BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBMA) -- A cold snap is coming and many people will soon use their fireplaces for the first time this year. Here's something to remember: Clean chimneys don't catch fire.
Jeremy Shultz and Andrew Grimes work for Batts Chimney Services, and they're in their busiest time of the year.
"Usually when we hit that first cold spell of the year, our phones start ringing off the hook because everybody realizes that it's time to have your chimney cleaned," says Grimes.
Grimes says after that, they're usually booked January through March.
While cleaning chimneys, Grimes and the other chimney technicians have seen some interesting things.
"Had to relocate a nest of bats that were actually underneath a chimney cover when we pulled the cover off one day," says Grimes.
They're also removed some things that didn't make much sense.
"The craziest thing that I have found was a milk jug," Grimes says.
Wednesday there were no milk jugs or bats, just Bud Ballard and his chimney.
"Smoke was coming out of the fire box and it just wasn't drafting right," says Ballard who was looking forward to getting his chimney cleaned.
Dirty chimneys are dangerous. All you have to do is get your fireplace inspected regularly. Creosote and soot start fires, they're the pair you don't want in your chimney.
"Once it starts to get hot and hot and hot, it's got an ignition point. once that ignition point gets low enough, it sets it on fire," says Grimes.
That's what the team looks to prevent. They clean the chimney, vacuum, and then run a camera all the way up through the chimney. Once it's all clear, customers like Ballard are swept clean of chimney fire worries and can safely use their fireplaces sooner than later.
"[We'll use it] probably tonight," Ballard said Wednesday afternoon.
An annual chimney inspection performed by a qualified professional can not only help prevent chimney fires, but carbon monoxide intrusion as well.
For more information on keeping your chimney clean and safe, click here.