POSTED: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - 6:05pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 11:42am
TYLER-It's been cold and a lot of people are using their chimneys. But if your chimney's not up to snuff, it can be dangerous.
Now-a-days many people are trying to save money anyway they can, even if it means scrimping on details around the house. And some folks are not turning up the heat, they are lighting up the wood. But experts say be very careful.
"there's been several fires this year from chimneys and there was three I think last week where the fire was seen coming out of the chimney cap before the phone call was ever initiated," Smith County Assistant Fire Marshal Marilynn Wilson.
That's why you have to be safe.
"We'll literally look at your chimney and tell you what needs to be done," Will Wood owner of Cheaper Sweeper told us.
He said the problem is creosote, a highly combustible byproduct of fireplace burning. The byproducts of burning wood, paper and anything else put in a fireplace rise into the chimney, where they condense in the cooler air and stick to the sides. Officials say burning this stuff can easily crack tiles and mortar in the chimney, exposing the wood frame of the home to the flames.
So to keep you and your family safe from a fire, officials recommend having a chimney sweeper do a level one inspection once a year.
"What I mean by a level one is just when they come in with a flashlight and they look for buildup," Wilson said. "If it's a quarter inch or more you need a chimney sweep."
And even after its been cleaned, officials say to only use dry and seasoned wood. Also never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper, use a spark guard and extinguish fires completely before going to bed or leaving the house.
Though the economy is bad and a pro can sometimes be costly, when it comes to your family, it's a precaution that's well worth it.