LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - As cooler temperature roll through central Arkansas, many will ready their wood burning fireplace or stove. How do you know if your fireplace and chimney are working properly?
THV talked with Bob Lukas, owner of Buck's Chimney Sweep in Little Rock about the topic.
Bob Lukas has traveled up and down a number of ladders in his day.
"I've been in this about thirty years," says Lukas.
After growing tired of the brutal winters of Chicago, Lukas relocated to Hot Springs and finally Little Rock. Lukas says there is more than what meets the eye with his job.
"People don't understand that it's not just running a brush inside of it and saying okay you're good to go," says Lukas.
During an inspection Lukas says he looks for cracks in the flue tile, water intrusion, and whether a chimney has a spark arrester cap. In some cases the arrester cap can be the difference in a spark reaching the roof and causing a fire.
"A chimney fire can burn at 2000 plus degrees. This has been known to take down houses," says Lukas.
Lukas recommends a moderately used fireplace should be inspected every other year. He also says it's important to do your homework before hiring a chimney sweep company.
"Know the credentials of the person that you're dealing with. Somebody such as you could go into home depot, buy chimney brushes and call themselves a chimney sweep," says Lukas.
Lukas says find a company certified by The Chimney Safety Institute of America or CSIA, a non-profit organization governed by volunteer chimney professionals. Also check and see if the company is insured.
"It's a good idea to make sure they've got liability insurance. Because if somebody sweeps their chimney and their house burns down, they may not ever find this guy if he didn't do it right," says Lukas.
If you feel like you've been given an unfair estimate to seek a second opinion on your chimney or fireplace. Most companies will charge you for the initial service call, but the repairs should be separate and make sure to clarify that before hiring.
Fore more details on how to select a chimney company check out the Chimney Safety Institute website.
Video: How to properly extinguish a fire: http://bit.ly/StlbXQ
Safety tips for winter fires: http://1.usa.gov/StlhP1