The past few days across Acadiana have been cloudy, gray, and cold. For most of us that has meant turning on the heating unit at the house, lugging in firewood for the fireplace or turning on a space heater for the room that we are in.

Tragically the desire to have our homes heated often leads to house fires.These cold conditions don't  have to be a reason to be fearful. Because most of those fires can be prevented with a systems check by you or a heating professional.

Let's take a look a the pros and cons of each kind of heating system and the things you should be aware of before and during use.


Gas Fireplaces- Gas fireplaces don't require quite the extensive preseason check that wood burning fireplaces do. However it is recommended that you have your gas fireplace serviced annually. This allows for a good cleaning and inspection and is great for piece of mind. If your gas fireplace has a glass screen built in, you should not remove it.

Wood Burning Fireplaces- The biggest issue with wood burning fireplaces is the build up of deposits in the chimney. Chimney fires are dangerous and deadly and they are caused by the deposits in the chimney igniting. The best way to prevent chimney fire is to have your chimney cleaned. You'd be surprised at the other things your chimney can become full of during the off season months. Birds, bees, raccoons and opossums have been known to find the shelter and security of an unused chimney to be quite the home sweet home.

Central Heating- The most obvious thing that a homeowner can do for any central system is change the filter. When was the last time you changed your filter? If you can't remember then you need to change it. You will save a lot of money if you do. It is recommended especially for homes with allergy sufferers to have the air ducts swept and vacuumed on a regular basis. This will also help rid your home of that annoying burning dust smell too. It's always a good idea to run the heater a little bit every month, even in the Summer. This will help removed the build up of dust in the system. It will also insure that your pilot light is on and functioning if you have a gas system.

Space Heaters- They sit at the feet of almost every female's desk in Acadiana. There is nothing worse than cold feet and nothing that can be a potential danger like a space heater. When used properly, space heaters are safe and work wonderfully. It is when we put them too close to papers, drapes, children or other combustibles that space heaters become deadly. Remember the space heater is designed to heat a small space so think before you turn it on and leave it on. Space heaters also pull a lot of electrical current. It's very important that you don't overload a circuit by plugging a space heater into a circuit that already is carrying a large load.

Open Flames- Charcoal grills, gas stoves and any other product that is not designed for the express purpose of providing heat is never a good idea. Charcoal fumes can kill you in an inclosed space. Leaving a gas stove turned on all night increases your risk of fire and should one of the burners go out, your home could be filled with gas. Just don't do this. You are better off finding some blankets.

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