For many of us, it's still much too warm to make a fire in the fireplace, but before you do, it's wise to hire someone to clean the chimney. They're more known as chimney sweeps and are usually worth whatever it costs to hire them.

The days are gone when you could lower a small boy into a chimney with a broom and force him to clean the soot and creosote from the stovepipe of the fireplace. That may never have happened, but Charles Dickens eternalized the notion in the stories of the orphan boy, Oliver Twist, who was sold to a chimney sweep.


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