Mountain Fuel Supply is urging customers to get their furnaces ready for winter - but beware of unethical individuals posing as Mountain Fuel representatives or furnace contractors.

"Every year we receive reports of people being taken advantage of by unethical individuals who either fail to perform promised services or who do a slipshod job that leaves appliances in an unsafe condition," said Susan Glassman, Mountain Fuel spokesperson.The company encourages customers to ask to see proper identification from anyone claiming to be a furnace contractor or Mountain Fuel representative. Mountain Fuel service technicians have company identification and do not ask for money at the door.

"Taking time now to tune up a furnace for winter can eliminate the inconvenience of possible operating problems later when colder weather makes a greater demand on heating equipment," Glasmann said. "A few simple maintenance procedures can increase the efficiency as well as the reliability of your furnace."

"It's a good idea to have your furnace inspected periodically by a licensed furnace contractor to detect any major mechanical problems," Glasmann said.

Glasmann listed four things that should be done prior to the heating season:

- Clean or replace filters.

- Check blower belt and oil blower motor. (Make sure blower doors are replaced properly for safe operation.)

- Make sure air ducts and vents/flues aren't obstructed.

- Remove flammable or combustible objects from around the furnace and give it a test run.