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Preventative Maintenance For Spring

Preventative Chimney Sweeping Image - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley SweepsWhile the fall burning season may have just started, it’s never too early to start thinking about spring. If you haven’t had your chimney swept or inspected this season, now may be the best time to have it done; however, now is also an excellent time to have new chimney caps installed. Not only will they protect your chimney this winter, but they can keep animals out when spring arrives.

The importance of preventative maintenance

Fireplaces and chimneys are built to last, but they need regular cleanings and inspections in order to burn safely and efficiently. By having regular preventative maintenance performed, you can ensure your fireplace will burn safely for years to come.

One of the most common – and most important – parts of fireplace maintenance is an annual chimney sweeping. The Chimney Safety Institute of America  recommends that all homes should have their chimneys swept at least once per year, regardless of how often you use your fireplace. Regular chimney sweepings remove creosote, a highly flammable byproduct of fuel burning fires that accumulates in the chimney over time. Likewise, regular sweepings ensure there are no other blockages in the chimney that prevent proper drafting or create a fire hazard.

Chimney inspections are another important part of fireplace maintenance. An inspection can help identify minor areas of damage before they turn into more serious deterioration. This is especially important for areas of the chimney that are not easily accessible or cannot be seen from street level. Chimney caps are one fireplace component that benefit from being inspected, as their damage may otherwise go unnoticed.

Chimney caps protect your fireplace system year round!

Chimney caps, sometimes known as spark arrestors or rain guards, are an important part of your chimney system; sitting at the top of the chimney, these caps have metal tops and mesh or wires sides that keep animals, debris, and moisture out while letting smoke safely draft. During the busy burning season, chimney caps protect your fireplace by keeping rain, sleet, and snow out, as well as keeping sparks from flying onto the roof or nearby bushes and trees. This protects your home – and your neighbors – from roof fires when the fireplace is in use.

Chimney caps continue to protect your home into the spring. Raccoons are especially fond of nesting in chimneys during the early spring; often taking up residence on the fireplace’s smoke shelf, they can be difficult to remove and can cause damage to your chimney system. A well installed, sturdy chimney cap cannot be pulled up by handy paws and keeps raccoons and other animals out.

Maintaining your fireplace and chimney is a year round job; make sure your system is ready for next spring by having your chimney cap inspected. If you need a new chimney cap, trust the experts at Jack Pixley Sweeps to install a cap that will keep raccoons – along with moisture and debris – out of your chimney. Contact us today to learn more about this preventative chimney maintenance.

Have You Had Your Chimney Swept This Year?

Chimney Swept This Year Image - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley SweepsWhile fall may not start until September 22, cooler temperatures are already starting to arrive. This year, make sure your fireplace is ready to go when the first cold snap hits by having your chimney swept now! It’s not too late to have your chimney swept for the year; annual maintenance is an important part of keeping your chimney burning efficiently, and now may be the perfect time to have it swept.

The importance of annual chimney sweepings

Your fireplace needs attention more than just when you’re using it – or when it isn’t working properly. Regular preventative maintenance can help lengthen the lifespan of your chimney system while also keeping your fireplace burning safely and efficiently. One of the most important – and most well-known – annual maintenance items homeowners can have done is a chimney sweeping.

During the sweeping, the chimney sweep will use brushes, vacuums, and other tools to remove soot, ash, and creosote from the firebox and flue. The removal of creosote is one of the most important parts of the chimney sweeping; creosote is highly flammable, and the accidental ignition of creosote buildup in the chimney is the leading cause of chimney fires.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, all chimneys – no matter how often they are used – should be swept at least once per year. This follows the National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 which says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” Whether you use your fireplace a few times each season or are burning in it every day, maintenance needs to be done at least once per year. If you use your fireplace as a primary heating source in your home, it may need to be swept more often.

Don’t forget a chimney inspection!

In addition to your chimney sweeping, a chimney inspection can be another important part of annual maintenance.

“A chimney inspection is like an annual dental check-up,” says Ashley Eldridge, Director of Education for the CSIA. “It’s preventative maintenance that helps minimize potential hazards.”

During a chimney inspection, the chimney sweep will evaluate all accessible interior and exterior portions of the fireplace and chimney. Doing this can help identify any areas of damage or deterioration, often long before the fireplace has begun experiencing performance problem. This allows problem areas to be repaired sooner, saving you money on major repairs in the future.

Chimney inspections can also be used as a diagnostic tool. If you are experiencing a fireplace performance problem such as drafting issues, ongoing leaks, or repeated animal entry, a chimney inspection can help identify the root cause of the problem.

Whether you use your fireplace once per year or every day, a regular annual chimney sweeping is the best way to protect the longevity of your chimney system. To schedule your next chimney sweeping, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!

Minnesota State Fair Special

Minnesota State Fair Special Image - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley SweepsThe Minnesota State Fair may be over, but there is still time to take advantage of our special pricing! For a limited time, we are offering a State Fair Special on both chimney sweepings with inspections and gas fireplace and insert maintenance. Take advantage of this special pricing until it ends on September 16!

Minnesota State Fair Special Details

We are currently offering special State Fair pricing to our customers on select services. Now through September 16, save $40 per sweep with inspection; all chimney sweepings and inspections are carried out by a CSIA certified chimney sweep.

In addition to services for your wood burning fireplace, we also have special pricing on gas fireplace and insert services. Customers can save $20 off their gas fireplace and insert maintenance services. In order to take advantage of these special fall savings, customers must mention the website coupon.

Chimney sweepings and inspections

While we offer a wide range of chimney services, one of the best things you can do for your fireplace system is to have it swept and inspected every year. Regular yearly chimney sweepings can keep your fireplace burning safely and efficiently; by removing flammable creosote buildup from the flue we can significantly reduce the risk of accidental chimney fire.

In addition to having your chimney swept, an inspection can help identify any areas of damage or deterioration. “A chimney inspection is like an annual dental check-up,” says Ashley Eldridge, Director of Education for the CSIA. “It’s preventative maintenance that helps minimize potential hazards.”

At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we are one of the few companies in the area that provides closed circuit camera inspections. This level of inspection helps uncover any hidden damage within the chimney and can be an important diagnostic tool when uncovering the cause of long term chimney issues such as leaks or drafting problems.

Gas fireplace and insert maintenance

Gas fireplaces and inserts need maintenance, too! While these heating appliances may not require you to shovel ashes after every use, they still need to be regularly cleaned and inspected. Professional care is especially needed for gas fireplaces; due to the delicate and exact connections needed by the gas lines, accidentally shifting a burning as little as half an inch can cause major performance problems.

Fireplace inserts also need regular upkeep and maintenance. The kind of fuel source your insert uses will impact the kind of preventative care it needs. While the flue of gas inserts need to be inspected for signs of acidic condensation, wood burning inserts need to be checked for the same creosote buildup as traditional masonry fireplaces.

Don’t put off your chimney maintenance; schedule before September 16th and take advantage about our state fair pricing! For more information on our State Fair Special, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today – and don’t forget to mention our online coupon! We are proud to serve our friends and neighbors in the Twin Cities and are dedicated to being “the name you can trust!”

We Fix Leaky Chimneys

While a little water in your fireplace might seem like only a minor inconvenience, it can spell major trouble for your chimney system. Whether it’s a few droplets, a large puddle, or even a musty smell, the presence of water in your fireplace and chimney can cause damage to many different chimney components.

Causes of leaky chimneys

Because chimneys are complex structures with a number of different components, there is no one guaranteed cause of a leaky chimney. However, there are several common ways that water can get in; below are four of the most common causes of chimney leaks.

  • Chimney cap: Chimney caps are metal covers that protect the top of the flue and keep animals, debris, and moisture out of the chimney. If a chimney cap is installed incorrectly, does not fit properly, or is damaged, water can easily enter the flue and chimney.
  • Chimney crown: The chimney crown is the mortar slab that covers and seals the top of the chimney. Well-built chimney crowns are typically made of concrete or other stone to prevent the chips and cracks associated with long term exposure to the elements. Likewise, a good chimney crown should have overhangs and be slightly sloped in order to prevent water from pooling or draining directly onto the masonry of the chimney.
  • Damaged masonry: Damage caused by water can cause bricks to crack and spall; not only does this let additional water into the fireplace system, but it can also affect the structural stability of the chimney structure.We Fix Leaky Chimneys - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley Sweeps
  • Flashing: Chimney flashing are the layered metal strips that seal the joint between the roof and the chimney structure. Flashing can lose its watertight seal due to exposure to the elements, incorrect installation, damage from storms, or if changes to the roof line are made.

Repairing a leaky chimney

The first step to fixing a leaky chimney is to identify and repair the underlying cause of the leak. A chimney inspection done by a certified chimney sweep is often the best way to uncover where water is getting into the chimney system; by fixing how the water is getting in first, you can avoid needing the same chimney repairs because of water damage again and again.

In addition to repairing your leaky chimney, preventative maintenance can be done to protect your chimney against water damage. Waterproofing is one of the best ways to protect your masonry against water entry. Our professional-grade SaverSystems sealants are specially designed to work on masonry; these sealants allow the masonry to retain its semi-porous nature, allowing gasses to pass through but preventing moisture from getting in. Water repellent sealants can even be used if your masonry already has areas of water damage!

If you have a leaky chimney, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible. Contact the experts at Jack Pixley Sweeps today for more information on how we can fix your leaky chimney!

Schedule Now To Save Money On Your Chimney Sweep And Inspection

After a long winter of use, your fireplace and chimney are ready for some TLC! To avoid the spring rush, schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection now; customers who book March 31st can save $40 on chimney sweepings and inspections or $10 on gas fireplace maintenance or dryer vent cleaning!

The importance of annual maintenanceSchedule Now to Save Money - Minneapolis, MN - Jack Pixley Sweeps-w800-h800

When it comes to keeping your fireplace operating safely and efficiently, there are few things as important as having a yearly chimney sweep and inspection. This kind of annual maintenance ensures that your chimney and fireplace are in good condition and free from areas of damage or deterioration.

During a chimney sweeping, our certified technicians will remove the buildup of ash, soot, and creosote in your chimney and flue. Chimney sweepings are important in that they can help your fireplace burn more efficiently as well as greatly reduce the risk for accidental chimney fire. By having your chimney swept annually by a certified chimney sweep you can be sure that your fireplace is operating safely and efficiently throughout the rest of the year.

Chimney inspections are another important part of your chimney’s annual maintenance plan. While a chimney sweeping removes any buildup in the chimney or flue, an inspection involves looking at the interior and exterior components of your fireplace and chimney for any signs of damage or deterioration. Oftentimes, chimney inspections are able to spot minor issues before they turn into major – and costly – problems.

The National Fire Protection Association has standardized three levels of chimney inspections; your certified chimney technician can help determine what level of inspection your home requires. Most chimneys only require the basic Level 1 inspection in which the accessible interior and exterior fireplace and chimney are inspected. If you are experiencing usage issues, have installed a new fireplace, or have had chimney or fireplace damage, a more in-depth Level 2 or Level 3 inspection may be recommended.

Save money this spring!

As a “thank you” to our customers, we are happy to offer our annual promotion and discounts. Act before March 31st to maximize your savings with $40 off your chimney sweeping and inspection! Even if you don’t have a wood burning fireplace, you can still receive a $10 discount on gas fireplace maintenance or a $10 discount on dryer vent cleaning services!

There are a number of benefits to booking your chimney sweep and inspection in the spring. First, spring chimney service lets you avoid the busy season – and scheduling frustrations – of waiting until the fall. Next, a cleaning and inspection after the long burning season can identify any potential fireplace problems or damage that has occurred, allowing them to be quickly repaired to prevent further deterioration. Lastly, the spring is a perfect time to have spark arrestors or netting installed around your chimney cap to keep birds and small mammals out during the nesting season!

Booking y our chimney sweeping and inspection now can get your fireplace ready for spring – and help save you money on services. Contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today for more information on our current promotion or to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection!

Have Your Chimney Inspected For Snow And Ice Damage

During the winter, our fireplaces work hard to keep us warm and comfortable no matter what the weather outside is like. Unfortunately, the same snow and ice that our homes protect us from can have a serious negative impact on your chimney system.

As temperatures begin to rise again and spring is finally on the horizon, now is a great time to have your chimney inspected for signs of damage from this winter’s snow and ice. Even if your chimney has been damaged, identifying and repairing the damage as soon as possible can minimize the effects of the deterioration and keep your chimney in peak condition.

How winter weather damages your chimneyHave Your Chimney Inspected For Snow And Ice Damage - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley Sweeps

While bricks are mortar are tough building materials that are made to stand up against the elements, many homeowners do not realize that bricks are actually permeable. This means that small amounts of water from rain, ice, and snow can be absorbed by the masonry. And while undamaged bricks may only absorb a droplet or two at any time, masonry that has cracks, holes, or is otherwise deteriorating is at significantly higher risk of water damage.

One of the most common ways masonry is damaged during the winter is by the freeze thaw process. As outside temperatures drop, the water absorbed into the brick freezes and expands; as the water melts, it leaves behind a larger hole or crack through which even more water is absorbed. The freeze thaw process can cause bricks to crack and spall in as little as one year depending on the level of damage.

Preventing snow and ice damage

Living in Minnesota, it is inevitable that our chimneys will be exposed to snow and ice every winter. Because of this, it is important to have preventative maintenance done to help protect your chimney against winter water damage.

Having your chimney professionally waterproofed is often the most effective way to prevent water damage all year long from ice, snow, and rain. Our professional-grade sealants produced by SaverSystems are specifically designed for use on masonry; these permeable barriers allow gas and smoke to pass through the bricks and mortar safely while still keeping water out. Even if your chimney is already showing signs of masonry damage such as cracking or spalling, applying a waterproof sealant can help slow the progression of damage and protect the rest of your chimney.

The importance of a chimney inspection

Whether you use your fireplace every day during the winter or simply use it for the occasional special occasion, an annual chimney inspection is one of the most important things you can do for your chimney in terms of preventative maintenance. Chimney inspections allow problems or areas of deterioration to be identified early, long before they turn into serious damage. This kind of preventative maintenance not only protects your chimney, but can also help save you money; a chimney inspection and minor repairs is significantly less expensive than major fireplace or chimney reconstruction.

Our harsh winter weather here around Minneapolis can be particularly hard on chimneys. Contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today for more information on preventing snow and ice damage and to schedule your next chimney inspection.