When you imagine winter, ideally you imagine a comfy evening at home. But every now and then winter doesn't want 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 an unreliable 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. 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 see to it that the area nearby is clear of any yard debris. Clear 5 feet of space or so from any vegetation or objects. It's also recommended to ensure it's covered up by a section of tarp or similar material over the winter. This keeps ice and other problems from getting inside the condenser.

2. Rinse or Replace the Air Filter

Always check and clean out your air filter, customarily found in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other materials can slowly collect in the air filter. If it goes unchecked, your furnace can lose efficiency and maybe even become a fire hazard. A clear air filter helps air to flow more freely, maintaining adequate ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality high. To secure the most benefit from your filter, make sure to clean or exchange it every couple of months or in line with manufacturer instructions.

3. Clean the Blower

The blower is vital to your Lennox furnace, and as an integral component it can collect a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it once in a while will help keep it in great shape. Vacuum the area next to the blower and brush the blades with a microfiber cloth for more efficient airflow. If you’re hearing any unusual noises or are not getting any circulation from the vents, hire a professional technician to examine 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 flaws in the condenser unit outside can play a role in all kinds of comfort problems, including heat leaking out before it moves into your ductwork. If there is obvious damage, consult your local technician at Everest Heating & Cooling about examining 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 Equipment Before It Gets Too Cold

It's always wise to make sure your heating or cooling is working properly before its busiest season. If not, your heating may be unprepared for the first real drop in temperatures. Doing a test run of your furnace can give you the opportunity to recognize potential problems right away, while they're still easier to solve. This also burns away any dust that may have piled up in the air ducts beforehand, 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 is going to be on its way before you know it. If you make an effort to get your furnace prepared ahead of time, 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. Don't forget to follow the tips above to get your home ready for next winter!