Qualified chimney sweeps keep you warm and safe - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Qualified chimney sweeps keep you warm and safe

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Creosote can build up inside the chimney and become a quick fire hazard. Creosote can build up inside the chimney and become a quick fire hazard.

With cold weather blanketing North Alabama, many people are turning up the heat or lighting fires in their fireplaces, which makes it important to practice fire safety. A key element of fireplace safety is making sure the chimney is clean every season.

Dennis Dobbs with the Fireplace Service Center in Fort Payne said the role of chimney sweeps has changed over the years. No longer are they seen as a guy with a single, long broom.

Their main function is to remove creosote, the residue created from burning wood, from the fireplace. The material can catch fire easily and cause house fires.

Dobbs said the modern chimney sweep uses internal cameras to check your fireplace for safety as well as deadly carbon monoxide. He said it is important to have the fireplace checked routinely; otherwise something enjoyable can become something ugly.

"Sometimes under the right conditions if everything is not maintained as well as it should be, then sometimes you have that nightmare scenario where the homeowner can experience a chimney fire in the middle of the holiday season," he said.

Dobbs recommends people with fireplaces have them checked once a year by certified specialists.

"Do research. Make a list of questions - how long have you been in business; are you insured; are you licensed; are you certified; can we see a copy of your insurance before you come to our home?" Dobbs said.

To search for a qualified chimney sweep near you, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

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