Here are a few ways to prepare your home’s heating system for the upcoming cold. Taking a few minutes now can save a lot of anxiety on the first wintry day.

First, make sure your basement is clean. Dust or lint from a clothes dryer, sawdust from a woodworking project or pet hair can reduce your system’s efficiency and cause service problems.

Second, if it hasn’t been cold enough for your burner to kick on, take five minutes for this simple test. Turn the thermostat up above room temperature. Your furnace or boiler should come on. Let it run a few minutes. If there is a problem, we can get to you much quicker now than we can during the first cold snap (when everyone calls).

Third, an annual tune-up is the best way to make sure your system is ready for the cold. We can detect and prevent any problems that may occur. We’ll adjust your system to peak efficiency and help you save on your fuel bills. Customers who have a service agreement with us have an annual tune-up included with their agreement.

Additional tips include: moving furniture, paintings and other large items away from your vents so air flows freely; marking your fill pipe well and keeping it clear of leaves and snow during the heating season; and if you have an above ground tank consider using an anti-gelling additive in your oil (extreme cold may cause the oil in your tank or fuel line to gel, causing a no-heat situation and costly repair bill).