As days get shorter & the weather gets colder, the people I was with and I retreat indoors to the warmth of our homes. If you have a fireplace, fall is a great time to make sure the chimney & flue are in nice working order. First, you should visually assess the chimney from the outside. Ensure that it is not leaning, chipped, cracked, corroded, stains, loose, or has any holes. If your chimney is exposed to the attic, make sure to check there too. Make sure you have a nice chimney cap. You may need to install on or substitute your existing a single. This can reduce mangle caused to a chimney by water & wildlife, however rain & snow can enter an uncapped chimney & cause expansion mangle. Inside the house, check the section around your chimney for any dampness or stains. These could be caused by faulty flashing around the chimney at the roofline, or by a mangled flue liner. If you see signs of water around your chimney, call a professional. Check if the flue is sooty or in disrepair. Open the clean out door from the base of the flue, situated either in your basement or outside the house, and using a small mirror & flashlight to see up the flue, look for buildup of soot & also any holes, cracks, or separations. Check the brickwork in your fireplace for wear & tear. Also don’t forget to check the damper. It should open & close easily. Chimney safety should be a high priority for every homeowner. With familiar fireplace service, your number one source of heat can supply you years of charming service. A chimney professional can spot things that even a diligent homeowner could miss. Call a professional to do familiar cleanings & safety checks as a area of your home service routine.