Time to Check Your Chimney

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

September 19, 2005

Even though it still feels like we're in the middle of summer, winter is just around the corner. That means soon, homeowners will want to start up their fireplaces- and now is the time to make sure they're safe.

Claudette Borgersen plans to make use of her chimney this winter. But before burning, she wants reassurance.

"We didn't want to burn it without knowing whether it was safe and how much previous soot buildup had been in there," Borgersen said.

It seems she started at the right time. Experts say now is actually the best time for homeowners to get their chimneys checked out.

"For preventative maintenance we need to do that between September and December, because the burning season actually starts at the end of November," said owner of Country Chimney Service, John Dedio.

Experts say the best way to make sure your chimney is burning properly would be to make sure it's swept at least once a year. It could make a big difference between a bad situation turning even worse. The more buildup there is inside a chimney, the greater the chances are of a fire burning out of control.

"There are fires every year from people who don't go ahead and take the initiative to have it cleaned and checked and they just start burning," said Dedio. "The homeowner can take a peek up inside the flue and see if there is a quarter inch or a half inch of buildup."

Other preventative measures are also key for safety and efficiency, such as making sure bricks are tight and having a good chimney cap on top. These are all things that Borgersen is taking care of before the temperatures take a dive.

"We knew now would be a good time to go ahead and do that," she said.

Experts also remind homeowners that objects, such as birds nests, can also get lodged in chimneys and cause problems.

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