When you think about winter, you hopefully imagine a comfy evening at home. But every now and then winter decides not to go along with our plans, and we end up shivering in our own homes. You may not be able to keep a blizzard from blowing through, but you can prevent your HVAC system from being unprepared for winter. Nobody prefers or deserves a faulty furnace, which is why we created this checklist for getting your HVAC system ready for winter.
Five Ways to Prepare Your HVAC for a Cold Winter
1. Wrap up Your Outdoor Unit and Clean the Space Around 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 plants or objects. It's also smart to ensure it's covered by a section of tarp or similar material over the winter. This keeps ice and anything else from getting inside the condenser.
2. Clean or Replace the Air Filter
Always inspect and clean out your air filter, usually placed in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other materials can slowly accumulate in the air filter. If it goes unchecked, your heating can lose efficiency and maybe even become a fire hazard. A clean air filter allows air to flow more freely, maintaining adequate ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality high. To enjoy the most benefit from the filter, make sure to clean or change it every two or three months or according to manufacturer instructions.
3. Clean the Blower
The blower is crucial to your Lennox furnace, and as a key component it can accumulate a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it now and then will help maintain strong performance. Vacuum the area near the blower and clean the blades with a microfiber cloth for optimal airflow. If you notice any unusual noises or can't get 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 could contribute to all manners of comfort problems, like heat escaping before it reaches your ductwork. If there is significant damage, speak with your local technician at Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning about checking out the system before the temperatures start falling. This way you can avoid letting a small gap in the system grow into a major problem.
5. Test Your Equipment Before It Gets Too Cold
It's always wise to make sure your HVAC system is functioning properly before the middle of winter. If you don't, your furnace might be unprepared for the first significant drop in temperatures. Performing a test run of your furnace can give you the opportunity to detect potential problems then and there, while they're still simpler to fix. This also burns away any dust that will often have piled up in the air ducts during the fall, eliminating that burnt smell. Once your furnace is in working condition, you can sled away from your HVAC worries.
A Well-Prepared Furnace Is a Great Way to Welcome Winter
Winter weather should be on its way before you know it. If you make an effort to get your furnace prepped ahead of time, you can spend the rest of the season enjoying the holidays, sipping hot cocoa or relaxing with your family inside a warm, cozy home. Be sure to follow the tips above to get your home prepped for next winter!