To help keep bugs from coming in your home, stack your firewood up off the ground and away from your home. Use racks, crates, boards, or stones to keep the wood off of the ground.
Burn only well seasoned hardwoods, such as oak, maple, beech, ash or hickory. Wood should sit for a year or so to season.
Have your chimney checked once a year and install a chimney cap to keep out animals and other items that could block the chimney.
If you live in a house that's old enough to have perhaps had a coal or oil furnace at one time and it now has a gas furnace, have your chimney cleaned!! We noticed our windows steaming up for years (which we thought was great) and even though we'd had headaches and vomiting in the winters, I never thought about it until I smelled gas (and my husband wasn't home to tell me I was nuts). I called the gas co. They found no sign of gas but their carbon monoxide detector went crazy. All the buildup in the chimney from the coal and oil furnaces melted from the higher temp of the gas. Our chimney was blocked to a level of 7 feet from the ground. If we'd been able to put one the new storm windows we wanted and down the rest of the winterizing, we would have all been dead. A CO detector is a must, even if you don't think you need one!! (Pat)
Fireplace Glass doors
Clean the fireplace glass doors when cool with a mixture of 1/2 vinegar, 1 tbsp ammonia, and 1 gallon of water. Best to use cotton cloth or newspapers to wipe with.
Heating Source Cleaning
During the heating season, stretch the life of the furnace filter and also help your furnace operate more efficiently. Once a week or so I take my vacuum cleaner hose and suction off the accumulated dust etc from my furnace filter...you can use an attachment like the dusting brush, the furniture nozzle or just the curved nozzle on the end of the vacuum cleaner hose. I then take my vacuum cleaner hose and suction out the fireplace ashes (of course, wait several hours after the fireplace was last used and remove any wood chunks first so you don't clog your vacuum cleaner hose!). I dust out my fireplace this way a couple of times a week and then never have a large/messy ash accumulation to have to shovel out. (Jean-JGMCubs)
A BEWARE NOTE: In regard to the "Heating Source Cleaning" I would advise the readers to turn off the power source before vacuuming or removing the filter. We just had our furnace serviced and the service guy made a point of telling me that. He said around our filter there are electric wires. I don't know for sure if that applies to all furnaces. (Murdockhelms)