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      Turn up the heat

      As winter approaches and the temperatures drop, it becomes increasingly important to have a working furnace. Furnaces should be inspected each year around this time in preparation for winter.

      It should be on every homeowner's pre-winter checklist: furnace inspections. They should be tuned and cleaned every fall.

      "It's really important to make sure, especially this time of year, that our equipment is running the best it can," said Tom Beaudette, Lead Installer at Hudson Mechanical in Harvey.

      Inspections normally include a long list of things to check, including clear vents and clean filters. Technicians at Hudson Mechanical offer furnace checks at about $125 or higher depending on the type of furnace.

      "Technicians are very thorough. They may make you aware of any carbon monoxide leaks or any potential for future leaks that you're not aware of or your carbon monoxide detector may not be aware of," said Matt Greer, Sales Manager at Hudson Mechanical.

      Annual inspections also increase the longevity of the furnace. Most furnaces should be replaced about every 15 years. An efficiently running furnace can even cut down on your bills.

      "Going from an 80 percent standard efficiency furnace up to 92 to 95 percent can save you an average of 33 percent annually on your fuel consumption," Greer said. Michigan is in the process of setting new standards for furnace efficiency in 2013. Find out more here .

      A furnace has many parts that sometimes need replacement, but without professional inspections, it could void the warranties on new items and make a simple fix a real hassle.

      "You let repairs, that are easy to catch and reasonable enough to fix in the beginning, snowball out of control," Greer said.

      If you're unable to afford furnace inspections, The Department of Human Services may be able to help with the cost.