When you imagine winter, we hope you think about a comfy evening in your warm home. But sometimes winter decides not to go along with our plans, and we end up shivering in our own homes. You might not be able to stop a blizzard from blowing through, but you can prevent your heating from being poorly equipped for winter. Nobody likes or deserves an unreliable furnace, which is why we made this checklist for getting your HVAC system prepared for winter.

Five Ways to Prepare Your HVAC for a Cold Winter

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

Since most HVAC systems have an outdoor condenser unit to release heat, you'll want to see to it that the area nearby is free 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 protected by a piece 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, normally found in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other kinds of debris can steadily accumulate in the air filter. If it grows unchecked, your furnace might lose efficiency and maybe even become a fire hazard. A fresh air filter enables air to flow smoothly, sustaining good ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality high. To secure the most benefit from the filter, make sure to clean or replace it every couple of months or in line with manufacturer instructions.

3. Clean the Blower

The blower is essential to your Lennox furnace, and as an essential component it can accumulate a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it once in a while will help it continue working at its best. Vacuum the area near the blower and clean the blades with a microfiber cloth for more efficient airflow. If you notice any unusual noises or aren't getting any circulation from the vents, hire a professional technician to check out your blower.

4. Check for Gaps or Dents in Your Furnace

Make sure that your furnace has no visible damage on the inside or outside units. A hole in the air handler or flaws in the condenser unit outside could contribute to all sorts of comfort problems, like heat leaking out before it makes it to your ductwork. If there is obvious damage, speak with your local technician at Fal-Ken Heating & Cooling Corporation about examining the system before the temperatures begin to drop. This way you can avoid letting a small gap in the system grow into a major problem.

5. Test Your Furnace Before It Gets Too Cold

It's always wise to make sure your HVAC system is working properly before its busiest season. If you don't, your furnace might be unequipped for the first real drop in temperatures. Doing a test run of your heating can offer you the opportunity to discover potential problems early, while they're still simpler to resolve. This also eliminates any dust that might have accumulated in the air ducts during the fall, removing 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 will be on its way before you know it. If you take the time to get your furnace ready ahead of time, you can spend the all winter enjoying the holidays, drinking 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!