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

Minneapolis Chimney Sweep Guide: How To Avoid Chimney Fires

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Chimney fires are scary things to think about, but by taking a few precautions, you can help prevent this problem from happening in your Minneapolis home.

First, here is a little on what causes chimney fires. The wood that you burn in your fireplace or wood stove contains material than can condense on the inside of your chimney. This forms a tar-like substance called creosote, which is very flammable. If enough creosote builds up in your chimney, it can form a serious fire hazard.

While any wood can create creosote, there are some factors that make creosote buildup more likely. Burning green wood, extremely cold temperatures, and poor air supply can lead to more creosote condensing on the chimney. To reduce buildup, it’s best to have small, hot fires with seasoned firewood.

However, since burning any wood will lead to creosote in your chimney, the best way to prevent chimney fires is to have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year.  A chimney sweep will remove any creosote buildup and check over your chimney for other problems.

To prepare for your chimney sweep’s visit, there are a few things that you can do:

  • Don’t use the fireplace or wood stove for 24 hours before the appointment
  • Move furniture away from the fireplace
  • Keep pets and children away from the work area

If you haven’t have your Minneapolis chimney cleaned and inspected this year, call 2nd Generation Chimneys today to schedule your appointment!

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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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Why Should You Have Water Repellant on Your Minneapolis Chimney?

Monday, April 16th, 2012

In Minneapolis there are a lot of myths about water repellants and when they are useful or not useful for a chimney. The truth is that almost all chimneys should have some sort of chimney sealant and resurfacing applied to them to avoid easily preventable water damage that can not only destroy the chimney face but pose a danger to you and your family.

What Water Repellant Does

Water repellant is used to seal up the masonry on the outside of your chimney. This is necessary because of the constant freeze and thaw cycles that a chimney goes through each winter. Water is absorbed by the mortar and bricks and then freezes in cold temperatures. This weakens the bricks and when it thaws, the bricks crumble or break free. It might take months or even years, but eventually extensive chimney repairs will be needed.

A properly selected water repellant stops this from happening by blocking up to 99% of the moisture that enters the mortar joints and bricks and keeping the chimney dry both inside and out.

The Problem with Some Water Repellants

The problem and the reason many people are hesitant to use water repellants is that they can also trap water inside the chimney if the wrong ones are applied. Sealers that form a film on the masonry, bond to the masonry or don’t allow enough air to breathe through the masonry risk sealing moisture inside the chimney and causing even more damage.

The right ones will penetrate deep into the chimney and bond with the masonry on a chemical level, blocking moisture without blocking everything, thereby stopping water from entering and leaving.

Water Repellants are Important

Chimneys will be subjected to all forms of weather – from rain to snow to sleet and wind – and that means they will deteriorate over time if not treated. To give your chimney the protection it needs and reduce the need for repairs, make sure you have someone you trust use the right kind of water repellant for your chimney.  Call 2nd Generation Chimneys with any questions.

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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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Happy Valentine’s Day From Your Twin Cities’ Chimney Inspection Company, 2nd Generation Chimneys

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

We wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show your appreciation to everyone who makes a difference in your life. Even a small gift, like a batch of cookies or a homemade card, can really make someone feel special. Your friends, your family, and your significant other will all have a fantastic Valentine’s Day if you take a moment to let them know how important they are to you.

Calling us for a chimney inspection might seem like a usual gift, but it can actually be something that benefits your whole family. Being secure in the safety of your chimney can make the time you spend by it more enjoyable, and the small problems that you can catch with our video inspection can save you a lot of money by avoiding larger problems in the future. Our chimney cleaning and inspection services will ensure its usability on days you need it most, like Valentine’s Day.

If you have any questions about chimney inspections or fire place installations, give 2nd Generation Chimneys a call today! And to help you celebrate this sweet holiday, here is a recipe for Chocolate Mint Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 36 chocolate mint wafer candies

Directions

  1. In a large pan over low heat, cook butter, sugar and water until butter is melted. Add chocolate chips and stir until partially melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes to cool off slightly.
  2. At high speed, beat in eggs, one at a time into chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, beating until blended. Chill dough about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. While cookies are baking unwrap mints and divide each in half. When cookies are brought out of the oven, put 1/2 mint on top of each cookie. Let the mint sit for up to 5 minutes until melted, then spread the mint on top of the cookie. Eat and enjoy!

For more details, visit allrecipes.com.

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