When you think of winter, ideally you think of a cozy evening curled up by the fire. But every now and then winter doesn't feel like going along with our plans, and we're left shivering in our own homes. You might not be able to prevent a blizzard from blowing through, but you can prevent your furnace and other HVAC equipment from being ill prepared for winter. Nobody prefers or deserves an unreliable furnace, which is why we made this checklist for getting your HVAC system prepped for winter.
Five Ways to Prepare Your HVAC for a Cold Winter
1. Cover Your Outdoor Unit and Clear the Space Around It
Since most HVAC systems have an outdoor condenser unit to discharge heat, you'll want to see to it that the area surrounding it 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 up by a section of tarp or similar material over the winter. This keeps ice and anything else from getting inside the condenser.
2. Rinse or Replace the Air Filter
Always check and clean out your air filter, usually located in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other materials can slowly build up in the air filter. If it continues unchecked, your HVAC system might lose efficiency and potentially even become a fire hazard. A fresh air filter allows air to flow easily, sustaining sufficient ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality healthy. To enjoy the most benefit from your filter, make sure to clean or replace it every couple of 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 collect a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it now and then will help it continue working at its best. Vacuum the area around the blower and clean the blades with a microfiber cloth for optimum airflow. If you hear any odd noises or are not getting any circulation from the vents, get a professional technician to examine your blower.
4. Look 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 flaws in the condenser unit outside can play a role in all sorts of comfort problems, such as heat escaping before it moves into your ductwork. If there is significant damage, speak with your local technician at Stephen Hurst Pack Heating and Cooling, Inc about inspecting the system before the temperatures start dropping. This way you can avoid letting a slight flaw in the system transform into a major problem.
5. Test Your Heating Before It Gets Too Cold
It's always wise to make sure your heating or cooling is working properly before the middle of winter. If you don't, your heating may be unequipped for the first real drop in temperatures. Doing a test run of your heating can provide the chance to notice potential problems right away, while they're still easier to solve. This also removes any dust that will often have gathered in the air ducts over the fall, removing that burnt smell. Once your furnace is in working order, you can sled away from your HVAC worries.
A Well-Maintained Furnace Is a Great Way to Welcome Winter
Winter weather should be on its way before you know it. If you take the time to get your furnace prepped beforehand, you can spend the all winter enjoying the holidays, having hot cocoa or spending time with your family inside a warm, cozy home. Don't forget to follow the tips above to get your home prepared for next winter!