minnetonka chimney professionals at 2nd Generation if you need to schedule your annual inspection. If begin to notice any problems, such as odd smells, excessive smoke, backdrafts, or other issues, call a certified technician as soon as you can. There could be a hidden problem that needs to be resolved sooner than later.

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Why Choose Wood Pellets in Minnetonka?

Monday, November 5th, 2012

There are a lot of home heating options out there, and it can be difficult to decide which is best for you. Many people go into the decision considering either natural gas or electrical heating options, but wood pellet-fuel heating options deserve your consideration as well. Wood pellet stoves and boilers may not be for everyone, but what is? Before you make any decisions about how you want to heat your home make sure that you have the information you need to make an informed choice. Here is some information that may help you decide if heating your Minnetonka home with wood pellets is the right choice for you. For more information call the wood pellet pros at 2nd Generation Chimneys.

Wood pellet stoves do a great job heating an entire home, especially considering their relatively small size. The pellets themselves come in fairly small, manageable bags as well, making pellet stoves a good option for homes without a lot of space to spare. They are convenient to use as well, as you do not have to continually feed them the way you would with a wood burning stove. A hopper holds a supply of wood pellets, and as they burn down the hopper feeds more into the stove.

Many people purchase and operate wood burning stoves in their homes because they appreciate the sustainability of the fuel source. Wood pellets are made of recycled material that is compressed into the pellet form. This high level of compression has some added benefits as well. The moisture content is much lower than in split wood, and this dryness allows for more heat to be generated. This in turn means that wood pellets actually burn more completely and cleanly than wooden logs, creating fewer pollutants. Pellet stoves also create less smoke than burning wood, which reduces less ash than firewood and creates less creosote to accumulate in your chimney. Creosote buildup can lead to chimney fires.

As with any other home heating option, wood pellets do have their drawbacks. The stoves are expensive to purchase, and they run on electricity which can be an issue in the event of a power outage. Be sure to check the availability of wood pellets in your area as well. A pellet burning stove isn’t worth too much if you don’t have access to the fuel source.

If you are considering the purchase and installation of a pellet burning stove, call the home heating experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys today. We’ll help you decide if it is the right choice for Minnetonka home. Let us help you keep your home comfortable this winter.

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Minneapolis Chimney Sweep Guide: Benefits of Pellet Stoves

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Pellet stoves are a viable option for many homeowners in the Minneapolis area – offering an alternative heating source that is independent of your gas lines and that can save you money over pricier fuel options in the winter. If you have been considering having a pellet stove installed in your home and would like to learn more about the specific benefits of doing so, here are a few of the many reasons why area homeowners have them installed.

Cost Benefits

The biggest benefits of a pellet stove are related to cost. A pellet stove costs less to install and offers a less expensive option for heating than gas furnaces or boilers – especially in colder climates. While the system does use electricity and you will need to purchase the wood pellets for your stove (possibly having them delivered depending on where you live in the Minneapolis area), the cost is still less than that of operating a gas powered heating system.

Other Benefits of a Pellet Stove

Beyond the cost benefits of a pellet stove there are a number of other reasons you might consider one a good fit for your home. To start, the system is self-contained, meaning there is a much lower risk of smoke and gas fumes entering your home during combustion than with other types of heating systems. There is much less ash as well and creosote is kept to a minimum, which makes cleaning easier and reduces the risk of a chimney fire.

The wood pellets these stoves run on are largely made from recycled materials as well, meaning this is a mostly green heating method and one that can save you a great deal of money over time. Due to the pellets being recycled, these stoves are often considered carbon neutral (though they do consume some small amount of electricity that isn’t factored into this).

Overall, a pellet stove is a good fit for many homes in Minneapolis, though it is important to have a professional inspect your space and help you determine if it is the right fit.

Remember, whether you have a pellet stove fireplace or a fireplace, regular chimney cleaning is needed to keep it functioning safely. Call the experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys for any chimney sweeping or fireplace installation in Minneapolis!

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Plymouth Chimney Sweeping FAQ’s

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

There are few things more relaxing than making use of your fireplace on a chilly night. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that because it is not a primary heat source your Plymouth chimney does not need to be inspected and cleaned, though. Any use of your fireplace requires basic maintenance to keep it safe. Here are some common questions that people have regarding chimney sweeping.

How Often Should I Clean My Chimney?

Fire safety experts generally agree that yearly maintenance is necessary for a safe chimney. Remember, even though it is not heavily used your chimney could have poor ventilation from animal nests or suffer from a damaged liner or flu. A yearly inspection and cleaning will keep your chimney safe and functional.

How Long Does A Sweeping Take, and Is There a Mess?

Generally a chimney sweeping should be done in about an hour, though if problems are discovered it can take longer. As for a mess, yes, chimney sweeping is messy business. Thankfully a professional service like ours always has the appropriate equipment to leave your fire area cleaner than when we got there.

Why is Video Inspection Necessary?

A video inspection is, simply put, the most thorough way to ensure that your chimney is in safe working order. If our professional chimney sweepers notice any warning signs or safety hazards, the best way to evaluate the level of concern is with video inspection. The accessible parts of a chimney are only part of a complete inspection.

Can I Install My Wood Stove Insert Directly Into My Fireplace?

Maybe. Some prefabricated wood stoves require a specific chimney that is installed with the insert. Some are adaptable to existing fireplaces, but it is important that a qualified contractor do the installation to ensure that the stove and chimney are compatible as well as to properly insulate and seal the components.

If I’ve Had a Chimney Fire Can I Still Use My Fireplace?

The only way to be sure that your fireplace is safe to use is by having it professionally inspected. If you have a tile or clay liner, for example, you may need to have a new liner installed as these materials are very susceptible to heat. If any insulation or other materials are exposed through a crack it is very possible that another chimney fire may occur.

We at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. hope that this information has cleared up a few questions you may have had. Remember, we’re here whenever you need us, so if you have a question that was not addressed or have any other concerns, call us now. We’re here to help with any issues your Plymouth chimney is experiencing.

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How to Prevent Cracks in Your Plymouth Chimney

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Checking for cracks on the exterior of your chimney is something that any Plymouth homeowner can and should do.  Depending on the size of the crack and the potential soot around it anyone can determine if chimney repairs are needed.  Here are a few characteristics of chimneys in need of inspections, and ways you can prevent future damages.

One of the primary steps contractors and homeowners should know to take is leaving space between the chimney flue and the brick exterior.  This space needs to be present because of the heat expansion that occurs within the chimney while it is being used.  Without this additional space the chimney flue will expand and crack the brick exterior, which will lead to potential smoke leakage and further chimney damage.

Chimneys must be made to withstand some amount of movement, especially in towns that are known to have seismic activity.  Contractors should also be particularly careful of the soil that the place the chimney on, so that the foundation of the chimney is not resting on unsecure ground.  If your chimney does experience some movement it is important for homeowners to check the mortar joints, or the area where the chimney protrudes out of the roof, for gaps between the roof and the chimney.

One quick way homeowners can avoid any chimney sealing and resurfacing issues is by installing a chimney damper or cap.  During the colder months, if water travels down your chimney, and freezes, there is a good chance that the expansion of water to ice will crack your brick mortar exterior.  Right now 2nd Generation Chimneys is offering a discount on chimney inspections and cleanings when homeowners purchase a chimney damper.  By taking advantage of this deal people will be able to save money on their heating bills by restricting air flow through their chimney, reduce water from entering their chimney, and receive a discounted chimney inspection.

To learn more about ways to reduce chimney cracks, and increase chimney efficiency please call 2nd Generation Chimneys today.

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Height Requirements for Chimney Installations in Ham Lake

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

When contemplating the look of your chimney installation in Ham Lake it is important to follow the specific height requirements set by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).  These height requirements were established to distance the top of your flue from your home’s roof to reduce the amount of heat that your roof is exposed to.  The obvious reason for these requirements is if the top of the flue is too close to the top of your home, the heat could catch your roof on fire.  A not so obvious reason for these height requirements is if the fireplace does not have a sufficient distance from the fire pit to the top of the chimney flue, the smoke will not be sucked up towards the chimney.

The height requirements for a typical chimney, otherwise known as a masonry chimney, is the top of the flue must be 10 feet horizontally from any portion of the roof, and the top of the chimney must extend 3 feet from the roof, where the chimney protrudes.  Typically a chimney inspection professional from 2nd Generation Chimneys should check these distances, but the best way to check if your chimney clears the 10 foot distance between the top of the flue and your roof is by placing a tape measurer on top of your chimney, extend the tape straight out to 10 feet, and make sure you can not touch any portion of your home with this extended length.  You can also measure 3 feet from the top of your flue down to the roof, where your chimney emerges, to see if that height requirement is fulfilled.

If you find out that your chimney flue does not meet the height requirements for the safety of your home please contact 2nd Generation Chimney.  We will be able to fit your flue with a chimney height extension.

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