Review Our Business
Schedule an appointment TODAY! 763-422-0481

Jack Pixley Sweeps' Blog

Animals In Your Chimney? We Have Animal Removal Services

Spring and summer are the nesting season for many animals. While you may enjoy seeing birds nests in your trees or a rabbit den in the backyard, there is one place you do not want animals to nest – in your chimney.

Many birds and small mammals view a chimney as the perfect place to nest and protect their young. While the chimney is a cool, dark, protected, and enclosed space, it can be dangerous and difficult to navigate for many animals. Likewise, animal entry can cause significant damage to your chimney system. Because of this, it is important to have animals removed as soon as possible.Animals In Your Chimney Image - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley Sweeps

How Animals Get In

The most common ways for animals to enter a chimney is through a damaged chimney cap. Birds and small mammals can fit through holes and gaps just a few inches wide; raccoons have been known to use their claws and teeth to tear at the chimney cap in order to create a large enough hole for them to fit through.

The Dangers Of Animals In The Chimney

The presence of animals in the chimney can cause damage to your fireplace system and affect future burning performance. One of the primary ways animals cause damage is to the chimney liner. In addition to scratching it with their claws, teeth, and beaks, nesting materials can also have a corrosive and weakening effect on the liner.

Nesting materials, discarded food, and animal droppings can also create chimney blockages. When dry, these materials can be extremely flammable, increasing the risk of chimney fire if they ignite. The presence of animals can also cause strong odors as well as expose your family to bugs, parasites, or bacteria.

Getting Animals Out

If you have animals in your chimney, it is important have them professionally removed as soon as possible. Working with a chimney company to have the animals removed ensures that not only will the animals and their nesting materials be safely removed, but that minimal additional damage will be done to your chimney.

Not all animals can be immediately removed; chimney swifts and other species of migratory birds are protected by federal law. Removing protected migratory bird nests can come with a hefty fine. Luckily, the nesting cycle for chimney swifts is relatively short; most hatchlings have left the nest in around 6 weeks, allowing homeowners to remove the nests and repair their point of entry after.

Preventing Animal Entry

Once the animals have been removed, it is important to take the steps to keep them from re-entering your chimney. One of the best ways to do this is by finding and securing their point of entry. Installing a new chimney cap, a stainless steel screen, or a rain cover can all help protect against animal reentry.

While it may be fun to spot baby animals out and about in nature, the last place we want to see them is in our chimneys. To protect your chimney against animal entry – or to have animals safely removed – contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!

The Importance Of A Quality Chimney Crown

Chimney systems are deceptively simple. For example, a simple stone column actually consists of several different components. They all need care and maintenance in order to keep your fireplace burning safely and efficiently. One of the most important – yet often ignored – chimney components is the chimney crown.

What is a chimney crown?

The Importance of a Quality Chimney Crown - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley SweepsThe chimney crown is the concrete or masonry slab that sits on top of the chimney structure, sealing around the flue. Quality chimney crowns slope gently down and away from the flue to prevent a buildup of moisture on top of the chimney crown. This helps prevent chimney leaks and water entering the chimney system.

What causes chimney crown damage?

Improper installation or construction often causes chimney crown damage. Because of their location and exposure to moisture and the elements, it is extremely important that chimney crowns are built using quality construction practices and materials. If not, the crown can deteriorate prematurely.

While bricks and mortar are ideal building materials for the chimney structure, they are unsuited for use in a chimney crown. Mortar-based mixes are significantly more susceptible to water damage; moisture, sun exposure, and changing temperatures can cause mortar-based crowns to crack and age.

Crowns built without an adequate slope deteriorate prematurely. When the chimney crown is too flat, moisture from rain, sleet, snow, and other sources can pool on top of the chimney instead of running off onto the roof. Over time, this can cause cracks and holes to form in the chimney crown.

Temperature disparity can also cause damage to the chimney crown. During the winter, exposure to cooler air temperatures causes the crown to become cold. However, when the fireplace is in use the flue can become extremely hot as it vents; the disparity in temperature between the flue and the chimney crown can cause the stone to expand and contract, opening it up to water damage.

Was my chimney crown properly built?

Few homeowners spend a significant amount of time on their roof or looking at their chimney. Therefore, it can be difficult to spot damage or deterioration to the chimney crown. The best way to evaluate the condition of your chimney crown is through a thorough chimney inspection by a certified professional.

When inspecting a chimney crown, the sweep will check to see what material the crown is made of. Concrete, stone, or even metal make up durable chimney crowns. The crown should be a single, solid piece to avoid water seeping into cracks or joints.

The edges of the chimney crown should also extend beyond the sides of the chimney. This overhang, called a kerf, keeps water from flowing directly onto the sides of the chimney. If water damage has begun to occur, a waterproof sealant can be applied to the chimney crown to prevent further damage.

A quality chimney crown can protect and extend the life of your fireplace system. For more information on chimney crowns or to schedule an appointment, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today.

Give Chimney Swifts A Proper Home

During the spring and summer, nesting birds can be found in tree tops, under the eaves of roof, and more. As much as you may enjoy listening to bird songs and chirps or watching baby birds grow from eggs and leave the nest, there is one place you do not want birds to take up residence – in your chimney.

While birds in your chimney may seem like just a nuisance, they can cause a surprising amount of damage. Because of this, it is recommended to have birds and bird nests safely and humanely removed as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there are several species of migratory birds, including chimney swifts, that are protected by federal law and cannot be removed.Give Chimney Swifts a Proper Home Image - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley

Recognizing chimney swifts

Chimney swifts are small, grey and brown migratory birds that can be found nesting throughout the Midwest during the spring and summer. While these birds once preferred hollow trees to nest in, urbanization caused them to adapt and begin nesting in chimneys. Swifts are easily recognizable with small, cigar shaped bodies, a distinctive call, and unique, jerky flight patterns.

How swifts get into your chimney

Chimney swifts are easily access the flue through damaged chimney caps. Because they are so small, they can squeeze through holes or gaps as small as just a few inches. Once inside the chimney, swifts built their nests vertically against the walls of the flue. In addition to damaging the flue and the chimney liner, nesting materials can create blockages that prevent proper drafting and droppings can cause damage throughout the chimney system.

Give chimney swifts a proper home!

Whether you have had swifts in your chimney in the past or simply want to help provide safe nesting grounds for these migratory birds, it is easy to create a proper home for chimney swifts!

Because they prefer tall, narrow, enclosed spaces for nesting, building a nesting space for chimney swifts is as easy as building a box. Using rough plywood, construct a narrow box approximately 12 feet high, with a 1 square foot opening near the top. This gives chimney swifts an alternative nesting site, keeping them safe – and hopefully out of your chimney.

I think I have chimney swifts – now what?

If you have swifts in your chimney, there is little that can be done; because they are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, they cannot be removed until the nesting cycle is complete. Luckily, this is relatively short and hatchlings should leave the nest within 6 weeks.

Once the hatchlings have left the nest, repairs can be made to the chimney. A certified chimney sweep can help remove the nest and other debris from the chimney; they can also identify how the swifts got in and repair the point of entry to prevent them from coming back in the future.

Chimney swifts may wreak havoc on our chimney systems, but it is still important to care for these migratory birds. Building an alternate home for chimney swifts to nest in can allow you to enjoy these unique birds – but not at the expense of your chimney. For more information on preventing chimney swift entry in your home, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!

We Can Clean Up Your Gutters!

At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we are committed to helping our friends and neighbors in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area to feel safe in their homes. In addition to our wide variety of chimney services and dryer vent cleaning, did you know we also offer services to clean your gutters?

The importance of gutter cleaning

We Can Clean Up Your Gutters - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley SweepsGutters serve an important purpose for our homes. They carry rain water away from the roof, siding, and foundation to help safely drain water away from the house. Without gutters – or having clogged gutters– can cause water to accumulate around a home’s foundation. This cause water damage both inside and outside your home, which lead to erosion of your landscaping.

How often should my gutters be cleaned?

Experts recommend getting your gutters cleaned twice a year: once in the late spring or early summer after the seed pods have fallen, and once in late fall or early winter once all the leaves have fallen. Cleaning gutters twice a year ensures that there is never a chance for buildup to cause clogged gutters and prevent the flow of rain water, snow, or other debris.

If your home is fully surrounded by trees, we recommend getting your gutters cleaned more than twice a year. This is especially important during the fall. If a significant amount of leaves fall on your roof, it is especially beneficial to invest in additional gutter cleaning services.

Benefits of professional gutter cleaning

Many homeowners strongly dislike getting their gutter cleaned, but they still prefer to do it themselves. However, there are a number of benefits of getting your gutters professionally cleaned.

The danger of falling from a ladder during cleaning is a huge reason to hire professionals. According to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission, falling from ladders cause more than 240,000 Americans to get sent to the emergency room every year. Uneven ground or gardens around a home or an unstable ladder can all make this a very dangerous task.

Professional gutter cleaning also ensure all debris is completely removed from your gutters. A clean and empty gutter protects your home’s foundation, siding, and roof from water invasion. Professionals can easily spot damage with your gutters that a homeowner usually does not notice. And we have the knowledge and expertise to get your gutters safe and functional.

Let our professionals clean your gutters

At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we are proud to provide a wide variety of services to help our customers and their homes to be safe. Whether your need your chimney swept, dryer vent inspected, or gutters cleaned, contact us today to schedule your next appointment.

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!

Recent Posts

Find Posts About