Delis McNeil is getting ready for cold weather.
"A lot of smut was coming out on the floor," said McNeil.
She has never had her gas furnace or chimney cleaned.
After 12 years, she knew the sweep was long overdue.
"It's important that if you have any heating device within the home, it should be checked periodically to ensure you're not getting carbon monoxide into the home," said John Jamnick, chimney sweep.
Carbon monoxide is just one potential problem. Another concern with heating units is fire.
"When it's not combusting properly, flames could blow the door off and catch pine straw on fire," explained Steve Melkus of Cape Fear Air Conditioning.
Soot of any kind coming from a heating unit is a sign it is time to call the professionals. A good maintenance schedule can also save you a lot of money on your heating bill.
Peggy Helms schedules an inspection every year, so she wont get caught in the last minute rush.
"You really never know unless someone comes out and checks what actually could happen to it," said Helms.
If you will be using a space heater, check the cord to make sure there are no breaks or frays. You should also keep the space heater at least three feet away from any objects.