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Jack Pixley Sweeps' Blog

What Does It Mean To Be Scaffolding Set Up Certified?

Scaffolding isn’t just used for major construction projects; many chimney repairs require scaffolding too. However, only a few chimney companies are certified to set up scaffolding. This means that scaffolding set up is an added expense and a time delay to your chimney repair. At Jack Pixley Sweeps, our team is trained and certified to set up scaffolding. This will help you to save thousands of dollars while also saving you lots of time to keep your chimney repair project right on schedule.

Why being scaffolding set up certified matters

What Does It Mean To Be Scaffolding Set Up Certified - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley SweepsWhile scaffolding may look simple, setting it up is very complex. It can affect the safety of the chimney technicians and the stability of the repairs as well. Because of this, it is extremely important that the crew sets up the scaffolding is trained and certified.

At Jack Pixley Sweeps, our crews are trained in the proper setup of both ground and roof scaffolding. All of our repair technicians have been through Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training. Our scaffolding always meets safety standards. This ensures the safety of the crew, the safety of your family during the chimney repair process, and the structural stability of your chimney as well.

The scaffolding set up process

Setting up scaffolding is unique to every house. It depends on the location and height of the chimney, the repairs required, the pitch of the roof, and more. This can all influence how your scaffolding is constructed. Because scaffolding is customized for each home and job, setting up can take between two and four hours.

When scaffolding is set up, it is required to be “tied off” or anchored to the home, every 20 feet. Oftentimes, scaffolding can be tied off onto the chimney. However, some cases it may needs to be anchored to the home itself using anchor bolts. Likewise, roof scaffolding is also required to be anchored to the roof using anchor bolts. Once properly anchored, then height can be added to the scaffolding structure.

Trust Jack Pixley Sweeps to set up your scaffolding!

Being able to set up our own is a direct benefit to you. This eliminates the need to find a subcontractor to help with scaffolding, which then save you time and money! Because our repair crews set up and maintain their own scaffolding, homeowners can also rest assured that the only people coming to the job site are our employees.

If you are preparing to have some major chimney repairs such as, rebuilding a chimney from the ground up or adding a new chimney onto your home. You should definitely take scaffolding into considerations, as it contribute to the safety and structural stability of the project. It is extremely important to work with a trained and certified team to set up your scaffolding. For more information on our professional scaffolding set up services contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!

We Build Chimneys From The Ground Up!

Year after year, fireplaces are one of the most sought after home features. A survey by the National Association of Homebuilders found that fireplaces are the second most requested feature when shopping for a home; the same survey found that buyers are willing to spend as much as $1,400 more for a home with a fireplace than one without.We Build Chimneys From The Ground Up Image - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley

But what if your home doesn’t have a fireplace?

Whether you’re preparing to build your dream home, looking to add value to your current home, or have a chimney that can no longer be used due to structural problems, Jack Pixley Sweeps can make your fireplace dreams a reality!

Building a chimney from the ground up

Since 1977, Jack Pixley Sweeps has been one of the premier chimney companies in Minnesota. In addition to providing sweeping and maintenance services, our team of highly skilled masons can also build chimneys from the ground up.

There are three primary reasons why new chimney systems are constructed:

1. New construction. The easiest time to add a fireplace and chimney to a home is during construction. Adding fireplaces to a home’s plans before construction begins is the easiest way to ensure the ideal placement and construction of your new heating appliances.
2. Addition to existing home. While a bit trickier, it is still possible to add a chimney system on to an existing home. Building a new chimney allows you to work with our team to create the fireplace of your dreams.
3. Structural damage. Years of deterioration, natural disaster, fire, or settling can all cause serious structural damage to a chimney. If your chimney can no longer safely be used, rebuilding it from the ground up can allow you to once again enjoy your fireplace system.

Chimney construction is about more than just building a column of bricks or stone. As certified chimney professionals – as well as masons – we can handle all aspects of chimney construction, from the top of the flue to the bottom of the firebox. The construction process for a new chimney system includes masonry work, installing a chimney liner, building a chimney crown and installing the chimney cap, constructing the firebox or installing a fireplace insert, applying water repellent to the exterior masonry, and more.

Our team also owns and erects our own scaffolding. This helps homeowners save money and avoid the hassle of finding an outside scaffolding company.

Trust our European style chimney construction!

As old buildings decay and crumble, the chimney is often the last part standing; time-tested construction techniques made chimneys the strongest and longest-lasting portion of a building. At Jack Pixley Sweeps, our European style construction methods can extend the life of your chimney to nearly 100 years!

Evenings spent with family and friends in front of a roaring fire doesn’t have to wait until you move to a new home. For more information on turning your fireplace dreams into reality, contact the expert masons at Jack Pixley Sweeps today!

We Can Give Your Fireplace A Facelift!

After a long burning season, homeowners are preparing to close up their fireplaces for the spring and summer. With several months of non-use coming, now is the perfect time to make changes to your fireplace system. If you love the warmth your fireplace provides but dislike the look, it may be time for a fireplace facelift!

A facelift is an easy way to make over the look and feel of your fireplace – and home. Whether you want to make a minor change like replacing the mantle or a major overhaul of the entire fireplace, the following are four reasons you should invest in a fireplace facelift this summer.

1. Add value to your home

We Can Give Your Fireplace a Facelift - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley SweepsFireplaces are one of the most sought after home features in real estate. A survey by the National Association of Homebuilders found that buyers are willing to pay an additional $1,400 for a home with a fireplace; 46% of buyers in the same survey said looks were the most important aspect of a fireplace. A fireplace facelift can add value to your home by creating a modern, clean, updated focal point in any room.

2. Make a big – or a small – change

Remodeling your fireplace doesn’t have to be costly or messy. Because fireplace facelifts are completely personalized to your unique fireplace and style, it is possible to choose the perfect upgrades and updates for your home.

There are a number of small changes that can be done to update your fireplace without investing in a major construction process. Replacing stained or warped fireplace doors with more modern glass doors can improve aesthetics and efficiency. Likewise, installing a new mantle can create a fresh look for the whole room.

3. Show off your unique style

One of the major complaints of many homeowners is that their fireplace does not fit the aesthetics of the rest of the home. If your personal style is sleek and modern yet your fireplace is rustic, a facelift can help it better fit with the décor in the rest of your home. Redoing the façade of the fireplace can help you show off your unique style while still enjoying a functional heating appliance.

4. Upgrade your fireplace with an insert

If your current fireplace isn’t meeting your heating needs it may be time to upgrade to a fireplace insert. Fireplace inserts are efficient, cost effective heating appliances available in a variety of fuel sources. This makes installing a new insert an excellent option for those looking to change fuel sources; whether you want to burn gas, wood, or pellets, there is a fireplace insert for you!

Because they burn using closed system combustion, inserts are significantly more efficient than their open hearth counterparts. With little heat lost up the chimney during burning, many homeowners find that they use less fuel – and spend less money – while getting more heat in return.

Take advantage of the time your fireplace won’t be in use by investing in a fireplace facelift! For more information on the advantages of redoing your fireplace front, contact the experts at Jack Pixley Sweeps today!

Get Your Dryer Vent Cleaned For Spring!

Washing windows, scrubbing floor boards, airing out closets, or reorganizing garages are just a few of the most common spring cleaning tasks. However, there may be one area of your home you’ve been neglecting – the dryer vent!

Why do dryer vents need to be cleaned?

Get Your Dryer Vent Cleaned for Spring - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley SweepsEmptying the lint trap is one of the most basic parts of dryer maintenance. This simple step, however, may not be enough to prevent a dryer fire in your home. The same buildup removed from the lint trap after each load also accumulates in the vent over time.

While small amounts of lint in the dryer vent may not create any problems, progressively greater amounts of buildup over time can constrict airflow to the dryer. Lessened airflow forces the dryer to work harder, producing hotter and hotter air to get clothes dry. This super-heated air can cause the flammable lint in the vent to ignite and lead to a dryer fire.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, clogged dryer vents cause more than 15,000 house fires each year. These accidental fires – which are almost entirely preventable – cause more than $200 million in damages to personal property, as well as hundreds of injuries and even several tragic deaths.

How often should my dryer vents be cleaned?

Even if they know they need to have their dryer vents cleaned to prevent dryer fires, many homeowners do not know how often or when it should be done. Dryer performance is often the best indicator of whether or not the dryer vent needs to be cleaned. If you are experiencing one or more of these dryer performance problems, it may be time to have your vents cleaned.

– Clothes take longer than one cycle to fully dry
– The laundry room becomes noticeably warmer when the dryer is in use
– The dryer or the clothes directly from the dryer are excessively hot to the touch
– The lint trap collects excessive amounts of lint relative to the clothes in the dryer
– Lint or debris seen around exterior vents or ducts
– The interior of the dryer has a strong, musty odor that may transfer to clothes

Does my dryer vent need professional cleaning?

Just like your chimney, professional maintenance is always best when it comes to caring for your dryer vent. During a professional cleaning and inspection, a trained technician will use special tools and vacuums in order to remove and contain lint and debris from the venting system. This is different than the “blow out” cleanings done by other companies, which can leave piles of lint, dust, and debris covering your yard. An inspection of the dryer vent also ensures it is made of aluminum versus any other flammable materials.

At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we are proud to provide our customers with outstanding chimney and dryer vent services. For more information about preventing dryer fires or to schedule your next dryer vent cleaning, contact us today.

Install A Chimney Cap To Keep Animals Out

The arrival of spring brings warmer temperatures, plenty of green plant growth, and the birth of adorable baby animals. Unfortunately, many animals think chimneys are the perfect nesting spot to protect their new babies from predators and the elements.

While the presence of animals in the chimney may seem like a minor inconvenience – especially if you are not using your fireplace – it can lead to significant chimney damage or expose your family to disease. However, animal entry can be avoided with the use of a chimney cap.Chimney Caps Keep Animals Out Image - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley Sweeps

How animals get in

The primary way that animals get into the flue is through a damaged – or missing – chimney cap. Sitting at the top of the chimney, the chimney cap covers and protects the flue from the elements. The metal top and mesh or wire sides allow smoke and gas to safety vent from the fireplace while preventing water, debris, and animals from getting in.

Even minor damage to the chimney cap can create enough space for animals to gain entry to the chimney; small holes in the mesh sides, dents in the metal, or missing screws can all create opportunities for animal entry. While birds and small mammals may only need a few inches to squeeze through, raccoons have been known to claw and bite at weak areas in order to create large enough openings for them to fit through.

How animals damage your chimney

While a chimney might seem like the ideal nesting spot for an animal, the presence of wildlife in the flue can cause significant problems for your chimney system. The following are just a few of the ways animals cause damage to your chimney.

– Chimney cap: Animal entry can worsen damage to a chimney cap. In addition to leaving space for more animals to enter in the future, this can also allow water and debris into the flue year-round.
– Flue liner: Beaks, talons, and claws can all scratch or chip the flue liner as animals attempt to navigate the cramped, dark flue. Likewise, nesting materials may have a corrosive effect on the liner, sometimes requiring chimney relining.
– Debris: Animal houseguests in the chimney do not come empty-handed; nesting materials, food, and droppings can accumulate in the flue. In addition to increasing the risk of chimney fire, this can also exposure your family to bacteria, bugs, and other diseases.

How to keep animals out

The most effective way to keep animals out of your chimney is through the use of a chimney cap. Good chimney caps are made of quality materials, correctly sized and fitted to your chimney, and have been professionally installed. In addition to preventing animal entry, chimney caps can also keep moisture and debris out of the flue; this protects your chimney system year round and helps prevent damage and deterioration.

Don’t let animal entry affect your chimney system this spring. Instead, have a new chimney cap installed to prevent birds, raccoons, and other animals from gaining entry to your home. For more information on the dangers of animals in the flue or to have a new chimney cap installed on your fireplace system, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today.

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