Do I need to have my chimney serviced?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that in one year, 5,500 fires were attributed to chimneys. As a result of these fires, 130 people died, 230 people were injured and total property loss was set at more than $184.4 million. In addition, there were a minimum of 119 deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning and at least 4,700 injuries were reported for the same time frame, though most estimates are much higher. The root cause of most of these losses is that most U.S. homeowners are unaware that chimneys are an integral part of a home-heating system, and require regular evaluation and maintenance. The fact that faults, damage, and problems are rarely visible to the casual observer complicates the situation. The threat of chimney fires or CO² poisoning can be greatly reduced, or eliminated, by regular inspection and maintenance.