INSPECT AND CLEAN YOUR CHIMNEY REGULARLY
Have a chimney inspector do a safety inspection on the chimneys at least once a year. Your chimney could have a problem you cannot see.
CHECK FOR CREOSOTE AND SOOT BUILD-UP.
Creosote can form quickly and is a major cause of chimney fires. Check chimney and flue pipes often and clean when necessary. Never let creosote or soot build up. A chimney inspector will be able to spot creosote during the inspection of your chimney.
CHECK WALLS FOR EXCESSIVE HEAT.
If the wall is very hot, it could be a sign of improper installation of the chimney. Consult a chimney inspector right away.
INSTALL A RAIN CAP.
A rain cap should be installed on top of all metal and masonry chimneys. If you have a spark screen around the chimney cap, you should have it inspected regularly for blockage.
LOOK FOR SMOKE ENTERING THE ROOM.
When the fireplace is in use smoke should not enter the room. This could indicate a blockage in the chimney or a faulty damper control mechanism. Have it checked by a chimney inspector immediately.
PROTECT FLOORS AND WALLS FROM HEAT AND SPARKS.
Ensure that each fireplace has a non-combustible hearth that is a minimum of 20 inches wide. Keep combustibles safely away from your fireplace. Always use a properly fitted screen for your fireplace.
REGULARLY CHECK FOR SIGNS OF PROBLEMS.
Your flue pipes and chimney can deteriorate over time. Look for corrosion or rust stains on the outer shell of a metal chimney and check for bulges or corrosion in its liner. Loose bricks, crumbling mortar, broken liners, dark stains or white powder indicate problems with masonry chimneys. A chimney inspection will determine if any of these problems exist. These should be fixed immediately by a qualified mason.