When you think of winter, you hopefully think about a cozy evening at home. But sometimes winter decides not to go along with our plans, and we're stuck 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 likes or deserves a broken-down furnace, which is why we prepared this checklist for getting your HVAC system prepped for winter.
Five Ways to Prepare Your HVAC for a Cold Winter
1. Cover up Your Outdoor Unit and Clear the Space Near It
Since most HVAC systems have an outdoor condenser unit to discharge heat, you'll want to ensure that the area close to the unit itself is free of any yard debris. Clean 5 feet of space or so from any vegetation or rocks. It's also smart 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. Clean or Replace the Air Filter
Always evaluate and clean out your air filter, usually located in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other contaminants can gradually collect in the air filter. If it continues unchecked, your HVAC system could lose efficiency and potentially even become a fire hazard. A clean air filter allows air to flow easily, sustaining good ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality high. To get the most benefit from your filter, make sure to clean or exchange it every two or three months or based on manufacturer instructions.
3. Clean the Blower
The blower is vital to your Lennox furnace, and as an integral component it can accumulate a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it on occasion will help it continue working at its best. Vacuum the area near the blower and rub the blades with a microfiber cloth for more efficient airflow. If you’re hearing any unusual noises or aren't getting any circulation from the vents, call a professional technician to check out your blower.
4. Check for Gaps or Dents in Your Furnace
Make sure that your furnace doesn't have visible damage on the inside or outside units. A hole in the air handler or damage to the condenser unit outside could worsen all kinds of comfort problems, like heat leaking out before it moves into your ductwork. If there is significant damage, speak with your local technician at Fleming Heating & Air Conditioning Inc about examining the system before the temperatures begin to drop. This way you can avoid letting a slight gap in the system turn into a major problem.
5. Test Your Furnace Before It Gets Too Cold
It's always wise to make sure your heating or cooling is running properly before its busiest season. Otherwise, your HVAC system could be unprepared for the first true drop in temperatures. Conducting a test run of your heating can provide the opportunity to detect potential problems then and there, while they're still more straightforward to correct. This also eliminates any dust that might have gathered in the air ducts over the fall, eliminating that burnt smell. As soon as your furnace is in working shape, you can sled away from these HVAC worries.
A Well-Maintained Furnace Is a Great Way to Welcome Winter
Winter weather will be on its way before you know it. If you take the time to get your furnace prepared in advance, you can spend the all winter enjoying the holidays, sipping hot cocoa or hanging out with your family inside a warm, cozy home. Remember to follow the tips above to get your home ready for next winter!