To continue getting the enjoyment out of your fireplace you should inspect it regularly. Check the condition of the mortar in the firebox. If it is loose, missing, or crumbling it needs to be professionally repaired. Look for black deposits inside of the chimney or flue using a flashlight; presence of black deposits inside of the chimney or flue indicates the need for a licensed Chimney Sweep to clean the chimney in order to prevent a chimney fire. The chimney should be free of obstructions to prevent carbon monoxide from coming back into the house.