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

What Happens During a Chimney Cleaning?

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Soot and creosote can build up in your chimney over time. Not only do they interfere with your ability to enjoy your fireplace, but they can constitute a danger to your household. When it comes to chimney cleaning, Plymouth MN and other communities in the Twin Cities need a reliable service in order to make full use of their fireplaces during our long, cold winters. But what happens during a chimney cleaning? The specifics depend on the type of fireplace and the nature of the build-up or damage, though a few general steps are universal.

It starts with an inspection to determine the state of your chimney and note the specific levels of soot or creosote build-up. After that, the chimney sweep lays down tarp and other protective coverings to keep your home clean and safe during the cleaning process. From there, the cleaning can proceed in earnest, using one of three basic methods:

  • The rod method uses flexible rods with sweepers on the end. The chimney sweep brushes the interior sides of the chimney to clear off the build-up. The deeper he needs to go into the chimney, the more extensions he can add to the rods to extend them. The rod method can be applied “top down” from the roof or “bottom up” from the interior of the home, depending on what’s most effective.
  • The weight method applies heavy weights to the brushes, then lets gravity help do the scrubbing. The chimney sweep can raise or lower it using a system of pulleys.
  • The dual line method involves two chimney sweeps: one at the top of the chimney and one at the bottom. They push and pull on a line running the length of the chimney with a brush attached to scrub down the sides of the chimney.

The exact method depends on the type of chimney, the cleaning required, and the proclivities of the chimney sweep. When you need a chimney cleaning in Plymouth MN, we can help. 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. can explain what happens during a chimney cleaning, then clean yours with thoroughness and courtesy. Give us a call today to set up an appointment.

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Plymouth Chimney Sweeping: Tools of the Chimney Sweeping Trade

Monday, January 21st, 2013

When most people think of chimney sweeping they most likely think of Bert from Marry Poppins leaping across rooftops with a black wire brush filled with soot2nd Generation Chimneys provides complete Plymouth chimney sweeping services. While we still to use metal brushes on poles, there are many other tools that we have at our disposal to get your chimney nice and clean.

Why Are Chimney Cleaning Services Necessary?

If you have a fireplace in your Plymouth home, you may have never thought about getting it cleaned. Here are a couple of the benefits of getting your chimney cleaned.

  • Safety – Most people think that once the fuel they put in their fire burns that there’s no risk to them. In reality, the soot and creosote that gather on the inside of your chimney are still flammable. If soot and creosote build up in your chimney they can ignite again. Chimney fires can cause tremendous damage to your chimney and to your home.
  • Efficiency – When you have a fire in your home, you want it to burn as efficiently as possible. If you let soot and creosote build up inside your chimney, it can hinder the flow of smoke, heat and air out of your chimney.

Chimney Sweeping Tools

Here are some of the tools that our skilled Plymouth chimney sweeping professionals will use.

  • Brushes – One of the best tools for chimney sweeps is still a long wire brush. The flexibility and strength of wires brushes allows us to get into tight spaces and scrub out any deposits.
  • Vacuums – Chimney sweeping is a dirty job. We use vacuums to remove any pollutants that enter the air as a result of our cleaning processes. We also make sure to clean up any mess that we make.
  • Chemical soot removers – Sometimes, a brush isn’t enough to get the soot or creosote off of your chimney. In some cases, we use a chemical cleaning agent to remove those deposits.

If you’ve never had your chimney cleaned, it might be a good idea to think about calling 2nd Generation today. We have many years of experience offering chimney cleaning in Plymouth. Contact 2nd Generation Chimneys today!

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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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Plymouth Chimney and Fireplace Tips: Ten Fire Safety Tips

Monday, May 21st, 2012

If you utilize your fireplace frequently in Plymouth, there are some preventative chimney cleaning and maintenance tasks that you should follow to avoid safety hazards. Even if you heat your home with a gas furnace or rarely use your fireplace, chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks are still major concerns. Your chimney is part of your home’s ventilation system.

To maintain proper ventilation and prevent hazards, follow these guidelines:

1. Annual Inspections
The general consensus among fire safety experts is that chimneys should be inspected once a year by a certified chimney inspector. A qualified professional will inspect and clean your chimney to prevent air flow problems, fires, or carbon monoxide poisoning due to blockages and creosote buildup in homes heated with wood.

2. Burn the Correct Fuel
If you have a wood-burning application, such as a wood stove or fireplace, you should only burn wood that has been properly dried and stored properly for at least six months prior to burning. Never burn wood that has high amounts of resin, such as pine or other evergreens, and if you have a pellet stove, make sure you are burning pellets from a trusted source.

3. Chimney Cap and Cage Are Important – Without a chimney cap animals and birds will make your chimney their home.  These unwanted guests could lead to fires and poor ventilation for your chimney smoke.

4. Trash or Debris Do Not Belong in Your Fireplace– Burning trash or debris in your fireplace is never a good idea because the smoke could produce increased levels of creosote, or toxic smoke.  The smoke could also be highly pollutant.

5. Build the Fire Correctly – The first step to having a safe and efficient fire is to build the fire right.  Make sure that the logs are piled up towards the back of the fireplace, make sure the screen is ready to cover it up, and do not use flammable liquid to start the fire because if the liquid gets anywhere else in your home that could be dangerous.
6. Keep the hearth area clear – Remember that the fire in your home is still an open fire, and can throw out hot ash or embers that can ignite other flammable materials. Keep other materials at least 4 feet away from the fire in order to avoid this issue.

7. Install a Fireplace Screen – In order to avoid hot ash and embers from flying out of the fire, and things falling into the fire put up a fire place screen anytime you have a fire going. This will reduce all interactions with the fire, and make for a safer environment.

8. Smoke and carbon monoxide Detectors Save Lives. Smoke and carbon monoxide is definitely dangerous for the health of a family, but can sometimes go unnoticed until it is too late.  Installing a smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is incredibly easy and could save lives.
9. Pay Attention to Your Fire – Always extinguish your fire before going to bed or leaving the house.  A fire is unpredictable and potentially very damaging.  Even if you are in the house make sure to keep an eye on the fire so children or animals do not wander too close to it, especially if you do not have a fireplace screen.

10. Safe Distance from Chimney Flue – When smoke leaves your home it is warm enough to catch trees on fire over time.  Make sure to keep an eye on trees growing around your home to make sure they are not creeping closer to the top of your chimney.  Try to keep a fifteen to twenty foot distance between the top of your chimney and trees.

If you would like us to service your chimney or you have any questions please call 2nd Generation Chimneys.

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Common Chimney Repairs in Plymouth

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Your chimney in Plymouth may seem like a simple component of your house, but it needs a lot of maintenance and even with regular checkups, you might find yourself in need of one of these common chimney repairs.

Cracking or Falling Bricks

During the colder winter months, your chimney absorbs water and then freezes, holding that water inside, causing the mortar and bricks to expand. The water then thaws and the bricks are weakened. Enough cycles like this and the bricks will start to crumble and fall out of the chimney. To stop this from happening, a contractor will place water sealant on the bricks in your chimney to keep them from succumbing to water damage. If properly done, this stops 99% of all moisture from entering your chimney.

Crown Problems

The crown on your chimney can be insufficient or not sealed properly, resulting in water coming through onto your fireplace or mantel or leakage in the firebox. If you notice any moisture inside your home, either along the chimney structure itself or on the firebox or mantel, it is most likely an issue with the crown.

Flashing

When the roof is done on your home, flashing is placed around the chimney to seal the joints between masonry and shingles. This keeps any water from getting between the two and leaking into your home. If you notice water on your ceiling or on any walls adjoining the chimney, this may be the problem and can be fixed relatively easily by a roofer.

Flue Damage

Even with the right flue lining installed, damage can occur over time from regular use. The flue liner can crack or break or it can become blocked by creosote or other debris over time, especially if you don’t have a chimney cap to block things from entering on top of your house. Regular flue liner cleaning should take care of these problems.

If you are concerned about your chimney or the chimney liner, make sure to call 2nd Generation Chimneys to inspect it for these or other possible problems. Most chimneys will have small, easily repaired problems over their lifespan – no need to let them get any bigger.

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Plymouth Chimney Tips: The Importance of Chimney Screens, Caps, and Dampers

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Improper ventilation and moisture inside your chimney can create a number of problems, including hazards, such as chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks. Installing and maintaining chimney screens, caps, and dampers will help to reduce the necessity of  chimney cleaning.

Here at 2nd Generation Chimney, we have all of your chimney and fireplace needs covered, and we offer quality and durable products that are made to last. Call us for the best chimney repair in Plymouth.

Chimney Screen

Chimney screens are installed mainly to prevent animals from nesting or getting trapped in your chimney. Birds and other rodents like to use chimneys for nesting sites, especially raccoons since their natural nesting sites are inside hollow trees. Animals nesting in your chimney can create health hazards in addition to restricting airflow. Animals don’t just damage your chimney system when they nest in it; they can also get through cracks in the masonry and walls and chew through insulation and wiring inside your home. It’s also a good idea to install metal screens for your roof vents, since many small animals are able to chew through vinyl roof vents.

Chimney screens are also referred to as exterior spark arrestors because they help keep sparks from wood-burning appliances from drifting out of the chimney. Sparks from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces have been known to start brush fires and other damages to the roof. Make sure you talk to a chimney professional about installing the proper screen for your wood-burning appliance.

Chimney Cap

Modern chimney caps are typically manufactured with a screen attached, and in addition to animal protection, these also help protect the chimney crown. While not all caps will completely cover the crown, they do deflect much of the rainwater. Over time, crowns can crack and allow moisture inside the mortar joints and bricks below. Properly sealing your chimney with a permeable sealant will help prevent water damage, but it’s also a good idea to install a cap and screen that is large enough to cover the entire crown. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so call us if you would like to know more about the chimney caps we offer.

Chimney Damper

In addition to preventing heat loss when you aren’t using your fireplace, dampers can also provide extra moisture protection. Water inside a chimney flue can create many problems. When moisture mixes with any kind of combustion material, it can become corrosive. This can cause important chimney components to break down over time.

There are a variety of products on the market to help keep your chimney flue free of debris, animals, and water. You can help protect your Plymouth home from chimney fires and carbon monoxide intrusion by calling 2nd Generation Chimney to ask about our chimney products and installation services.

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