Have you had your chimney swept this year?
I get a kick out of telling people I make software for Chimney Sweeps. The first image that comes into most people's minds is Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins sitting there with a laptop. The truth is that Chimney Sweeps in this day and age are more like high tech inspectors then black lunged dredges from a Dickens novel.
Oh they still sweep chimneys, although it's usually done with a combination of brushes and vaccumes. Some even still dress up like the old time chimney sweeps. But they do a lot more then that. Today most chimney sweeps are equipped with chimney scanning cameras. These little robot-like devices can be sent up your chimney and reveal cracks and other fire dangers that would not be visible to most humans with a flashlight.
When a chimney sweep sweeps your chimney, they will typically give it an inspection as well, checking dampers, draft, and other fire dangers. Every year people experience chimney fires, and others die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Regular chimney sweeping can help to prevent both of these things.
With energy prices high, chimney sweeps can also help you insulate an area of your home that can leak lots of energy. They can install high tech flues, reflectors, and dampers to help you save more energy, and increase the amount of heat you receive from a fire.
I get my chimney swept once a year, have you had yours swept lately? If you live in the northeast I can probably recommend someone in your area, if not, be sure to check The National Chimney Sweep Guild's or the Chimney Safety Institute of America's websites for a certified sweep in your area.
Of course, if they are not using ChimSoft yet, feel free to give me a plug ;)