When you think of winter, we hope you think about a comfy evening at home. But every now and then winter doesn't want to go along with our plans, and we're stuck shivering in our own homes. You might not be able to keep a blizzard from blowing through, but you can prevent your HVAC system from being poorly equipped for winter. Nobody prefers or deserves an unreliable furnace, which is why we made this checklist for getting your HVAC system ready 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 dispel heat, you'll want to make sure that the area nearby is free of any yard debris. Clean 5 feet of space or so from any leaves or sticks. It's also recommended to make sure it's covered by a piece of tarp or similar material during the winter. This keeps ice and other debris from getting inside the condenser.

2. Wash or Replace the Air Filter

Always evaluate and clean out your air filter, customarily located in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other materials can steadily collect in the air filter. If it goes unchecked, your HVAC system could lose efficiency and possibly even become a fire hazard. A fresh air filter enables air to flow smoothly, maintaining sufficient ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality healthy. To secure the most benefit from the filter, make sure to clean or change it every two or three months or according to manufacturer instructions.

3. Clean the Blower

The blower is crucial to your Lennox furnace, and as a key component it can accumulate a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it now and then will help it continue working at its best. Vacuum the area near the blower and rub the blades with a microfiber cloth for optimal airflow. If you notice any unusual noises or can't get any circulation from the vents, get a professional technician to check out your blower.

4. Search 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 may contribute to all manners of comfort problems, such as heat escaping before it moves into your ductwork. If there is significant damage, speak with your local technician at May's Heating & Air about examining the system before the temperatures begin to drop. This way you can avoid letting a minor crack in the system transform into a major problem.

5. Test Your Furnace Before It Gets Too Cold

It's always wise to make sure your furnace is functioning properly before its busiest season. Otherwise, your HVAC system could be unprepared for the first significant drop in temperatures. Conducting a test run of your furnace can provide the opportunity to recognize potential problems early, while they're still simpler to solve. This also eliminates any dust that may have gathered in the air ducts over the fall, eliminating that burnt smell. Once your furnace is in working order, 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 prepared beforehand, you can spend the all winter 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!