GREENSBORO, N.C. --- As cold temperatures drop closer to the teens this week, several local chimney sweeps tell Fox8 they are busy doing safety inspections.
John Budd, a certified chimney sweep in Greensboro, said because last winter was mild many people did not use their fireplaces as much as usual. Many of his customers skipped their yearly inspections, too.
"It's very important to get an inspection, especially if you have not had a fire in a while," he insisted. "We do an inspection, look for gaps and voids in the smoke chamber, gaps between the flue tiles, damaged flue tiles. We take a look at the hearth. Just check and make sure it's ready for a fire."
Budd said in the Fall, he was getting as many as thirty and forty calls every day for inspections. The calls tapered off after Christmas but sparked back up this week with the cold snap.
"I've gotten eight calls already today," he said early Tuesday afternoon.
Viviana Lujan just moved from Florida to Greensboro and said the smell of soot in her new house was very bothersome.
"The smell was in the entire house. We hadn't burned a fire in two weeks and we could still smell it, smell the soot. We cleaned it out, dumped the firewood- and it was still there. So we called John Budd," Lujan explained.
As Budd cleaned out the soot and inspected the chimney inside and out, he suggested to Lujan not to burn more than two or three logs at a time.
"The secret," he emphasized, "Is getting your chimney serviced on a yearly basis."
Budd suggests if you do get a chimney fire, "Throw ice on it, not water. The ice will melt slower and release a steady stream of cool steam. It's better than water, where one big blast of cool steam could damage the chimney's structure and bricks."
If your chimney makes any swooshing or popping noises or if smoke starts coming inside your home, Budd said to call 9-1-1 immediately.