Keeping warm and safe can be a bit of a challenge, especially when we don't turn on the furnace much or use the fireplace that often.
Matt Goode, the owner and operator of The Chimney Guy, explains inspections and cleanings are a must if you plan on burning anything in your home.
"The week before Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest times for us, but when it gets this cold, phone calls start to pick up," said Goode.
The Chimney Guy has worked around Tybee for more than fifteen years, and he says the key is planning ahead.
Goode explains that it's not a great feeling to tell someone they can't use their means of keeping warm, but it's better than potentially harming them and their family.
"We get in a home, and sometimes I have bad news before Christmas, and they're waiting for relatives to get into town to use the fireplace, but it's better to have bad news than not to know at all," said Goode.
Matt Becker works with Goode and agrees.
"So what people end up running into a lot is they have us coming out to take a look at them and clean them, and we end up saying, ‘this doesn't comply with any modern day fire codes,'" said Becker.
Those codes make it important in hiring someone who's certified at cleaning a chimney.
"Have proven that they've learned all the codes and methods of cleaning, so you can know there's a problem when you look at it," said Goode.
The methods of cleaning haven't changed much in the centuries of sweeping. Other than the vacuum, it's the same bristled brushes, similar black attire and the age old question that never gets old: Is this gonna be good for Santa to come down?
Becker said he gets a lot of those questions and of course if he's going to pop up in the chimney itself like Mary Poppins.
"We don't get in there," said Becker. "But it is hands on, and one of the last real trades, like masonry."
Animals get down into the chimneys all the time, and Goode says he's a self taught animal rescuer.
It took him a couple years, but he says the trick to saving squirrels is as simple as dropping in a rope, and they climb it out since they can't grip the brick.
Once, he once came across an owl. He needed some more expertise, so he called Oatland Island.
It turned out that it was one of their owls and they came to save the day and take the bird home.
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