The importance of chimney sweeping
TYLER — When you see Robert Swinney, you can't help but think of Dick Van Dyke sweeping chimney's on rooftops.
But with the traditional top hat comes over 30 years of experience as a chimney sweep.
This time of year is the busiest for Swinney.
"A lot of fires happen first of the season, people just throw a lot of kindling in the fire, newspaper, and you go up there and set that creosote on fire," Swinney said.
Swinney says he goes to about 2 dozen chimney fires every year -- the homeowners call the day after.
"It throws fireballs all over the roof, it looks like a roman candle coming out the top of your chimney. It creates a roar in the chimney in the fireplace -- people look around 'What is that noise?' Swinney said.
He recommends getting your chimney swept every 3 chords of wood you use.
But the best way to see if your chimney needs it -- is to get a flashlight -- and look!
"Well, you can see a quarter inch, maybe even a half inch of creosote and you can tell what it is. You don't see the bricks anymore, you cant see the metal liner of the damper. You can just see a buildup of something on there," Swinney said.
And sometimes it's not just soot that collects in a chimney.
Sometimes, squirrels will...make their selves at home.
"I've seen it where there's a nest all the way down to the damper, all the way to the top of the chimney and if they'd have lit that thing on fire, it would have been a good one...it would have been like a bonfire," Swinney said.