Experts urge homeowners to clean and inspect chimneys

Experts urge homeowners to clean and inspect chimneys

VALE, NC (WBTV) - Roger Whitman and his son, Sawyer, are used to dirty jobs - and Wednesday was no different. They were working to clean out two flues in a chimney in Vale.

Chimney Sweep Plus has been in business for decades, and this time of year is the busiest. Roger says people need to be aware of how dangerous it can be to avoid the necessary task of cleaning a chimney.

"We recommend cleaning at least once a year," he said.

Creosote build-up can catch fire in the chimney. Many times it happens and the homeowner never knows. But there are times when cracks in the chimney itself give a path for the fire to get into the structure of the home and cause major damage or worse.

At the home in Vale on Wednesday, they filled bucket after bucket with creosote ash they had scraped from the chimney walls. The type of ash they found, said Roger, was a sign there had been several fires inside the chimney in recent years.

"They were lucky it did not spread," he said.

The home was recently sold and the new owners decided to have the cleaning done before starting up the two wood stoves inside.

"We just did not want any surprises," said Kimberly Mays.

Whitman says many homeowners try to clean the chimneys out themselves and sometimes do an adequate job, but still should have an expert inspect the work. Chimney Sweep Plus lowers a camera inside the chimney to look at the condition of the inside.

"We look for cracks and other problems that might exist," said Sawyer.

Though a cleaning and inspection could cost $200 or more, Mays said she was glad she called the experts in.

"It is absolutely better than having a house fire."

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