CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As the weather gets colder, officials are reminding people of some important safety tips to keep in mind.

The National Fire Protection Association says your chimneys, fireplaces, and vents should be inspected once a year. Chimney sweeps say it's important to do this before you start lighting fires for the season because a dirty chimney can pose a hazard.

"A lot of people put more in the stove than actually needs to be in there. The wood needs the air to breathe, so it'll burn hotter and keep the chimney cleaner," said James Fisher of Chimney Restoration.

Many restoration companies get backed-up around this time of year, so chimney cleaners recommend making an appointment as soon as possible.