With temperatures continuing to drop, many homeowners are putting their fireplaces to use. On Monday, renters of a house on Fernwood Circle in Madison County said a fire started in their chimney and went all the way up to the attic.
WAAY 31 spoke with Southern Home and Hearth to learn what you need to do before firing up the fireplace. An employee, Kenneth Walker, said the best time to get your chimney swept is in September before you start using it during the winter.
When using your fireplace, residue normally stays in the chimney. Over time, it starts to build up, which is how a fire can happen.
"That's what they're cleaning out. To get it out of your chimney or to minimize it, so you run a low risk of having a chimney fire," said Kenneth Walker.
Walker said if you have a wood-burning fireplace, it's good to keep the doors closed to slow the draft down so you're not losing heat going up the chimney.
"For the stoves, if you have a wood-burning stove or a wood-burning insert, you want to get the chimney cleaned. But you also want to check your gaskets around the door and around the ash pan if you have one. Check to make sure there's no leaks and your pipe is connected," Walker said.
Walker said a chimney fire extinguisher is handy if your chimney does catch on fire. All you have to do is throw it in the stove or fireplace.
"Once it breaks open, it puts off gas up the flue to help smother the fire," Walker said.