SPOKANE, Wash.— When some people start their first cozy fireplace fires this winter, they might not just be starting that one fire.

Chimney professionals said chimney services are in high demand as the winter months continue to move in.

Mr. Chimney owner Scott Downes said many people wouldn't even know if there was a problem with their chimney.

Downes said it starts out with a small crack on the top of the chimney, water gets in, and penetrates the mortar in the brick work, then when it freezes it expands and that is a deteriorative cycle that causes many chimney failures.

Downes said residue from burning wood in fireplaces can line the inside of fireplaces and catch people’s homes on fire.

"The number one thing in the winter time that the firefighters do, like the highest volume of house calls is to put out chimney fires,” said Downes.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends chimney inspections at least once a year.