Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps Explains How Cold Weather Damages the Chimney

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN – Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps (http://www.mplsblueskychimneysweeps.com/), in Eden Prairie, is explaining to the public how cold weather can damage chimneys and why homeowners should get their chimneys inspected during and after the winter months.

Just like how potholes show up in roads during the winter, chimneys can get cracks and holes when the temperature drops below freezing, which can cause spalling damage. When water gets trapped in the bricks and mortar, it will freeze when the temperature drops below freezing, causing it to expand. Then, when the ice thaws, cracks can occur and can cause parts of the chimney to break – compromising the structure of the chimney.

An effective way to prevent water from getting into your chimney is to have a chimney cap installed. Another option is to waterproof the chimney, which creates a barrier between water, rain and melted snow and the chimney. Both options help to prevent damage from melted snow and help keep the fireplace safe to use during winter.

Dave Lambert, the owner of Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps, mentioned: “The National Fire Protection Association recommends that your chimney should be inspected at least once a year to meet safety and maintenance standards and to check for any sooty deposit buildup or defects that makes the chimney unsafe. If you’re in doubt or simply haven’t had your chimney checked in a while, call Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps!”

A past client of Blue Sky said: “The crew showed up as expected and quickly went to work tearing off the old cap and a few layers of flagstone to replace the cracked flues. They replaced the flues, rebuilt the chimney poured a new cap and waterproofed the whole chimney… The workmanship is great and cleanup after the job was perfect.”

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps is family owned and operated, and has over 20 years of experience in the chimney repair and cleaning field, and all of their masons and sweeps are licensed and insured. They are members of the National Chimney Sweeps Guild and are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Blue Sky offers chimney cleaning in Minneapolis and the metro area. For more information on chimney services from Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps, visit http://www.mplsblueskychimneysweeps.com, or call 952-944-1744.

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps Advises Homeowners to Get Fireplaces and Chimneys Cleaned and Inspected During the Winter

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN – Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps (http://www.mplsblueskychimneysweeps.com/), in Eden Prairie, is advising homeowners to get their chimneys inspected during the winter months to prevent damage and to keep their homes safe.

The primary cause of chimney deterioration during the winter months is water damage.  Bricks that are cracked or chipped can absorb water from snow and rain, which then freezes as the temperatures drop.  The water in the brick expands, creating bigger cracks and holes.  As the water melts, more water can enter the brick.  This freeze and thaw process can cause bricks to crumble and fall away from the chimney.

Homeowners that take the necessary precautions to protect their chimney will prevent costly repairs and keep their house and family safe.  Get your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected annually to avoid structural issues and protect the integrity of your chimney.

Dave Lambert, the owner of Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps, mentioned: “Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps will do a comprehensive safety and maintenance inspection of your fireplace and chimney. We’ll provide you with a full inspection report and go over what we find with you and answer all your questions and give you all your options. We have very economical prices and we fully warranty all our work.”

A past client of Blue Sky stated: “I called Blue Sky and they came out and did a professional inspection of my chimney… I was shown how to use my fireplace and am looking forward to using it this winter! Very good company!”

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps is family owned and operated, and has over 20 years of experience in the chimney repair and cleaning field, and all of their masons and sweeps are licensed and insured. They are members of the National Chimney Sweeps Guild and are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Blue Sky offers chimney cleaning in Minneapolis and the metro area. For more information on chimney services from Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps, visit http://www.mplsblueskychimneysweeps.com, or call 952-944-1744.

BigTreeSupply.com: Should You Keep Outdoor Tree Lights on Year-Round?

By Nancy Penrose

With the holidays now past, the one thing we tend to postpone is taking down the lights from outdoor trees. For some, they love how it makes their home feel warm and magical during the winter months. For others, they don’t want to undo all the hard work it took to put the lights up for a while, which brings us to the question: should you keep outdoor tree lights on year-round? And if so, how to do it safely.

Can You Keep Outdoor Tree Lights on All Year?

The quick answer is: you can leave your outdoor lights on your trees year-round if you want to, although we suggest removing outdoor tree lights around the beginning of Spring. Whether you decide to keep them up for four months or 12, it is important to know how to safely keep your lights on your outdoor trees. Here are our tips:

1. Use LED lights. They can withstand extreme weather shifts and won’t get damaged by too much sun or rain. Plus, they’re energy efficient, which will be very beneficial for yearlong use.
2. Only use lights that are made for outdoor use because they are designed to resist cold and wet weather.
3. Avoid wrapping lights around young trees. Younger trees don’t have as much strength compared to an older tree to carry the weight of holiday decorations.
4. It’s best not to wrap trees tightly with lights, especially if they’re still growing. As trees grow, the string lights can become very tight around the trunk and branches, which can cause damage.

Those are some of our tips! If you have any questions, feel free to contact Big Trees at (866) 313-2333 and we would be happy to answer them for you.

Nancy Penrose is owner of Big Trees Inc. (http://www.bigtreesupply.com), (tree nursery Snohomish, WA), one of the largest Seattle tree nurseries, specializing in large trees for sale and transplant tree service. Learn more about tree preservation at http://bigtreesupply.com/tree-care-maintenance/ and for more tips on tree care or installation go to privacytree.net. See our video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6vVhNW1XJI and connect with us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Big-Trees-Inc/193731105108.

Refacciones sísmicas de edificios de hormigón antiguos que comienzan ahora en Los Ángeles

concrete retrofits los angelesLos Ángeles no está jugando con la seguridad de los terremotos.

A principios de este año, Los Ángeles requirió la actualización de todas las estructuras de historias blandas en todo el condado, y ahora el Departamento de Construcción y Seguridad está enviando “avisos de cumplimiento” a los propietarios de edificios antiguos de concreto en toda el área.

La ordenanza requiere la modificación de todas las construcciones de concreto reforzado o edificios que solicitaron un permiso de construcción antes del 13 de enero de 1977 (excluyendo casas unifamiliares y dúplex independientes).

Según la ordenanza, los propietarios de estructuras vulnerables tendrán tres años para poner en marcha la pelota. Es decir, deberán presentar pruebas de que las estructuras cumplen con los estándares del Departamento de Construcción y Seguridad, sus arreglos de modificación o los planes para la demolición.

Después de que los propietarios hayan enviado sus planes, tendrán 25 años a partir de la fecha de su ordenanza para completar su modificación o demolición.

Se estima que 1,200 estructuras de concreto en todo Los Ángeles necesitarán modificaciones sísmicas, y cuando se suma ese número al número de edificios de madera vulnerables en el área, esa cifra se eleva a 15,000 estructuras que necesitan modernizaciones sísmicas.

Si bien los propietarios de edificios de hormigón tienen 25 años para completar este proceso, el alcalde Eric Garcetti instó a los propietarios a que modernicen estas estructuras tan pronto como sea posible, después de los terremotos devastadores en México.

“Cualquier propietario de edificio que piense que debería sentarse y relajarse durante los próximos 20 años debería ver ese video”, dijo Garcetti en un comunicado después de los terremotos, en referencia a un video de un edificio que se derrumba al suelo por el temblor. “Y descubramos la manera de ponernos a trabajar ahora”.

“¿Qué es más costoso, la pérdida de toda su propiedad, menos la pérdida de vidas, o la inversión para asegurarse de que ningún terremoto de ese tamaño destruirá su edificio o matará a nadie?”, Preguntó.

Y con señales de que un terremoto masivo está en el futuro cercano de California, Garcetti se siente “incómodo” con el mandato de 25 años.

“Ver esas horribles imágenes y ver la trágica consecuencia me recordó nuestra responsabilidad número 1 de salvar vidas y no solo tratar de calcular una cantidad en dólares de ‘demasiado’ para salvar una vida”, continuó. “Dicho esto, también me inquieta pensar en los 25 años: elegimos el compromiso de … poner un mandato que es muy fuerte, y fuimos muy flexibles con respecto a la línea de tiempo”.

Ahora, más que nunca, es importante ser proactivo en la preparación y seguridad de los terremotos.

Julian De La Torre es un experto en la inspección de la fundación de Los Ángeles, contratistas de cimientos y reparación de cimientos. La compañía de Julian, Julian Construction, ha inspeccionado más de 15,000 estructuras, trabajando con firmas de ingeniería y departamentos locales de construcción y seguridad. La compañía ha realizado más reparaciones de cimientos en Los Ángeles que ninguna otra compañía en el área en los últimos cinco años.

Does Your Property Have Foundation Problems?

foundation problems

As a homeowner, it’s important to address any issues with your home’s foundation right away.

Often, when foundation problems are left unchecked, a structure can experience foundation failure, in addition to other costly repairs. But, if you know the signs, you have a better chance of protecting yourself and your home from serious foundation damage.

Here are 5 signs your foundation needs attention:

  1. You can see cracked, crumbling or compromised areas of your home’s foundation: When inspecting your property for maintenance or repair, keep an eye out for any signs of structural damage. This can include hairline fractures or cracks (vertical, horizontal or zigzag lines) near or around entryways like doors and windows or in the walls and flooring, sloping floors or walls, breaks or gaps in your concrete or brick foundations and moisture damage (like water pockets and signs of mold). When inspecting your home for this type of damage, make sure you’re looking both inside and outside the property.
  2. You’ve noticed extensive water damage: Poor drainage can be extremely damaging to a home, and is the number one cause of structural failure. When the soil near or around the home becomes overly saturated it will expand. Then, when it dries, the soil contracts. This process can cause the soil to shift, which puts added pressure on the property’s foundation. Keep an eye out for areas that are abnormally wet (when there has been little wet weather) and areas that are overly dry (when there has been rain, or it has been watered). If you notice any signs of water damage, it’s important to have your home inspected by a foundation specialist as soon as possible.
  3. Your home has sloping floors or distorted ceilings: Even though the issue may lie in your home’s foundation, these problems can manifest in other areas of the property like the second story, the home’s ceilings and its walls. Using a level tool, you can check to see if the home’s flooring is even. If it looks like there are slopes, you should get your foundation professionally inspected.
  4. You’ve noticed cracks or buckling walls: Overtime, every home’s foundation will begin to show signs of settlement. But, when settlement becomes excessive, your home’s foundation is more likely to experience failure. You can avoid any serious damage by inspecting your home for cracks or shifting structures, crumbling and visible decay, and any water damage like moisture or mold. Make sure your checking all corners, pillars, joints, moldings and chimneys during your inspection.
  5. Your doors and windows stick or do not fit like they used to: When you notice issues in your entryways like doors and windows – whether it’s sticking or improper fit – you’re more likely to catch any foundation issues early, which will keep repair costs down. All doors and windows should fit snugly in place, not too loose or too tight.

The best way to maintain the value of your home, and ensure that you and your loved ones are safe in the event of a large natural disaster like an earthquake, it’s important to be proactive about foundation repair.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

Seismic Retrofits of Older Concrete Buildings Starting Now in Los Angeles

concrete retrofits los angeles

Los Angeles isn’t messing around about earthquake safety.

Earlier this year, Los Angeles required the retrofit of all soft story structures throughout the county, and now the Department of Building and Safety is sending “compliance notices” to owners of older concrete buildings throughout the area.

The Mandatory Earthquake Hazard Reduction in Existing Non-Ductile Concrete Buildings ordinance first passed in 2015. The measure is requiring the retrofit of all reinforced concrete construction or buildings that applied for a construction permit before January 13, 1977 (excluding detached single homes and duplexes).

Under the ordinance, owners of vulnerable structures will have three years to get the ball rolling. Meaning, they’ll need to submit either proof that the structures are up to the Department of Building and Safety’s standards, their retrofit arrangements, or plans for demolition.

After owners have submitted their plans, they’ll have 25 years from the date of their ordinance to complete their retrofit or demolition.

It’s estimated that 1,200 concrete structures throughout Los Angeles will need seismic retrofits, and when that number is added into the number of vulnerable wooden buildings in the area, that figure rises to 15,000 structures in need of seismic retrofits.

While concrete building owners do have 25 years to complete this process, Mayor Eric Garcetti urged owners to get these structures retrofitted as soon as possible, after Mexico’s devastating earthquakes.

“Any building owner who thinks they should sit back and relax for the next 20 years should view that video,” Garcetti said in a statement after the earthquakes, referring to a video of a building collapsing to the ground from the shaking. “And let’s figure out a way to get to work now.”

“What’s more expensive, the loss of your entire property – let alone the loss of lives – or the investment in making sure that no earthquake of that size will destroy your building or kill anyone?” he asked.

And with signs that a massive earthquake is in California’s very near future, Garcetti feels “uneasy” about the 25 year mandate.

“Looking at those horrific images and seeing the tragic consequence reminded me of our No. 1 responsibility to save lives and not just try to calculate a dollar amount of, ‘too much,’ to save a life,” he continued. “That said, it also makes me uneasy thinking of the 25 years – we picked the compromise of … putting a mandate that’s very strong, and we were very flexible about the timeline.”

Now, more than ever, it’s important to be proactive about earthquake preparation and safety.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

¿Su propiedad tiene problemas de base?

foundation problemsComo propietario de una casa, es importante abordar cualquier problema con la base de su hogar de inmediato.

A menudo, cuando los problemas de la cimentación no se controlan, una estructura puede experimentar fallas en la cimentación, además de otras reparaciones costosas. Pero, si conoce las señales, tiene más posibilidades de protegerse a sí mismo y a su hogar de daños graves a la base.

Aquí hay 5 signos que su fundación necesita atención:

Puede ver áreas agrietadas, desmoronadas o comprometidas de la base de su hogar: cuando inspeccione su propiedad para mantenimiento o reparación, esté atento a cualquier señal de daño estructural. Esto puede incluir fracturas finas o grietas (líneas verticales, horizontales o en zigzag) cerca o alrededor de entradas como puertas y ventanas o en las paredes y pisos, pisos o paredes inclinadas, roturas o brechas en sus cimientos de concreto o ladrillo y daños por humedad (como agua bolsillos y signos de moho). Al inspeccionar su hogar por este tipo de daño, asegúrese de mirar dentro y fuera de la propiedad.

Ha notado un extenso daño causado por el agua: un drenaje deficiente puede ser extremadamente dañino para un hogar y es la causa número uno de falla estructural. Cuando el suelo cerca o cerca de la casa se satura demasiado, se expandirá. Luego, cuando se seca, el suelo se contrae. Este proceso puede hacer que el suelo cambie, lo que ejerce una presión adicional sobre la base de la propiedad. Esté atento a las áreas que están anormalmente mojadas (cuando ha habido poco tiempo húmedo) y las áreas que están demasiado secas (cuando ha llovido o ha sido regado). Si nota algún signo de daño por agua, es importante que su casa sea inspeccionada por un especialista de la fundación tan pronto como sea posible.

Su casa tiene pisos inclinados o techos distorsionados: aunque el problema radique en la base de su hogar, estos problemas pueden manifestarse en otras áreas de la propiedad, como la segunda planta, los techos de la casa y sus paredes. Usando una herramienta de nivel, puede verificar si el piso de la casa es parejo. Si parece que hay pendientes, debe hacer que su base sea inspeccionada profesionalmente.

Ha notado grietas o muros de pandeo: en horas extras, la base de cada hogar comenzará a mostrar signos de asentamiento. Pero, cuando la liquidación se vuelve excesiva, es más probable que la fundación de su hogar experimente un fracaso. Puede evitar cualquier daño grave al inspeccionar su casa en busca de grietas o estructuras en movimiento, desmoronamiento y deterioro visible, y cualquier daño causado por el agua como humedad o moho. Asegúrese de revisar todas las esquinas, pilares, juntas, molduras y chimeneas durante su inspección.

Sus puertas y ventanas se adhieren o no se adaptan como solían hacerlo: cuando nota problemas en las entradas, como puertas y ventanas, ya sea que se pegue o que no se ajusten bien, es más probable que detecte los problemas de las bases con anticipación, lo que mantendrá los costos de reparación abajo. Todas las puertas y ventanas deben caber cómodamente en su lugar, no demasiado flojas o apretadas.

La mejor manera de mantener el valor de su hogar y garantizar que usted y sus seres queridos estén seguros en caso de un gran desastre natural como un terremoto, es importante ser proactivos con respecto a la reparación de los cimientos.

Julian De La Torre es un experto en la inspección de la fundación de Los Ángeles, contratistas de cimientos y reparación de cimientos. La compañía de Julian, Julian Construction, ha inspeccionado más de 15,000 estructuras, trabajando con firmas de ingeniería y departamentos locales de construcción y seguridad. La compañía ha realizado más reparaciones de cimientos en Los Ángeles que ninguna otra compañía en el área en los últimos cinco años.

Big Trees Inc. Replaces Several Failed Trees in a Large Neighborhood

SNOHOMISH, WA: Big Trees Inc., (http://bigtreesupply.com/), a tree sales and transplant company in the Seattle area, was recently approached by a local home owner’s association to replace a significant number of failed trees in a large neighborhood.

Big Trees was approached with a request to diagnose some issues amongst a neighborhood’s Birch trees. The trees were determined to be infested, and it was clear they would need to be removed and replaced. Big Trees offered suggestions for replacements, and provided the trees as well as the installation labor. Acer Rubrum ‘Karpick Maple’ trees were decided on as the replacements.

The project was completed and all parties were pleased with the finished product. Nancy Penrose, owner of Big Trees, stated “This was a substantial effort for our company, considering the multiple angles that a project like this can have. It feels good to have a process originate through one of our services we offer and go on to be a significant project including other services we can offer here. From Arborist assessment and disease diagnosis, to providing sales and installation of new trees, this has been a full package and fun to work on!”

Nancy Penrose is the owner of Big Trees Inc., located in Snohomish, WA in the Seattle area. The company is one of the largest tree nurseries in the Seattle area with over 120,000 trees available in over 300 varieties. They not only deliver young trees, but also mature trees in a wide range of sizes. Some types of trees available include spring flowering, deciduous, evergreen, and privacy trees. The company also does tree transplanting including large trees. Their blog can be seen at http://www.bigtreesupply.com/blog/ or http://snohomishbigtrees.com/blog/. They can be reached at 360-563-2700.

Brite Smiles Dental Care Shares Their New Year’s Resolutions

APPLE VALLEY, MN – Brite Smiles Dental Care (http://www.britesmilesdentalcare.com), in Apple Valley, is sharing their new year’s resolutions with the public.

The team at Brite Smiles uses New Year’s resolutions as a way to kick off the new year and set goals, both big and small. They wanted to share their resolutions with the public to inspire others to create goals they wish to achieve within the next year, both in the dental office and outside of it.

The team’s resolutions include:

“I resolve not to text my college boys so much,” mentions Mary.

Dr. Edstrom says, “I’m going to embrace the baby phase (snuggling, crawling, teething and diapers) that my little girls are in, but also get out more with my husband.”

Rachel’s goal is to “get Henry into swimming lessons and Tori into dance.”

Dr. Simmons wants to suggest a New Year’s resolution for everyone: “Continue to work on your overall health to improve your life.”

Nancy C., a patient at Brite Smiles, spoke about her experience: “The care and concern I receive is always above and beyond. If I have any problems they are taken care of with prompt friendly service.”

Dr. Dennis Simmons, founder of Brite Smiles Dental Care, graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1976, receiving the Class Honor in prosthetics – dentures partial and full. Since then, he has participated in over 3,000 hours of continuing education courses, focusing primarily on cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, dental implants and implant-supported restorations, orthodontics, extractions, crown/bridge, root canals, bite and TMJ disorders and sleep apnea. For his studies, he has been honored with the status of “Diplomate” from the International Congress of Oral Implantology and the International Osseous (bone) Integration Society. For more information on dental services from Brite Smiles Dental Care, visit http://britesmilesdentalcare.com, or call 952-891-8484.

Brite Smiles Rewarding Kids with Good Checkups

APPLE VALLEY, MN – Brite Smiles Dental Care (http://www.britesmilesdentalcare.com), in Apple Valley, wants to show kids nine years old and under the importance of good oral hygiene.  The reward for a perfect check-up is a Free Joey Entrée, a beverage and the “Spotted Dog Sundae” dessert – all care of Outback Steakhouse. ® 

If you come in and get a cleaning and a perfect check-up (you’re 9 years or under) you will get a coupon for the free dinner valid with the purchase of any adult entre.  Only one certificate is good per party, not valid with any other discount or coupon, and must be redeemed by 3/31/2018.

Dr. Simmons and his team understand how much of a difference it makes for a child to learn good dental habits, and that they have good experiences at the dentist. 

One patient recently said about her experience at Brite Smiles Dental Care, “I continue to come to your office because my cleanings have always been very gentle, but thorough.  I knew my kids would have a good experience and they did. The Outback coupon is just one more incentive.  Thank you.”

Dr. Dennis Simmons graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1976, receiving the Class Honor in prosthetics – dentures partial and full. Since then, he has participated in over 3,000 hours of continuing education courses, focusing primarily on cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, dental implants and implant-supported restorations, orthodontics, extractions, crown/bridge, root canals, bite and TMJ disorders, and sleep apnea. For his studies, he has been honored with the status of “Diplomate” from the International Congress of Oral Implantology and the International Osseous (bone) Integration Society. For more information on dental services from Brite Smiles Dental Care, visit http://britesmilesdentalcare.com, or call 952-891-8484.