Busy Time for Chimney Cleaners

COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- As the days and nights get colder, more and more of us will turn on the heat inside our homes.

But before you light up that fireplace or furnace, make sure it's clean.

"People don't realize how important it is to clean a chimney, especially with the wood. Wet wood, lots of soot, and it creates lots of chimney fires this time of year," said Rosario Galioto.

Galioto owns Captain Happy's Soot Service near Mount Pocono. He says this time of year is very busy for his business, and his brushes have been used a lot over the past few weeks.

"We go out and we check to make sure everything is safe," Galioto explained. "We clean the appliance and if the customer has any questions, we tell them how to solve their problem or how to work with the appliance that they have."

Some people might think chimney sweeping is a do-it-yourself project, but the experts say play it safe and leave it to the professionals.

"Call the right guy to do the right job. I call an electrician, you know. I don't do my own electrical work," said Galioto.

Firefighters also agree the chimney sweeping should be left to the pros because if done wrong, it can easily lead to a house fire.

"We recommend that you contact somebody who is reputable and insured and licensed and have them clean your chimney before you even attempt to start a fire. What happens is, we had one individual that contacted me to check and they had an issue with their chimney and all the inside had rotted away. Had they started a fire, they would have had a dwelling fire," said Coolbaugh Township firefighter Tomas Keane.

Experts say the spring is also a busy time for chimney sweeping to clear away what was left behind during the winter.