When you imagine winter, you hopefully imagine a comfortable 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 may not be able to prevent a blizzard from rolling through, but you can prevent your furnace and other HVAC equipment from being ill prepared for winter. Nobody wants or deserves a faulty furnace, which is why we created 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 Near It
Since most HVAC systems have an outdoor condenser unit to dispel heat, you'll want to see to it that the area close to the unit itself is clean of any yard debris. Clear 5 feet of space or so from any vegetation or objects. It's also a good idea to ensure it's covered by a bit of tarp or similar material through the winter. This keeps ice and anything else from getting inside the condenser.
2. Wash or Replace the Air Filter
Always evaluate and clean out your air filter, usually found 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 goes unchecked, your furnace can lose efficiency and potentially even become a fire hazard. A fresh air filter allows air to flow smoothly, maintaining sufficient ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality higher. To get the most benefit from your filter, make sure to clean or change it every couple of months or in line with manufacturer instructions.
3. Clean the Blower
The blower is crucial to your Lennox furnace, and as an integral 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 rub the blades with a microfiber cloth for more efficient airflow. If you’re hearing any odd noises or aren't getting any circulation from the vents, call 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 worsen all manners of comfort problems, including heat escaping before it reaches your ductwork. If there is significant damage, consult your local technician at JTech Mechanical about inspecting the system before the temperatures start falling. This way you can avoid letting a slight crack in the system grow into a major problem.
5. Test Your Equipment Before It Gets Too Cold
It's always smart to make sure your furnace is running properly before the middle of winter. Otherwise, your furnace might be unprepared for the first real drop in temperatures. Performing a test run of your furnace can offer you the opportunity to detect potential problems then and there, while they're still more straightforward to correct. This also burns away any dust that may have piled up in the air ducts beforehand, getting rid of that burnt smell. When your furnace is in working order, you can sled away from any HVAC worries.
A Well-Prepared Furnace Is a Great Way to Welcome Winter
Winter weather should be on the way before you know it. If you spend some time to get your furnace ready beforehand, you can spend the all winter enjoying the holidays, drinking hot cocoa or hanging out with your family inside a warm, cozy home. Be sure to follow the tips above to get your home prepared for next winter!