There’s nothing better to come home to than a warming fireplace is there. The ambience is warming and homely, whether you’ve stacked the logs and fanned the flames yourself, or flicked the switch and sunk into the sofa with an oversized mug of coffee and a box of chocolates like an A-lister celebrity between movie scripts. Wood-burning stoves are romantic, gas fires are evocative and convenient, and the perfect fireplace is everyone’s perfect idea of a focal point for the home.

But after a while, you might find that your beautiful fireplace needs a bit of a service or a facelift to keep it working at its best. Here are a few signs to look out for. These are factors that will help you tell when it might be time to starting thinking about a new fireplace for your home.

The first warning sign you’re probably going to notice with electric fires is a drop in the output of heat. This one applies to all electric appliances and has to do with ageing electronics and the need to upgrade and take advantage of the benefits of improving technology. Remember that however much heat is - or isn't - coming from your fireplace, if you’re plugging the fire in, you’re still paying for electricity. Best to get it seen to sooner rather than later.

When it comes to gas fires, the warning sign might be that your gas bill is higher than expected. The problem could well be that the system isn’t quite as efficient as it used to be, and you just need a qualified gas engineer to drop in and take a closer look. With any luck, they’ll find a quick fix that will lower your energy bills and warm your home more cost-effectively. If they spot something more serious though, it’ll be good for that to be sooner rather than later. Make sure you pick a professional who is registered; you don’t want to take a chance when it comes to gas.

Have you had a look at your chimney stack lately? It’s worth going outside and glancing up on the roof now and then. For a chimney to do its job properly, drawing air up and venting the smoke, it needs to be in good condition. Chimneys can deteriorate over time and that can cause a problem for your heating. Moreover, when there’s structural damage it can cause a problem for the integrity of the house itself and the health and safety of those nearby. This warning sign also applies to any leaking you notice around the chimney, running down the inside or the outside of the building. If you see any kind of lean or distortion in the shape of your chimney, call someone in to take a professional look, to be on the safe side.

Whatever your heating system, whether it’s an electric fireplace, wood-burning stove, or a gas fire, keep it well-maintained and serviced so that you can use it safely and efficiently. And if you’re wondering if its possible to transfer from, say, electric fires to gas fires, get in touch. The benefits of a new fireplace could transform your home, and even save you money in the long run.