When you think of winter, we hope you think about a cozy evening at home. But once in a while winter decides not to go along with our plans, and we're stuck shivering in our own homes. You won't always be able to keep a blizzard from blowing through, but you can prevent your HVAC system from being poorly equipped for winter. Nobody wants or deserves a faulty furnace, which is why we prepared this checklist for getting your HVAC system prepared for winter.

Five Ways to Prepare Your HVAC for Winter

1. Cover up Your Outdoor Unit and Clear the Space Near It

Since most HVAC systems have an outdoor condenser unit to release heat, you'll want to ensure that the area close to the unit itself is clean of any yard debris. Clean 5 feet of space or so from any plants or objects. It's also a good idea to ensure it's covered by a section of tarp or similar material through the winter. This keeps ice and anything else from getting inside the condenser.

2. Rinse or Replace the Air Filter

Always inspect and clean out your air filter, customarily located in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other contaminants can gradually accumulate in the air filter. If it goes unchecked, your HVAC system might lose efficiency and maybe even become a fire hazard. A fresh air filter helps air to flow more freely, sustaining good ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality higher. To secure the most benefit from the filter, make sure to clean or change it every few months or based on manufacturer instructions.

3. Clean the Blower

The blower is crucial to your Lennox furnace, and as an integral component it can attract a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it on occasion will help maintain strong performance. Vacuum the area around the blower and clean the blades with a microfiber cloth for optimal airflow. If you hear any unusual noises or can't get any circulation from the vents, call a professional technician to check out your blower.

4. Look 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 a large dent in the condenser unit outside may worsen all sorts of comfort problems, such as heat leaking out before it makes it to your ductwork. If there is obvious damage, consult your local technician at Ambience HVAC, Inc. about examining the system before the temperatures start falling. This way you can avoid letting a minor gap 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 furnace is functioning properly before the middle of winter. Otherwise, your furnace could be unprepared for the first significant drop in temperatures. Conducting a test run of your heating can offer you the opportunity to discover potential problems early, while they're still simpler to fix. This also eliminates any dust that may have gathered in the air ducts over the fall, 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 should be on its way before you know it. If you spend some time to get your furnace ready in advance, you can spend the rest of the season enjoying the holidays, drinking 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!