When you think of winter, ideally you think of a comfortable evening in your warm home. But once in a while winter doesn't want to go along with our plans, and we end up shivering in our own homes. You won't always be able to keep a blizzard from rolling through, but you can prevent your furnace and other HVAC equipment from being unprepared for winter. Nobody wants or deserves an unreliable furnace, which is why we prepared this checklist for getting your HVAC system ready for winter.

Five Ways to Prepare Your HVAC for Winter

1. Cover Your Outdoor Unit and Clean the Space Nearby

Since most HVAC systems have an outdoor condenser unit to dispel heat, you'll want to make sure that the area surrounding it is clear of any yard debris. Clear 5 feet of space or so from any leaves or objects. It's also a good idea to make sure it's protected by a bit of tarp or similar material during the winter. This keeps ice and other problems from getting inside the condenser.

2. Wash or Replace the Air Filter

Always evaluate and clean out your air filter, normally placed in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other contaminants can slowly collect in the air filter. If it continues unchecked, your furnace might lose efficiency and possibly even become a fire hazard. A clean air filter enables air to flow easily, maintaining sufficient ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality higher. To secure the most benefit from an air filter, make sure to clean or exchange it every two or three months or in line with 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 on occasion will help keep it in great shape. Vacuum the area next to the blower and clean the blades with a microfiber cloth for more efficient airflow. If you hear any strange noises or are not 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 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 play a role in all sorts of comfort problems, like heat leaking out before it moves into your ductwork. If there is obvious damage, speak with your local technician at Verona HVAC about checking out the system before the temperatures start dropping. This way you can avoid letting a small crack in the system grow into a major problem.

5. Test Your Furnace Before It Gets Too Cold

It's always smart to make sure your HVAC system is functioning properly before its busiest season. If not, your heating might be unprepared for the first real drop in temperatures. Conducting a test run of your furnace can give you the opportunity to discover potential problems early, while they're still more straightforward to correct. This also burns off any dust that might have piled up in the air ducts over the fall, eliminating that burnt smell. When 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 is going to be on the way before you know it. If you make an effort to get your furnace ready ahead of time, you can spend the rest of the season enjoying the holidays, having hot cocoa or relaxing with your family inside a warm, cozy home. Be sure to follow the tips above to get your home ready for next winter!