A post I just responded to reminded me of what a nag I am when it comes to having my clients with wood burning fireplaces submit to an annual chimney inspection and sweep if needed. You would be surprised at the stuff and living things that can accumulate in one. And when was the last time you were up on the roof to see if the critter proof screen over yours worked out?
I know it is too late in the season now but for emergencies, at least where I am in the US, but mark your calendars and budget to have somebody come out this coming summer. It will be the off season and chimney sweeps will be hungry. It is not like they are expensive to start especially when you consider the cost of a chimney fire?
A good post, and not necessarily at the wrong time of the year. For instance: Here in S. GA. a lot of people burn pine wood as it is so plentiful, and actually almost free. Pine creates a lot of creosote within the chimney stack. When this creosote builds up and that "just one nice HOT fire" time comes along, then you get a stack fire. So many time you see on the news here where someone's chimney caught fire, when it is actually the creosote build-up within it. A good annual cleaning here, for those that really use their fireplace, is well worth it. Thanks, David