If the fireplace is dirty, smoke and fumes can build up inside of your home and make people sick.
The soot and smoke can also harm surfaces in your home and cause irreparable damage.
Your fireplace should be cleaned every season if you plan to use it frequently. My wife and I learned about proper fireplace care after a huge mishap occurred in our new home. We never owned a house with a fireplace and we didn’t realize that the chimney needed to be cleaned. In our second cold season, we started a fire early in the morning. I went to take a shower once the fire was burning. I wanted the house to be warm and cozy when I got out. Halfway through my shower I began to realize that smoke was filling the bathroom. I thought the house was on fire, so I contacted the fire department. I put on a robe and ran out of the house. The Fire Department chief told me that all of the smoke was due to a clogged chimney. The smoke couldn’t exit the house and it was backing up into all of the rooms. It was an easy problem to fix, but there was smoke all over the walls. We had to wash the walls and repaint everything in the dining room and the kitchen. It took an entire week to clean up all of the mess from that mistake. We certainly never forgot to clean the fireplace again. Once we realized the importance of that chore, it was on the tip of our list every winter.