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

What Problems Can a Chimney Cap Prevent?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

We may still be enjoying summer, but fall is right around the corner, and with it comes a new season of heating with your fireplace. Your chimney is the outlet for your fireplace’s smoke and burning embers, so keeping it clear and safe is a priority. One of the easier ways to help keep your chimney safe is with the installation of a chimney cap to your North Oaks property. For over a decade, 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., has installed chimney caps for a multitude of customers, and we can help you with your installation.

What Is a Chimney Cap?

A chimney cap is a small cover for the opening of your chimney. Chimney caps come in a variety of styles to both protect and compliment your chimney and home.

What Are the Benefits of Installing a Chimney Cap?

There are several important benefits to installing chimney cap:

  • Block animals from nesting in your chimney – there are a variety of animals, including birds, squirrels and raccoons, that like to nest in chimneys. By covering the top of your chimney with a cap, you prevent these critters from making a home there.
  • Reduce water damage from wet weather – chimney caps significantly reduce the amount of water that enters your chimney. Rain, snow, sleet and ice can easily enter your chimney through its opening. When water gets into your chimney, it can get into the masonry, and as the water freezes due to winter temperatures, can crack the masonry. If left unattended, water damage can eventually weaken your chimney’s structure.
  • Block hot embers from the roof – burning embers from your fireplace can make their way up the chimney and onto your roof, potentially causing a fire. A chimney cap can prevent these hot embers from escaping.

Why Hire a Professional?

An improperly sized, designed, or installed chimney cap can reduce a chimney’s backdraft, which can lead to the poor burning of fuel and/or smoky rooms in your home. The best way to avoid this is to hire trained professionals, like the ones at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

Chimney caps can protect your chimney and your home from some potentially serious damage. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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Twin Cities Chimney Repair Question: What is Chimney Resurfacing?

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Chimney resurfacing is an important part of your overall chimney maintenance.  Just like any masonry-work, it is essential to keep your chimney in good repair in order for it to work efficiently.  The Twin Cities chimney experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys can help you to better understand exactly what chimney resurfacing is, as well as perform a professional chimney resurfacing for you.

Chimney Resurfacing: The Basics

Weather can really take a toll on your chimney.  Along with changing weather patterns comes the inevitable cracking or wearing out of the masonry that holds the exterior of the chimney together.  Chimney resurfacing will maintain the quality of your chimney.  If your chimney is made of brick or stone and the mortar that holds it all together is eroding or you have stucco covering the outside of your chimney that has cracked, it is important that you have it resurfaced right away.

Some of the resurfacing happens along the horizontal sections of the chimney such as the crown on the very top of the chimney or on the shoulders where the chimney flares out to the sides.  These horizontal surfaces are designed to keep rain water from penetrating into the brickwork or stonework on a chimney and it is essential that they be properly maintained.  If water begins leaking into the chimney because of the wear on these sections it can be very damaging to the mortar holding the masonry together, as well as to the bricks and stonework.

Visibly cracked and weathered crowns or shoulders are an indication that a chimney repair is needed which will normally include restoring the masonry or bricks with fresh mortar, as well as applying a waterproofing agent such as a sealant to protect the repair work that is completed.

So whether you notice small cracks beginning on the chimney crown, the chimney shoulders, or in the mortar that holds the masonry pieces together, it is important to contact a professional Twin Cities chimney company such as 2nd Generation Chimneys to handle your chimney repairs and chimney maintenance.

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Minneapolis Chimney Guide: Common Chimney Problems

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Making use of your Minneapolis home’s fireplace is a great way to relax. Even if you use it only infrequently, though, it is important to have your fireplace and chimney professionally inspected annually. Not only does this keep your chimney  working properly and safely, it also allows professional chimney sweeps to discover any existing or developing problems within your chimney. At 2nd Generation Chimneys we want you to feel confident when using your home’s fireplace. Here’s some information about common chimney problems and conditions that can be discovered and dealt with by a professional service company.

  • Creosote Buildup: Creosote is a tarry substance that results from the burning of wood in your fireplace. It is a byproduct of the burning process and its production cannot be avoided. As long as you have your chimney cleaned annually creosote should pose no danger. However, if left to itself long enough it can be responsible for fires within your chimney. Regular, professional chimney maintenance will cut down on the creosote buildup in your chimney, keeping your fireplace and chimney as safe as possible.
  • Damaged Chimney Cap or Crown: The crown of your chimney sits at the top of the structure to protect exposed masonry chimneys from being damaged by weather or water. The cap is a roofed addition that helps keep water out of your chimney and may have a screen to keep animals and birds out as well. A faulty cap or screen can let in unwanted debris and pests, and can even result in damage to your fireplace’s flue.
  • Damaged Flue: The flue of your fireplace allows combustion gases to vent. A damaged flue can allow gases to seep into your house and lead to the erosion of the chimney’s masonry and brickwork. This puts the structural integrity of your entire chimney at risk.
  • Cracks in Lining of Chimney: Any cracks or damage to the flue lining must be dealt with immediately. This can lead to leaking gases and escaping heat, putting the interior of your home at risk of fire or exposure to gases. It can also lead to blockages and improper ventilation.

When properly maintained your fireplace is a perfectly safe, enjoyable way to relax and heat your home. Annual professional maintenance will alleviate any concern you have about the functionality of your chimney. If you have any cause to suspect a problem with your chimney’s structure or operation, or if you’d just like more information, call the Minneapolis chimney professionals at 2nd Generation Chimneys.

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Safety Tips for Fridley Residents: Clothes Dryer Ventilation

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

It’s important to perform air duct cleaning in Fridley for many reasons. Increasing the efficiency of your HVAC system and lowering your utility bills are a few of them, but safety is the best reason to keep your vents clean, particularly your clothes dryer vent.

Clothes dryers are one of the leading causes of house fires each year. Homes that do not perform dryer vent cleaning or receive improper installation are usually the cause. Protect your home with these maintenance and safety tips.

Even if you clean out the lint trap after each use, lint can still get trapped in the exhaust vent and cause a fire hazard or a potential carbon monoxide leak with gas dryers. Maintaining proper ventilation for a clothes dryer includes cleaning out the exhaust duct and hose. To do this, you just need to unplug your dryer and detach the hose, which can be removed with common household tools. If you already do this regularly and find an abnormal amount of lint and debris, call an HVAC technician to inspect it. There could be something in the duct system blocking the ventilation for your dryer.

At least once a year, you should also have a qualified technician inspect and clean your exhaust duct and make sure you have the proper style hose. If you have a foil or vinyl hose, you should replace it with a flexible metal one that is fireproof. You might want to consider installing a dryer box, which protects the flexible hose and saves space.

Dryers that aren’t properly installed or put in areas that could create hazards are often found in older homes; however, some newer homes are built with designs that create longer ventilation paths and more potential for debris to get trapped inside the ducts.

Don’t wait until a hidden safety issue turns into a fire or carbon monoxide hazard in your Fridley home. Call 2nd Generation Chimneys to inspect and clean your exhaust hose and duct today!

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Mendota Heights Chimney & Fireplace Tips: Saving Energy with Masonry Heaters

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Most energy experts agree that masonry heaters are one of the most efficient, durable, and easy to use fireplace or wood stove systems you can have in. If you are considering building a masonry heater in your Mendota Heights home, you should understand how they work so that you are familiar with their benefits.

Masonry heaters are distinguished by their structure, design, and ability to burn wood or pellet fuel efficiently. Masonry heaters are also referred to as Russian or Siberian fireplaces, and they look similar to brick ovens because of the masonry structure that is built around the firebox or stove insert. Inside the masonry, a complex and carefully designed system of smoke channels distribute the heat throughout the home over a longer period of time, which means it does not need to be loaded often like traditional fireplaces.

Because Russian fireplaces can also withstand extreme temperatures, they only need to be re-loaded once or twice a day. Once the load is burned, the heat is stored in what is known as the “masonry thermal mass,” which provides you with one of the most efficient radiant heating systems available. Masonry heaters are also ideal during the times you only need a small amount of heat because you can burn a smaller load to meet your heating needs.

If you have an existing fireplace, you have the option of modifying your fireplace or stove with a custom-built masonry fireplace installation. However, any type of masonry heater should be installed by an experienced professional.  Installing the masonry heater incorrectly can create fire hazards and will be less efficient.  In addition, you will need to know how to properly stack and burn the wood (unless you are using a pellet stove) so that the wood burns rapidly enough to provide clean fuel. When you burn wood or fuel too slowly, it can produce tars and other combustion pollutants. If you aren’t sure what the “critical burn rate” is for your wood or pellet-burning appliance, you will need to know this before installing a custom masonry heater.

You can always call 2nd Generation Chimneys if you aren’t sure whether a masonry heater is right for your Mendota Heights home. We’re always glad to answer questions and offer our expert advice.

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