man changing an air filter

When you think about winter, you hopefully imagine a comfy evening curled up by the fire. But once in a while winter doesn't want to go along with our plans, and we end up shivering in our own homes. You might not be able to keep a blizzard from blowing through, but you can prevent your furnace and other HVAC equipment from being poorly equipped for winter. Nobody wants or deserves an unreliable furnace, which is why we made this checklist for getting your HVAC system prepared for winter.

Five Ways to Prepare Your HVAC for a Cold Winter

1. Wrap up Your Outdoor Unit and Clear the Space Nearby

Since most HVAC systems have an outdoor condenser unit to dispel heat, you'll want to ensure that the area surrounding it is clear of any yard debris. Clear 5 feet of space or so from any plants or objects. It's also recommended to ensure it's covered up by a section of tarp or similar material during the winter. This keeps ice and anything else from getting inside the condenser.

2. Wash or Replace the Air Filter

Always check and clean out your air filter, normally placed in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other contaminants can steadily collect in the air filter. If it grows unchecked, your HVAC system might lose efficiency and possibly even become a fire hazard. A fresh air filter allows air to flow smoothly, maintaining sufficient ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality healthy. To get the most benefit from an air filter, make sure to clean or change it every few months or according to manufacturer instructions.

3. Clean the Blower

The blower is vital to your Lennox furnace, and as a key component it can attract a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it now and then will help maintain strong performance. Vacuum the area next to the blower and brush the blades with a microfiber cloth for more efficient airflow. If you notice any odd noises or are not getting any circulation from the vents, hire a professional technician to check out your blower.

4. Check for Gaps or Dents in Your Furnace

Make sure that your furnace is free of visible damage on the inside or outside units. A hole in the air handler or damage to the condenser unit outside may worsen all sorts of comfort problems, such as heat escaping before it reaches your ductwork. If there is noticeable damage, talk to your local technician at Bishop’s HVAC about inspecting the system before the temperatures begin to drop. This way you can avoid letting a slight gap in the system grow into a major problem.

5. Test Your Furnace Before It Gets Too Cold

It's always practical to make sure your HVAC system is running properly before its busiest season. Otherwise, your heating could be unequipped for the first true drop in temperatures. Conducting a test run of your heating can provide the opportunity to notice potential problems then and there, while they're still simpler to fix. This also burns away any dust that might have gathered in the air ducts beforehand, getting rid of that burnt smell. As soon as your furnace is in working condition, you can sled away from any HVAC worries.

A Well-Maintained Furnace Is a Great Way to Welcome Winter

Winter weather is going to be heading this way before you know it. If you take the time to get your furnace prepared ahead of time, you can spend the winter enjoying the holidays, having hot cocoa or spending time with your family inside a warm, cozy home. Be sure to follow the tips above to get your home ready for next winter!