Hire a chimney sweep
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you get your chimney cleaned at least once a year at the beginning of the winter to remove soot and debris. Bay Area Chimney Sweep is a professional Houston chimney sweep that can make sure your chimney and fireplace are properly cleaned and inspected.
Check your chimney for damage
In addition to having your chimney cleaned, a good chimney sweep should inspect the chimney and fireplace structure for any cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. Be sure to have your chimney liners also checked for any damage as well.
Use chimney caps
A chimney cap is a cap that is fitted with wire-mesh sides that covers the top of the chimney. Chimney caps are important for keeping rain, birds, squirrels, raccoons, and debris from falling down into your chimney. If your chimney has damaged or missing caps be sure to have them repaired as soon as possible.
Burn seasoned hardwoods
Be sure to burn dense wood, such as oak, that has been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Green wood and resinous softwoods such as pine produce more creosote, a flammable byproduct of combustion that can build up in the chimney and lead to chimney fires.
Don’t overload the fireplace
Small fires generate less smoke, thus leading to less creosote buildup and lower risk of chimney fires. Building a fire that is too large or too hot can crack the chimney which can be a safety hazard.
Use a spark guard
Prevent hot embers from shooting out of the firebox with a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors. A guard in front of an open flame is especially important when the room is unoccupied.