Now I don't have a fireplace anymore but I can smell the neighbors burning away and remember what I did when I had one. So for a warm safe winter it's time to:
Get the Fireplace Ready1. Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds. This should be on in the summer too. You don't want to give your wild neighbors free access to your home do you?
2. If the chimney hasn't been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote. It is very important to get this stuff cleaned out as it can spark up and start a fire.
3. Get your firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
4. Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing. Don't forget to keep it close when not using the fire place to keep your heat from going up the chimney.
5. Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint, if necessary.