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As winter approaches, here are some tips for your furnace

Here's what to do if you're told you need a new furnace.

MINNEAPOLIS — It's a busy time of year for people in the heating business.

Gary Katz, the CEO and president of Total Comfort, said he's getting calls left and right from people who are beginning to prepare for the upcoming winter season.

"People start to get worried about, will my furnace make it through the long Minnesota winters?" Katz said.

Katz suggests an annual maintenance check, ideally well before winter begins. 

"If you tune them up every year," Katz said, "they're gonna run more efficient, they're gonna be safer."

During those tune-ups, if your furnace is found to be compromised, there's an industry term known as "red-tagging." It basically means that your furnace's heat exchanger has a crack in it, which, over time, can become a hole that emits dangerous carbon monoxide levels.

"When you get a red tag, it's important to find out: How serious is it?" Katz said.

A red tag doesn't necessarily mean you have to immediately go out and buy a new furnace. Scott Darsie, a technical trainer at CenterPoint Energy, encouraged people to do their research.

"I would encourage a second opinion," Darsie said. "Have other people came out and take a look at it."

On Wednesday, the Better Business Bureau warned homeowners to "beware of contractors who use scare tactics to convince people into authorizing unnecessary repairs."

The BBB also suggests a second opinion and, in particular, encourages an inspection from a utility company such as CenterPoint.

At Total Comfort — which is rated A+ by the BBB — the company will offer a free second opinion and will gladly accept a second opinion vice versa.

"We always tell our customers, if you call someone else out and get a second opinion on us, we'll be happy to meet them there to see in case it doesn't agree on our opinion," Katz said. "We definitely want to be doing the right thing."

RELATED: NOAA predicts snowier than usual winter for Minnesota, Wisconsin

RELATED: protect your home and potentially save yourself from winter troubles.

More tips to prepare your home for the winter. 

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