"They can have clogs and debris. They can cause carbon monoxide backup and gas back up. Furnace flues especially this time of year are a major concern with that," Padgitt said.
According to Midwest Chimney Safety Council, chimney fires often occur without the homeowners’ knowledge, because there may be hidden cracks or breaks in the flue (the duct or pipe inside that protects the chimney walls from heat) in certain types of chimneys.
Padgitt said a certified chimney sweep not only helps with preparations for colder months but can be of use to home buyers as well.
"I'd say the biggest problem across the country is when buyers are purchasing a home, they're not looking at the chimney," Padgitt said. "They're not having a professional inspect the chimney because home inspectors do not inspect the interior of chimneys. They're not trained in that field, so they have the idea that it's taken care of and it really isn't ."
For more information on chimney inspections, click here.