When you imagine winter, you hopefully imagine a cozy evening at home. But every now and then winter decides not to go along with our plans, and we're stuck shivering in our own homes. You may not be able to prevent a blizzard from showing up, but you can prevent your HVAC system from being unprepared 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 Around It
Since most HVAC systems have an outdoor condenser unit to release heat, you'll want to see to it that the area nearby is free of any yard debris. Clear 5 feet of space or so from any vegetation or sticks. It's also a good idea to make sure it's covered up by a bit of tarp or similar material over the winter. This keeps ice and other problems from getting inside the condenser.
2. Wash or Replace the Air Filter
Always check and clean out your air filter, usually found in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other materials can gradually accumulate in the air filter. If it goes unchecked, your heating might lose efficiency and potentially even become a fire hazard. A fresh air filter helps air to flow more freely, maintaining adequate ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality healthy. To secure the most benefit from the filter, make sure to clean or replace it every couple of months or in line with manufacturer instructions.
3. Clean the Blower
The blower is essential to your Lennox furnace, and as a key component it can collect a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it now and then will help keep it in great shape. Vacuum the area around the blower and clean the blades with a microfiber cloth for more efficient airflow. If you hear any unusual noises or are not getting any circulation from the vents, hire a professional technician to check 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 may worsen all manners of comfort problems, like heat escaping before it reaches your ductwork. If there is obvious damage, consult your local technician at Gee & Missler Heating & Air Conditioning about checking out the system before the temperatures start dropping. This way you can avoid letting a minor crack in the system turn into a major problem.
5. Test Your Heating Before It Gets Too Cold
It's always wise to make sure your HVAC system is working properly before the middle of winter. If you don't, your HVAC system might be unprepared for the first significant drop in temperatures. Doing a test run of your furnace can provide the opportunity to detect potential problems early, while they're still easier to resolve. This also removes any dust that may have piled up in the air ducts beforehand, eliminating that burnt smell. When your furnace is in working condition, you can sled away from any HVAC worries.
A Well-Prepared Furnace Is a Great Way to Welcome Winter
Winter weather will be on the way before you know it. If you take the time to get your furnace prepared ahead of time, you can spend the rest of the season enjoying the holidays, drinking hot cocoa or spending time with your family inside a warm, cozy home. Remember to follow the tips above to get your home ready for next winter!