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Most modern chimney care companies won’t give you a song and a dance, as Dick Van Dyke did in the classic film version of “Mary Poppins.”

Winter Is Coming, Time to Get Your Chimney Checked

Fireplaces

It’s getting chilly and Tristate homeowners are starting to think about “firing up” their woodstoves and fireplaces. In addition to getting a supply of wood or pellets, it’s also important to call a reputable company to check over the chimney lining and exterior to be sure they’re in good shape for winter use.

“One of the most difficult times to get your chimney cleaned is the start of heating season,” said Robert Zaleski, owner of 3G Chimney Services in Torrington, Conn. — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least call and get on the schedule.

Homeowners who have fireplaces or woodburning stoves should have their chimneys cleaned on a regular basis — but maintenance may not always be on the mind of homeowners with chimneys that vent fumes from oil or natural gas furnaces.

“It’s important for these homeowners to also have their chimneys inspected because over time, although fuels such as natural gas burn ‘cleaner,’ deposits can build up and sometimes break down the interior of the chimney,” Zaleski said.

Samuel Lopez, owner of Master Sweep of the Hudson Valley in Elizaville, N.Y., said homeowners who burn “two, three or four cords of wood a season should have the chimney cleaned annually.”

Those who burn a cord or less of wood a year can usually wait two years before the chimney needs to be cleaned.

Lopez conducts an inspection of the chimney, takes photos to identify any damage, assesses the overall condition of the chimney and talks to the homeowner about any repairs that need to be made.

If a chimney has been ignored or is damaged through constant use over many years, for example, a new liner may be needed, to ensure proper venting of gases and fumes and to secure the interior safety of the structure.

“A new glass liner can cost upwards of several thousand dollars,” Lopez warned, “so if you want to avoid that cost, have a regular inspection and cleaning of your chimney.”

Chimney maintenance work goes on all year long.

“I would say the only down time we have is from February until mid-April,” Lopez said.

But again, don’t wait; Call up a chimney care company in your area and get on the schedule.

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