Chimney Cleaning to Prevent Fires

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Lynn Haven - Temperatures finally started to warm-up from the past week's hard freeze. But more cold weather is likely before spring. There's a better than average chance you'll want to use your fireplace again this winter but precautions need to be taken to make sure the fireplace and chimney is clean, to avoid a potential disaster.

Something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Middle of winter, logs on the fire, a family enjoying the ambiance of their fireplace, but contrary to what people may think, fireplaces are not maintenance-free luxury. Cleanings can prevent possible damage or, worse yet, fire.

Jim Greig has been a chimney sweep since 1983 and is the owner of Clear Sky Chimney Cleaning. "Creosote and soot build-up for sure," he says "Creosote and soot, that's where your fire starts. It builds up to a certain level up in there and you don't know it as a homeowner, the creosote gets hot up there, then it starts bubbling, that starts a little fire and you can't see until it's already occurring. Then the flames start shooting up through your roof."

The frequency for cleaning your fireplace depends on how often you use it. Greig recommends at least every two years. If you're not sure how long it's been, or you've moved into a new home with a fireplace, hire a certified chimney sweep to inspect it.

Greig adds, "Home inspectors, some are trained, some are not. But a chimney sweep can come over and let you know, he can look up inside. He can see the structural stability of the flue pipes, the fireplace walls itself."

Inspections and cleanings can help prevent chimney fires and allow you to enjoy your fireplace, just like that Norman Rockwell painting.

Another safety tip is to know what types of wood to burn and to limit the size of the fire depending on your fireplace. Any area chimney sweeps can gladly answer any questions that may arise.