If your fireplace has not been working correctly, your chimney might not be open. Before you start a fire, you should open the chimney and fully clean it and fireplace the opening. This will allow air to flow freely and release the smoke from your home.
Clear all dirt, debris, old firewood and dust from the opening of your fireplace with your fireplace brush. Place it all in a large garbage bag and dispose it.
Cover the front of the fireplace with a heavy tarp. Make sure it is completely secure and will not allow any access to the inside of your home. Tape all of the edges to seal it.
Gain access to the roof on a ladder or through an upstairs window and bring a chimney brush with you. Move the brush up and down inside the chimney for a considerable amount of time to remove all debris and dirt. Do this until you can feel the brush reach the bottom the chimney.
Wait for at least one hour before removing the tarp that is covering your fireplace opening. This will allow time for the debris to settle before you continue the cleaning process.
Remove the tarp from the fireplace after waiting and sweep all debris into garbage bags until the fireplace opening and chimney are completely clean. The easiest way to finish this project is to vacuum all the debris. Empty the vacuum until the job is complete. Once you are finished, your chimney should be open and your fireplace will operate just fine.