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

Why Fireplace Repair Is Always a Job for Professionals

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

If there is a problem with your fireplace, you want it fixed quickly. Whether your home is recovering from a fire, your broken fireplace cannot provide adequate heat, or it is at risk of catching fire in the future, you’ll need a professional trained in the standards of chimney repair and safety to ensure that the problem is fixed and to keep any safety hazards from occurring in the future.

Fireplace repair is not a job for the average do-it-yourselfer. While you can challenge yourself by doing some home projects on your own, such as assembling or repainting furniture, these jobs don’t generally come along with any high risk. Chimney fires are one of the leading causes of home fires in the U.S., and you risk a chimney fire any time a component of your fireplace is in a state of disrepair. There are professionals trained specifically on the best methods for repairing, relining, or sealing your fireplace, and you should always make sure you’re working with an expert.

As an example, the flue liner must be the proper size and it has to be in top shape in order for the fireplace to remain in good shape. If you call a technician for a routine inspection and they discover that the flue liner needs replacement due to cracks and holes or any other threat to your safety, the technician may decide that it needs replacement. And you’ll want to make sure you have a certified professional to make measurements and choose a fire resistant material that is fitted properly.

Be sure to call for repairs as soon as you notice anything unusual, such as excessive smoking, visible cracks and holes in the chimney, or a cracked firebox. You should only trust professionals certified in chimney repair and cleaning, as they are better able to assess any potential danger and recognize repair needs throughout the structure. The experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, which means they’ll make sure your new repairs are safe and sound.

Contact 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. today for thorough, quality fireplace repair in Wayzata. Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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Why Is Firebox Cleaning an Important Part of Chimney Service?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

‘Tis the time of year for warm fires, but you could be in for a lot more if your firebox isn’t as clean as it should be. From all appearances, your chimney looks like one large component, but the truth is, your chimney can consist of up to 22 parts, one of which is your firebox. Chimney sweeping should be performed annually by a trained professional, so if you are getting ready to warm some chestnuts by an open fire, make sure you’ve had your chimney swept first. If you haven’t, call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc., today and schedule an appointment for fireplace cleaning in Wayzata, MN.

What Is the Firebox?

The firebox is the part of your fireplace where the fire actually burns. Because of this, it is the part of your fireplace that sustains the most heat. Many fireboxes are made of some kind of masonry, like bricks, but some are made of metal, as you’ll find with a pre-fabricated chimney.

Why Is It Important to Clean the Firebox?

During a routine chimney sweep appointment, your firebox isn’t just cleaned, it is also inspected. Due to the high temperatures the firebox sustains, it isn’t unusual for wear and tear to set in. Combustion byproducts can be very acidic, so both masonry and metal can crack; the mortar in the masonry can erode, and metal can corrode over time. If these problems have developed with your firebox, they’ll be detected during your annual chimney sweep and repaired as necessary.

Maintaining Your Firebox

An annual chimney sweep helps you to maintain your firebox through the years, but cleaning out ash after every use is also important. Ash and soot accumulate quickly and can be corrosive; if left to sit in your firebox, you can prematurely age the masonry and/or metal work in the firebox. Cleaning out the ash from your fireplace after every use helps to significantly reduce the potential effects of the soot and ash while keeping your firebox clean for the next warm fire.

Warm fires and winter go hand-in-hand. Keep your winter fires healthy and safe with a clean firebox and chimney.Call Us Today! 612.922.9600 or 1-888-PIXLEYS

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What Are Chimney Fires?

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Although you expect to have fires blazing inside your fireplace, you don’t want those flames to go any farther than the hearth. You may think that a fire moving up into a chimney isn’t necessarily a problem, but a chimney fire like this can be extremely destructive and require that you have special repair work done to avoid causing a house fire.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. is a full-service chimney and fireplace company with the training and certification necessary to handle any chimney restoration in Wayzata, MN that you may need. If you believe you’ve experienced a chimney fire, call our technicians right away for an inspection.

Chimney fires and their dangers

Conventional wisdom holds that chimneys are essentially invincible and maintenance-free. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If a chimney becomes dirty and filled with creosote, the trouble it has venting can cause a chimney fire to break out: an intense fire that ignites the combustible material collected inside the flue. Chimney fires can be extremely loud and create cracking, popping, and rumbling sounds—sometimes even audible from outside a home! But they can also go undetected if they are slow-burning. Either kind of chimney fire is destructive: they can reach 2000°F, enough to cause severe damage to any material inside the chimney.

These high temperatures are enough to cause mortar to melt, tiles to crack, and liners to collapse. This will lead to a dangerous situation, since it will permit the heat that vents through the chimney to escape to the building material surrounding it. A damaged chimney can cause a fire to start on the second floor of a home or up on the roof.

Watch for the following signs that can warn you a chimney fire has broken out: excess creosote, a warped metal damper, fallen tiles, a discolored rain cap, damaged roofing material, cracks on the outside masonry, and marks of smoke escaping through mortar joints and tiles.

If you think you have experienced a chimney fire in your home, you should schedule a Level 2 chimney inspection from a technician certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). This thorough inspection will determine what repairs and restoration work are necessary. In most cases, the fireplace restorationists will need to replace the chimney liner to ensure that heat cannot escape through broken tiles and clay liners to reach the combustible material outside.

You can have all your chimney problems taken care of through one contractor: 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. We are certified with the CSIA and can take care of all your needs for repairs and chimney restoration in Wayzata, MN.

Call us today to set up an appointment, and keep us in mind for your regular inspections and chimney sweeping that will help you avoid chimney fires in the future.

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How Does Chimney Video Inspection Work?

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Your chimney requires yearly sweeping and inspections to make that it presents no possibility of danger to your home or family. A fireplace should always be a source of warmth and joy, not worry, and regular cleaning with make sure that your fireplace will not turn into a source of safety concerns.

Sometimes, you will need to go beyond the annual chimney sweeping appointment and bring in chimney inspection specialists. You should do this whenever you experience a chimney fire, damage to the chimney, or make significant changes to the heating system such as changing fuel source. One of the key parts of these inspections is special video scanning equipment.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. is a full-service and certified fireplace and chimney company that provides chimney video inspection in Wayzata, MN. From regular sweeping to complete Level 3 inspections, we will take care of making your chimney and fireplace safe. Contact us today to set up an appointment for your chimney.

Chimney video inspection

A video inspection is part of a Level 2 chimney inspection as defined by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA): “A Level 2 inspection shall also include a visual inspection by video scanning equipment or other means in order to examine the internal surfaces and joints of all flue liners incorporated within the chimney.” Using this equipment is part of the mandate of a Level 2 inspection that no “removal or destruction of permanently attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required.” They are also part of the extensive Level 3 inspection. One or both of these inspections is necessary in the case of a chimney fire, transfer of property from one owner to another, suspicion of a crack or other major damage, and flue relining or other major upgrades to the fireplace.

To perform video inspection, a certified inspector inserts the camera on a “starter rod” through the damper. (In some cases where it is easier, the camera will go down through the top of the chimney.) The camera then moves up the chimney, with new rods attached to it to stabilize it as it moves farther. The camera rotates as it travels to offer a clear look at the liner so the inspector can view the surface and joints. The image provided allows technicians to see aspects of the flue that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. The inspection looks for cracks down to hairline fractures in the liner, loose or missing mortar joints, broken or missing tile liners, and signs of improper construction.

A Level 2 inspection will tell the technicians what work needs to be done to keep a chimney safe (or if a Level 3 inspection is necessary). Without the aid of video inspections, the job would be far more difficult and the details harder to ascertain.

You can trust all your chimney safety needs to 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. We are certified with the CSIA and use chimney video inspection in Wayzata, MN to give you the best safety inspections possible.

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Why Your Fireplaces Firebox Needs Cleaning

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

When thinking about cleaning and maintaining your fireplace, it’s helpful to remember that a “fireplace” isn’t just the area where you see the flames coming from wood logs or gas jets. It’s a whole system that includes the hearth, the chimney, the mantle, the dampers, and the flue.

One of the most important parts of this system is the firebox, the place where the actual fuel for the fire is combusted. The size of the firebox differs depending on the type of fuel the fireplace burns, but they have one thing in common: they need regular cleaning to make sure the fireplace burns its fuel efficiently and safely.

Firebox cleaning is part of the regular professional fireplace maintenance you should have scheduled for your home’s fireplace every year. The best contractor to take care of your fireplace sweeping in Wayzata, MN is one dedicated exclusively to the care of fireplaces.

2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. employs certified chimney sweeps with the Chimney Safety Institute of America and members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild. Call us today to set up an appointment. 

The importance of keeping a clean firebox

Fireboxes will accumulate the leftover, unburnt product or fuel, and this residue must be removed regularly. For a wood-burning fireplace, the firebox will begin to accumulate creosote, which is a shiny black substance that is essentially unburned wood energy. Creosote is also highly combustible and will easily catch fire and can escape from the hearth.

Ash that collects in the firebox will eventually clog it up enough that the fire will not burn as efficiently. Although you can remove much of the ash yourself, a large amount will stain the firebricks, and they can eventually cause cracking, which can be very bad news for a fireplace. This ash contamination will need professional sweepers to remove.

Chimney sweeps will always check for cracks during cleaning. Aside from excess ash, these cracks can occur because of repeated expansion and contraction over time from the intense heat in the firebox, as so even gas fireplaces are susceptible. Cracks can lead to hazards, since they will allow heat to get out of the firebox and toward combustible construction material. You should hire masonry services to repair the firebox damage before you use the fireplace again.

Regular chimney sweeping and inspections

A chimney sweeping takes care of your whole fireplace, not just the firebox. To make sure you have a safe fireplace, technicians can perform Level 1, 2, or 3 inspections, depending on the amount of damage your fireplace may have. Our chimney sweeps at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. are certified to perform all levels of inspections and comprehensive fireplace sweeping in Wayzata, MN, so make us your choice for regular chimney cleaning and maintenance.

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3 Stages of Chimney Inspection in Wayzata

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Because chimneys are made of durable material and designed to last for many years—over a century in some cases—people often believe that chimneys don’t need to have regular maintenance or inspection, except maybe at five year intervals just to check if there’s creosote that need cleaning out.

But this is a myth, and a potentially hazardous one. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that homeowners have their chimney inspected once a year, even if they did not use it much during the previous year. Chimneys can accrue damage during periods when they are not in use as easily as during their busiest times of the year, such as winter holidays. Scheduling a chimney inspection in Wayzata, MN should be on your yearly calendar for home maintenance. Call 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. to schedule an inspection today from our certified technicians.

There are 3 stages of inspection, which are called “levels” by the CSIA.

Your chimney inspectors will ascertain what level you need. Below are the different levels:

  • Level 1: Recommended for a chimney in regular use that is not experiencing problems. Inspectors look over the readily accessible areas of the chimney (spots that do not require special tools or damage to building material or surface finishes to access). The inspection goes over the flue, the basic building structure, and fundamental installation, all for the purpose of ensuring the safety of you and your family.
  • Level 2: The CSIA recommends this level when you make a change in your heating, such as a switch in fuel type, a flue relining, or the replacement or addition of an appliance like a gas log insert. It is also recommended if you have experienced a malfunction or damage to the chimney. This level of inspection goes beyond Level 1 to include video scanning.
  • Level 3: Recommended when earlier inspections indicate hidden problems within the chimney or more complex tools are necessary. This inspection may require removal of components around the chimney, such as drywall, so technicians can access hidden areas of the chimney.

Chimney inspections are vital to maintain the safety of your fireplace and its ventilation. 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. has a staff of CSIA certified chimney inspectors who can perform all three levels of inspections to help ensure that your chimney is safe, allowing you to enjoy the warmth of a fire in the hearth throughout the year. Contact us today to start with a Level 1 chimney inspection in Wayzata, MN.

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Why You Should Fix Crumbling or Cracked Masonry

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

The chimney and surrounding masonry of your fireplace is vital to the effectiveness and efficiency of your heating system. Over time, your masonry will be subject to the effects of temperature fluctuation, rain, snow and wind, as well as any accidental damage caused by debris. You should always keep your masonry in top condition, whether it’s your fireplace or another part of your home. There are several different techniques that our professional masonry service technicians in Wayzata, MN use to ensure that can restore your home in no time. In today’s post, we’d like to look at some reasons why fixing crumbling or cracked masonry immediately is so critical to the future comfort of your home. Call 2nd Generation Chimneys today.

  • Air leaks. Your fireplace is only as good as the masonry that encases it. This is not only an efficiency issue but also a safety one. Incomplete combustion can lead to the production of carbon monoxide, an odorless gas that is highly toxic. Any crumbling or cracked masonry may lead to leaking exhaust in your home.
  • Water leaks. Perhaps even more dangerous to your fireplace and chimney is a water leak. When water is allowed to penetrate into your brickwork, it may actually expand when frozen, thus leading to further damage.
  • Heat. Crumbling or cracked masonry can also lead to problems with the effectiveness of your heating. If you rely on your fireplace for more than just its looks, then repairing such issues can help you keep your fireplace in good working condition. Such issues tend only to worsen over time. If you are in need of chimney repairs for your Wazata home, then call 2nd Generation Chimneys today!

Our masons use only time-honored and long-lasting repair techniques. The action of using mortar to fill and repair cracks in the mortar is known as repointing. The “pointing” is the external surface of the mortar joints that hold the bricks or stones of your fireplace together. Hence, repointing is the process by which your pointing is restored. It involves assessing what parts of your mortar joints are damaged and removing them. Then, our masons can match new mortar to the color of your existing chimney or fireplace.

Call 2nd Generation Chimneys today for excellent masonry services throughout the Wayzata, MN area.

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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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