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

What Happens During Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning?

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

One of the biggest fire hazards to your home comes from an appliance you might never suspect: the clothes dryer. Dryers contain a vent that exhausts water vapor and other by-products of clothes drying to the outdoors. Unfortunately, this necessary outlet is also responsible for 15,600 structure fires every year according to the U.S. Fire Administration. When the exhaust vent becomes clogged with lint, fire is a distinct possibility, and while cleaning the lint trap is a good habit for dryer use, it cannot prevent lint from lining the inside of the vent as well.

Some trained technicians offer professional dryer vent cleaning so that you can rest easy knowing this is one component of your home you won’t have to worry about for years to come. This is a service best left to a professional with the proper tools and trained eyes to recognize problems and keep your vent clear.

The Dryer Vent Cleaning Process

Dryer vent cleaning, when performed by a professional, involves a set of steps that the average homeowner may glaze over or be ill-equipped to handle. There are actually several ways one can go about cleaning a dryer vent, one of which involves simply using a flexible rotating brush that connects to a vacuum. The brush angles to reach every nook and cranny of the dryer vent while a powerful vacuum collects any debris therein. This is important because it not only prevents fire hazards, but your dryer also performs better when there is less blockage, improving efficiency and reducing the need for repairs or replacement parts.

Finally comes the inspection. This is another portion of the process that can be done incorrectly if you examine the vents with an untrained eye. A skilled technician measures the airflow of the dryer vent with a digital airflow meter before and after the cleaning to make sure that the airflow has increased. These tools are often unavailable to amateurs or can be costly and difficult to use.

Don’t trust the fate of your home to just anyone.

Put your confidence in dryer vent cleaning experts, like the people at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. For dryer vent cleaning in Ramsey, Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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Minneapolis Chimney Guide: Professional Chimney Cleaning Steps

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

There are few things as comforting on a cold night as a crackling fire in your living room. No matter how much or how little you use your fireplace it is important to have your chimney cleaned annually. When it comes to cleaning your chimney the only way to ensure that it is safe and structurally sound is to call a Minneapolis chimney cleaning professional. Anyone can sweep the soot out of a chimney, but a professional chimney sweep provides much more service than that. Here is some information about the professional chimney cleaning process.

A professional chimney sweep starts by cleaning and inspecting the fireplace, moving upwards to the flu and chimney. The chimney sweep also inspects the chimney flashing and crown. The chimney flashing is the seal between the joints of your building and the chimney and the crown sits on top of the chimney, protecting the masonry from water and weather damage.

Once the fireplace is cleaned the damper is removed. This is the part of chimney is seals the opening when the fireplace is not in use. Its removal allows for brush access to the smoke shelf and chamber. The smoke chamber functions to reduce backdraft when smoke enters the flue, and the smoke shelf catches falling debris and rain water. It is vital that these areas be clean and unobstructed.

Once the area is cleared it is time to begin the actual sweeping of the chimney. Most professionals will skip the handheld brush for one mounted on a heavy duty drill. This allows for a much more thorough scraping and cleaning of the built up creosote than simply feeding a brush through by hand. Once the brushing is done the crew will vacuum up the mess, being sure to clear the smoke shelf of all debris.

Once the cleaning has been completed, your professional chimney sweep may feed video equipment through the damper opening. This will allow them to inspect the condition and integrity of the chimney flue and mortar joints. Most serious issues with chimneys are discovered during routine chimney sweeping. Video inspection allows for detection of water damage, missing or degraded mortar joints, black stains indicating smoke leakage and a slew of other possible issues.

Once a year, every year, have a Minneapolis chimney professional clean your chimney. If you have any questions regarding this information, the pros at 2nd Generation Chimneys are willing, able and happy to provide answers.

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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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Minneapolis Chimney Sweep Q/A: Do I Need to Have My Chimney Cleaned if I Use Gas Logs?

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

In recent years, gas logs have grown in popularity. They allow you to have a comfortable, warm fire in your living room without having to deal with cutting cord after cord of wood to fuel it. However, there are some misconceptions about the maintenance needed to keep your Minneapolis chimney and gas log fireplace operational and safe, especially in the cleaning department.

Is Cleaning Necessary?

If you have a traditional chimney and are considering having a gas log fireplace installed or your existing fireplace retrofitted for gas logs, you will need to have a new flue liner installed and probably a number of other upgrades made.

Beyond the changes, you should have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis. While it is true that there is less soot and debris from a straight gas fire that produces a blue flame, most gas logs are designed to burn yellow to simulate a real fire. A yellow flame is not as hot and therefore does not burn as completely as a blue flame.

For this reason, the fire produces gasses such a carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide as well as soot. Those gasses and soot will build up in your chimney over time and just like a traditional chimney, will soon require cleaning by a Minneapolis chimney sweep.

If you opt for a blue flame gas log fireplace, you can have your chimney cleaned far less frequently, though it is still recommended to have periodic inspections to ensure the flue liner remains clean.

Keeping Your Home Safe

While gas logs produce less soot and debris than wood fireplaces, they still burn incomplete and produce enough components that you need to have someone inspect your fireplace on a semi-regular basis. Even if the need for cleaning is less or not as frequent, you’ll find yourself glad you did it, if nothing else, for the peace of mind.

If you have any questions about gas log fireplaces or chimney cleaning, give 2nd Generation Chimneys a call!

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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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