As the weather cools off and summer fades, I start looking forward to a cozy log fire in my fireplace. So that means its time to track down my friendly August West chimney sweep, James Flint.
If you forgot to have your chimney inspected and swept early in the summer, you might have to wait a few weeks, Mr Flint tells me. Apparently, the ideal time to get this task off your to-do list is in May, or as soon as you stop lighting fires. Who knew? And why so early? Some fireplaces create odor problems, so sweeping out the old soot and creosote can prevent your house smelling as if youve had a campfire in the living room, he explains. Your chimney sweep can also detect problems that might need fixing, such as loose mortar between the bricks, a loose damper or a problem with the flue.
On the subject of chimney repairs, watch out for the scam artists. These jokers turn up at your house, poke their heads up your chimney and serve you up a menu of things they say need fixing at premium prices. Local police have already made several arrests. It's much better to call August West theyre reliable, scrupulously clean and get the job done efficiently.
James has been cleaning my chimney for years and is an absolute artist. He covers the whole fireplace area with a dropcloth, uses an ultra-powerful vacuum to suck up all the dust and, honestly, youd never know hed been there. He also makes sure you know how to use your fireplace properly.
Never burn any soft woods like pine or cedar they have too much resin and this ends up coating the chimney flue and is a fire hazard. And dont burn glossy paper, pressure treated lumber, milk cartons, credit card receipts or anything painted. These all release toxic chemicals when they burn, he tells me.
If youre planning on lighting fires in your fireplace this winter, call August West ASAP at (203) 762-7374 or (203) 655-4400.
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