Be cautious about unregistered sweeps

Putnam County Director of Consumer Affairs Jean Noel, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith are reminding residents that autumn is the time for annual chimney inspections and related services.

According to the United States Fire Administration, more than one third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in homes. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the risks when heating with wood and solid fuels. Heat fires account for 36 percent of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.

Extra vigilance should be given to those working on residential chimneys. Each year, the county’s Consumer Affairs department receives reports of unregistered chimney sweeps operating in Putnam County. The average person cannot discern whether chimney repairs are truly needed, or whether the work is completed properly. Improper work can result in dangerous, even deadly, carbon monoxide leaks and fires.

Officials urge residents to have their chimneys inspected and serviced by a reputable company to prevent fire-related tragedies from occurring. They recommend that homeowners contact the local consumer affairs office to ensure the prospective contractor is properly registered to do the work. Visit or call Director Noel at 845-808-1617, ext. 46024.

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