I had been having some trouble with the fireplace.
Some of the cement between the bricks was flaking out, and there was nothing but smoke coming into the house.
There was plenty of heat, but it was also putting smoke in our eyes. I talked to the HVAC company and asked who I should contact to get my fireplace repaired. They told me about a brick layer they knew. When I called the gentleman, he made an appointment to come out to the house. He said he could repair the broken bricks. That would make the hearth and mantle look better, but I needed someone to clean the chimney and make sure the flue was working properly. This made sense, and I called the local chimney sweep. He was there two days later. All I wanted was for my fireplace to be repaired before Christmas, and I was beginning to wonder if that was going to happen. When the chimney sweep was finished with the chimney, he had bad news. He said there was a lot of debris and creosote in the chimney that he had removed. There were also some broken bricks and cracks in between them that needed fixed. He wouldn’t suggest using the fireplace until I had the chimney repaired. I looked at my fireplace and shook my head. I was realizing a fire in the fireplace may not happen this year. I would just get a fireplace insert that ran on electricity, and hopefully I could find one that looked like it had flames in it.