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

Can I Do Annual Chimney Sweeping on My Own?

Monday, October 20th, 2014

There are certain tasks around your home that are good for doing yourself; there are others that are better left to professionals. One task that is better left to a professional is chimney sweeping. It is recommended that your chimney is swept every fall to ensure safe and efficient use during the winter months. Creosote builds up fairly quickly, especially if you use your fireplace often, and chimney sweeping in the Twin Cities helps keep your chimney functioning as it should. There are several reasons why it’s important to hire a trained professional to sweep your chimney, as we’ll discuss below. If you are ready to start using your fireplace again, contact 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., and schedule a chimney sweep today.

Reasons to Hire a Professional for Chimney Sweeping

Here are a few reasons why it’s important to hire a professional for chimney sweeping instead of doing it yourself:

  • Safety – one of the main reasons it’s important to sweep your chimney is to remove the creosote, soot and ash that can build up therein. These materials are flammable, and if not properly removed, can catch on fire.
  • Specialized tools – there are a number of specialized tools a trained chimney sweeper will bring to the job that you probably don’t have, including chimney brushes and rods, chemical soot and ash removers, cleaning tools and specialized chimney cleaning systems.
  • Protection of home goods – your professional chimney sweep will cover the floor and all home goods in close proximity to your chimney to ensure that everything stays clean.

Benefits of a Professional Chimney Sweep

As we mentioned above, having your chimney swept is very important to you and your home’s safety. Here are some other reasons why you’ll want to get your chimney swept before winter:

  • Energy efficiency – not only is the build-up of creosote, soot and ash dangerous, it can also restrict the air flow in your chimney, which can decrease the efficiency of your fireplace.
  • Longevity – the materials that can build-up in your chimney are highly acidic; as such, they can eat away at the masonry of your chimney, which will wear it down and eventually cause it to crack and break.
  • Bad for your flue – if you have a combustion heating system that requires a flue, a build-up of creosote, soot and ash will corrode your flue just as it does your chimney.

A fireplace can offer great supplemental heat during the winter – but not if it isn’t professionally cleaned.

Call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., and schedule an appointment for professional chimney sweeping in the Twin Cities today.

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What’s Involved in Chimney Resurfacing?

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Chimneys suffer from wear and tear, just like every other component of your house, and here in Minnesota, they see a lot of use in the winter. That can leave the chimney quite damaged over time. The flue can become cracked, fissures can show up along the bricks, and rain and snow can get in. The solution is to have a chimney resurfacing session from a qualified professional. They restore the lining to its full functionality, which takes less time and costs less money than having to replace the entire chimney. And when it comes to chimney resurfacing, Twin Cities residents should take advantage of warm summer weather to schedule the operation, rather than waiting for winter snows to make it all that much more difficult. This goes for any chimney repair or maintenance service as well. So what’s involved in chimney resurfacing? We’ve included a quick description below.

The first stage is to weigh down coverings and tarps around your fireplace, to protect your home and furnishings from dust and detritus that may be dislodged. The chimney sweep then sends a video camera down the chimney to ascertain where the damage has taken place. Mortar can be applied in places that need it and tiles reset to address any that are broken or missing.  Then the chimney sweep sends an applicator blade – sized to fit your chimney precisely – down the chimney to apply sealant and keep the interior of the chimney secure.

Outside the chimney, the question becomes one of simple resurfacing. The chimney sweep uses safety lines to ascend, then carefully removes the bricks one by one to expose the chimney’s interior. She can then seal any cracks and apply sealant before rebuilding the outer surface of the chimney to repair any damage.

We’ve served the whole of the Twin Cities since 2001 and we have emergency services available for times when repair or resurfacing operations to be performed quickly. Give us a call today to set up an appointment, and let us show you what we can do!

For more on what’s involved in chimney resurfacing, Twin Cities residents can call upon the chimney professionals at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc.

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Why Dryer Vent Cleaning Is Important

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Whenever you place laundry into a clothes dryer, what’s one of the important steps to take? Clean out the lint trap, of course. Without this air passage kept clear in the dryer, the machine will heat far less efficiently and end up making clothes damp instead of dry, all while draining the same amount of power.

However, the lint trap isn’t the only part of your clothes dryer that requires cleaning. The dryer has a ventilation system to the outside to prevent extra heat from entering your home, as well removing other debris plucked from the clothes. The dryer vent needs to stay clean, and with regular visit from specialists, you’ll have a dryer that runs without draining power, gets your clothes dry, and… most important of all… won’t create a fire hazard.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. does more than chimney sweeping and restoration. We handle dryer vent cleaning to take care of lint and the exhaust hose. When you’re looking for top people for dryer vent cleaning in the Twin Cities, MN, make us your first call.

Why dryer vent cleaning is necessary

Before we get to anything else, we want to share a frightening statistic: According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 15,000 house fires occur every year because of obstructions inside dryer vents. The lint from clothing is highly combustible, and once enough gathers in the vent hose between a dryer and the outside of a house, it doesn’t take much heat to cause it to ignite. It’s vital for the safety of your home and family to have the dryer vent clean of flammable material.

The safety issue is enough reason to schedule dryer vent cleaners, but there are other advantages as well. Basic energy efficiency increases with a clear passage, the same way that a clean air filter makes for a more efficient air conditioning system. Lack of venting of moist air from the dryer means the moisture trapped inside with the clothes makes it harder for them to lose additional heat. You can expect your clothes to keep coming out damp, no matter how high you run the dryer. (Damp clothes are a good warning sign that you must have the dryer vent cleaned.)

How often should I clean the dryer vent and how do I do it?

The frequency that a dryer vents needs cleaning varies. When you notice damp clothes or the need to run the dryer for longer, or if the top surface of the dryer becomes extremely hot, then you are due for cleaning. If you don’t recall ever cleaning the vent before, then it’s definitely time to take care of it. In general, get into the habit of having cleaning twice a year.

Instead of spending hours trying to access and clean your dryer vents, call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. and schedule a dryer vent cleaning in the Twin Cities, MN.

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Twin Cities: The Importance of Chimney Resurfacing

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Check out our video of one of our certified technicians performing smoke chamber resurfacing. As part of our chimney repair services, resurfacing is an important part of maintaining and preserving your chimney and masonry work. Don’t wait until your chimney becomes irreparable to schedule a maintenance call. We service the Twin Cities area so Schedule an appointment today!

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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 Sweep Q/A: Why Do I Need Chimney Cleaning if I Have a Pellet Stove?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Using alternative fuel sources for heat is becoming more and more popular in Minneapolis. Sometimes, though, people get misconceptions in their head when switching over to a different fuel source. If you’ve ever used wood to heat your home with a fireplace before then you hopefully know about the importance of chimney cleaning. Don’t think that just because wood pellets are advertised as “clean burning” that you don’t still need to maintain a clean, safe chimney.

Wood pellets are a clean burning source of heat. They consequently create less creosote than burning wood logs in your fireplace or in a wood burning stove. However, the chimney and flue utilized by these stoves still require professional cleaning, not only to work efficiently but to work safely. Don’t take any chances when heating your Minneapolis home with pellet stoves.

Wood stoves rely on the principle of chimney draft in order to operate. Pellet stoves, on the other hand, require a specially sealed exhaust pipe in or to work properly. This prevents exhaust from spilling out into your living space. A combustion blower within pellet stoves creates air pressure, in turn creating a need for double walled ventilation with a stainless steel interior. Thanks to this forced exhaust system, pellet stoves do not require a vertical rise in order to properly vent. They can be vented horizontally, straight through the wall of your living space.

If you do have a preexisting chimney you can choose to vent through that as well, but you will need a correctly sized stainless steel liner for your chimney in order to ensure proper drafting of the exhaust. This will prevent a drop in pressure cause by an oversized flue, allowing smoke to condense within the chimney and adversely affecting the performance of your stove.

However you choose to vent your pellet stove, whether through horizontal piping or straight up your fireplace’s chimney, it is important that you take all the right steps to ensure proper operation and safety. This includes using the right equipment and flue liners. It also includes professional Minneapolis chimney service. Remember, clean burning does not mean creosote free. Call 2nd Generation Chimney now with any questions you may have.

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Why Most Prefabricated Fireplaces in Cambridge Cannot be Installed Using the Existing Chimney System

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

If you are looking to add a charming touch to your home, or just supplement your current heating system, you may be considering installing a fireplace. Since building a new fireplace is often costly and requires a lot of masonry work, many people are opting for prefabricated fireplaces instead.

Prefab fireplace units are nice, because they are convenient, they look charming and they work well. However, some people assume that because they already have a chimney in their home from a previous system, adding a prefab system will be easier and not require a new chimney. Generally, though, this is not true.

Most prefabricated fireplaces are sold as a unit along with an accompanying chimney, and they often will now work with another chimney system. There are a few reasons for this, such as:

  • Rigorous fireplace inspections and testing is a must for each home to ensure that they are safe to use. This testing is done along with the included chimney, so both are rated as safe together. The fireplace is not necessarily tested to be safe with any other configuration.
  • The specifications for air space and insulation in a fireplace are exacting, because of the volatile nature of the combustion process. Because a prefabricated fireplace and chimney are engineered to work together, you can be sure they meet the proper specifications.
  • The chimney and fireplace have been designed to work together for maximum efficiency, so any other setup could affect the performance of your fireplace and therefore the warmth of your house.
  • Because of the necessary clearance measurements mentioned above, wood is kept a certain specified distance away from the chimney. If a prefabricated fireplace is used with a different chimney, this clearance may be too short, which can cause chimney fires or other unsafe conditions.

Even with all this in mind, a prefabricated fireplace may still be the best option for you. It is just important to know up front that trying to save money be using an existing chimney system will not work and you are better off purchasing the whole bundle as sold.  If you have any questions about your fireplace please call 2nd Generation Chimneys.

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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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Handling All Of Your Chimney Needs, 2nd Generations Chimneys

Monday, February 6th, 2012

2nd Generation Chimneys is equipped to handle all of your chimney and maintenance and safety needs. 2nd Generation Chimney Service offers chimney cleaning, restoration, caps and dampers and chimney relining. Whether it’s woodstoves, fireplaces, chimneys, or dryer vents, we get the job done right! Give us a call at 612-922-9600 .  We are Minnesota’s number 1 rated full service chimney company.  To learn more about us visit www.2ndgenerationchimneys.com .

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Inspections and Cleanings Help Reduce Flue Fires

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Did you know annual chimney inspections and cleanings can greatly reduce flue fires?  Dirty flues lead to chimney fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and possible loss of property and life. Many of these fires are caused from the ignition of creosote that builds up in the chimney with normal use of your fireplace.   2nd Generations Chimneys is a complete chimney service company in Minnesota.  Their services include relining, restoration, chimney caps and dampers and chimney cleaning.  They lead the way for best service and products for residential, commercial and industrial building in the Twin Cities and surrounding area.  Call them at 612-922-9600 and visit them online at www.2ndgenerationchimneys.com .

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