Watch out for bogus chimney improvements. Scammers may tell you that your fireplace is unsafe and needs a new liner. But unless you have visible problems such as cracks or loose or missing bricks, they're probably pulling a scam, says Santora. "They'll come to your house and offer a $50 cleaning, look down your chimney, and say you need $3,000 to $4,000 in repair work for the fireplace to work safely." The work they do is usually unnecessary, and it's your money that goes up in smoke. Before agreeing to an expensive repair, hire an independent home inspector or a professional chimney sweep to do an evaluation.