I love having fires as soon as the slightest chill starts to settle into the air. However, enjoying a fireplace isn’t all fun and games. Every fireplace needs to be cared for, no matter how infrequently you use it. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your wood burning fireplace cleaner and safer. The first step should be obvious, though for many of us it isn’t. What you burn matters. Just like how you don’t want to burn certain things when you’re cooking over a campfire, burning certain materials can also be harmful to your fireplace. The first step is to try and avoid using too much paper or cardboard. These materials can cause increased creosote buildup, so you want to burn as little of them as you possibly can. In lieu of paper and cardboard, try kindling or a firestarter stick. You can buy items in outdoor stores or even the camping section that are made specifically to start a fire naturally, without creating additional buildup. You also want to avoid putting woods that create sap in your fireplace, such as pine. These varieties can not only create more buildup, but will also cause additional sparking, which can be dangerous. The best things to burn in your fireplace are seasoned woods from a local firewood seller, such as apple or even birch. Burning an occasional creosote-removing log or tossing creosote removing chemicals onto a fire will also help with fireplace safety. And of course, be sure to have your chimney cleaned by a local HVAC professional at least once a year to insure everything is in perfect working order.