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Local fire chief urges homeowners to inspect, clean chimneys ahead of winter season

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 4:26 PM CDT
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EPHRAIM, Wis. (WBAY) - Some homeowners look to spend chilly fall nights warming up next to the fireplace.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends chimneys, vents, and fireplaces be inspected and cleaned by professionals every year.

It is busy season for The Chimney Guy with a lot of calls for chimney sweeping services.

“Depending on the fireplace, it usually takes with the inspection around an hour,” said Amy Nieuwenhuis, general manager of The Chimney Guy. “It basically is like the maintenance for the flue and the firebox. We sweep everything out from the top to the bottom.”

It is an important to step in preventing a possible chimney fire.

“There are about 25,000 per year in the United States moreso over the winter months I’d say from October through the end of March,” said Chief Justin MacDonald with the Village of Ephraim Fire Department.

MacDonald urges people to call a professional trained in what to look for when inspecting a chimney instead of taking up the task themselves.

This time of year, it is important to make an appointment and get on the calendar fast with The Chimney Guy booking out eight to ten weeks.

“You can use it as long as you feel comfortable and don’t notice anything concerning. You can use the fireplace until we can get there,” said Nieuwenhuis. “We just ask as a company 24 hours before we come to let everything cool down and let the fire go out.”

Smoke backup, rust, and odd smells can be signs not to use the fireplace.

It is also important to pay attention to what gets burned. MacDonald tells Action 2 News this time of year people go outside and grab debris that has fallen on the ground around their homes.

“It’s not dry wood which brings a lot of creosote that goes up your chimney which is the stuff that sticks to the side of your chimney which enhances your chance to have a potential chimney fire,” said MacDonald.

“The biggest thing is it’s a fireplace. You have a fire in your home, so you can never be too safe with it,” said Nieuwenhuis.

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