It's important to make sure that your heating system is working properly, no matter what form that takes during the cold winter.

For many that includes modern solutions such as electric furnaces and space heaters, but others take a more traditional approach.

For other homes, analog fireplaces can provide a source of warmth in the winter.

But it's important to make sure that's properly cleaned, as otherwise, that could have serious consequences.

Excel Vac Services Owner Cam Rutledge details how he gauges whether a chimney needs to be cleaned.

"We usually do a visual inspection on those. Quite often you'll get a smell coming back from those. For me, to go in there and you can tell there's a smell coming from it, it usually means it's in need of a cleaning."

The substance that gathers on the interior of a chimney is called creosote and has a burnt log smell according to Rutledge.

He also details the consequences that can come from extended creosote buildup in houses.

"Sometimes the top of the cap will get plugged off, then you get a backdraft and it comes in the house. That's an extreme case."

That creosote can also catch fire in extreme cases, burning down the house it's attached to.

Rutledge also recommends checking electric furnaces and other heating appliances, since even more modern systems can get blocked up as well.