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Colder winter months leading to increased demand for chimney sweeps

Posted at 6:19 PM, Feb 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-08 23:06:30-05

These colder winter months have led to an increase in demand for chimney sweeps, and local fire authorities tell us if you have a wood-burning fireplace and are using it, it needs an annual inspection.

“Definitely a busy time of year for chimney sweeping. The winter season has got us really running around,” said Brian Reed, Central Coast Chimney owner.

“So chimney sweeping is really chimney maintenance and what it does is it allows a professional, a licensed contractor, to be up on top of your roof and really push that and scrape that creosote material off the walls of that chimney void,” explained Chief Steve Lieberman, Five Cities Fire Authority.

It also allows the contractor to make sure the spark arrester is capturing any sparks that leave the chimney and preventing debris from entering the fireplace from the outside.

“Yeah, we did get an increase, especially with the rise in gas prices lately,” Reed said.

Some poeple have started burning wood to stay warm — using their fireplace for the first time in a while — and that's leading to an increase in demand for chimney sweeps.

“There are some clients that started burning wood and now they’re noticing that there are other costs that they didn’t consider,” Reed added.

“So you’re burning wood in your fireplace or if you’re doing what you’re not supposed to be doing and you’re burning fire in your fireplace, not all that material completely burns. So the products of that are sticky and tarry, it’s called creosote, and it sticks to the walls of the fireplace,” Lieberman said.

Over time, the sticky flammable substance builds up, creating a fire hazard.

“If you’re not maintaining your chimney, you can also run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning into your home because you’re going to have restrictions in the path of that firewood smoke exiting your home," Lieberman said.