SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The bitter cold in the forecast is keeping service technicians busy fixing furnaces all across western Massachusetts.

If you haven't fired up your furnace just yet, you may want to give it a try before you really need it. If something needs fixing, we're told you may have to wait a bit to get help.

The humm of heat. If you haven't heard this sound in your home just yet, some advice.

"If you're one of those proud New Englanders that waits 'til the last minute to turn the heat on, do yourself a favor and turn it on today. We won't tell anyone. Run the system, make sure it comes on and off for when you need it," said Gary Woodruff with Hurley and David.

Woodruff told Western Mass News that his technicians were kept busy over the past weekend with first time-of-the-season furnace users.

"Our on-call technicians over the weekend ran about 14 hours a day, each of them just trying to get to no heats because it decided to get cold on Saturday," Woodruff explained.

After a mild October, Woodruff said it seems like many customers forgot winter was coming. He said his staff and that of other companies in their industry are booking weeks out.

"Right now, our maintenance calls are booked way out into the future, but if you have no heat, we'll do everything we can to get out to you," Woodruff noted.

To avoid an emergency situation, Woodruff added, "You can go around and check the batteries, change the batteries in the thermostat, check the air filter in the system, make sure it's clear if you have a warm air system that blows hot air around."

When's the last time you changed that filter?

"Dirt and dust are the number one enemy of your heating and air conditioning system from an efficiency standpoint," Woodruff said.

Woodruff said change that filter once a month to make sure you're home is warm and toasty when the temperatures are not.

It may also go without saying, but Woodruff said make sure the service switch on your furnace is in the 'on' position...and this has happened! He said it's easy for that to inadvertently get switched off: an easy fix versus paying for a maintenance call.

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