Before old man winter comes knocking at your front door, you may want to call give these guys.
Chimney sweeps can mean the difference between keeping warm or losing everything. “This is the dangerous part about burning in a fireplace,” according to Brandon Maxwell as he brushes soot from inside the walls of Dina White’s chimney. She uses her fireplace a lot in the winter but this is the first time it’s ever been cleaned.
“The last time I used the fireplace, the smoke started poofing out,” she remembers. “That’s not good. Plus, I haven’t had it cleaned for about nine years and I thought it’s probably very, very dirty.”
The flue, the damper, everything is covered in creosote, the residue left behind that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney.
“It was like it was raining soot,” says White. “This right here is going to be from several years of burning fires inside the fireplace,” added Maxwell as soot pours from his hand.
Certified chimney sweeps recommend having your fireplace inspected and cleaned at least once a year both inside and out. A 15 to 20-minute visit could make all the difference in the world.
Experts also say before starting a fire, make sure the damper is open and stay within the size of your fireplace, don’t over-fill.