Chimney sweeps could save homes and lives

Although smoke alarms are essential and very important in the event of a fire, there is another way to stay safe and even prevent those fires from happening – and many forget to do this. Annual chimney cleanings are essential for a healthy chimney and a safe home.

“If you have it inspected, you can rest assured that your chimney is in good working order and safe to use,” said longtime chimney sweep Arlen Clure. “If they haven’t had it inspected or cleaned and they try to use it and there’s buildup inside and it ignites, it’s going to cause a chimney fire. If the chimney is in poor condition, it can burn through the chimney and catch the house on fire.”

Clure has owned/operated Cheerful Chimney Sweep in Moline for decades, so he’s seen his fair share of chimneys. He says annual cleanings and checkups can save homes and lives.

“It’s important to hire professionals, they know exactly what they’re doing. After cleaning the chimney, they can re-inspect it for any structural damage,” Clure said. “A person checking it themselves wouldn’t really know what to inspect and see if it’s really that dirty or not.”

Creosote buildup is what ignites in chimneys, and the wetter the wood, the more creosote there is.

“You don’t want to bring in wet wood and try to burn it,” Clure added. “This creates condensation inside the chimney and the creosote will stick to it even faster.”

But, Clure said there are steps someone can take to make sure they don’t make a creosote problem worse.

“They have wood moisture detectors that you can buy,” he said. “It gives you the moisture content that’s in the wood and you can tell if the wood is ready to burn or not.”

He says it’s better to be safe – always.

“Get it serviced and rest assured it will be good to use and safe. Safety first.”

Clure says Moline’s Cheerful Chimney Sweeps prefer to clean and check chimneys during the summer months because it’s much easier when the chimney isn’t in regular use.

Having them checked ahead of time assures the homeowner that their chimney is safe in the winter.

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