You’ve enjoyed your fireplace for years. It has brought you and your family warmth time and time again. But when was the last time you cleaned it? It’s vital that you keep your chimney clean and free of debris so that it can continue working safely and efficiently.

Fire and carbon monoxide inhalation are two of the main hazards that come from a dirty chimney. Dust and soot will encrust the chimney over time and slowly lessen the amount of ventilation. Without a thorough fireplace cleaning, your home and family could be at risk.

Are you worried about the mess involved with cleaning your fireplace? Don’t worry, these days, professional chimney sweeps get the work done cleanly and with care. Like in the old days, a chimney brush is still used, but it is combined with today’s technology such as high-powered vacuums, special chimney cleaning tools, and cameras.

So how often should you clean your chimney? Well, that depends on how often you use it. Professionals state that if you use your fireplace as little as once per week, then a cleaning every 2-3 years is acceptable. Any more use than this and you should be receiving annual inspections to make sure everything is running clean. A good way to tell if you are in need of a cleaning is to open and close your damper. If dust and soot falls down, then it’s time for a sweep.

When searching for a chimney sweep it is best to get several quotes. Anyone offering extremely low prices is most likely a scam, and will try get you to do unnecessary repairs and tack on extra charges later. Find a company that is licensed, and has good references or verifiable reviews.

A professional and licensed service will also be more knowledgeable and able to identify problems before they happen. Besides a build up of dust and soot, other complications can arise such as a damper in need of repair, bird or animal removal, or gas line and rain leak repair. Licensed chimney sweeps will be able to diagnose and repair all problems that arise.

So, if you want to continue getting enjoyment out of that old fireplace, remember to get it regularly inspected so you and your family can have a safe and warm winter.