When you think about winter, we hope you think of a comfortable 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 showing up, but you can prevent your heating from being ill prepared for winter. Nobody prefers or deserves a faulty furnace, which is why we made 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 discharge heat, you'll want to make sure that the area nearby is clean of any yard debris. Clean 5 feet of space or so from any plants or objects. It's also recommended to ensure it's covered up by a bit of tarp or similar material through the winter. This keeps ice and other debris from getting inside the condenser.

2. Rinse or Replace the Air Filter

Always evaluate and clean out your air filter, normally found in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other contaminants can gradually accumulate in the air filter. If it grows unchecked, your HVAC system could lose efficiency and maybe even become a fire hazard. A clear air filter helps air to flow easily, sustaining good ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality high. To secure the most benefit from an air filter, make sure to clean or replace it every few 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 attract a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it once in a while will help maintain strong performance. Vacuum the area around the blower and rub the blades with a microfiber cloth for more efficient airflow. If you hear any unusual noises or aren't getting any circulation from the vents, hire a professional technician to check 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 a large dent in the condenser unit outside may contribute to all sorts of comfort problems, such as heat leaking out before it makes it to your ductwork. If there is significant damage, talk to your local technician at Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC about inspecting the system before the temperatures start dropping. This way you can avoid letting a small flaw in the system grow into a major problem.

5. Test Your Heating Before It Gets Too Cold

It's always smart to make sure your HVAC system is running properly before its busiest season. Otherwise, your HVAC system may be unprepared for the first significant drop in temperatures. Performing a test run of your heating can give you the chance to recognize potential problems then and there, while they're still more straightforward to solve. This also burns away any dust that might have accumulated in the air ducts during the fall, eliminating that burnt smell. As soon as your furnace is in working condition, you can sled away from your HVAC worries.

A Well-Maintained Furnace Is a Great Way to Welcome Winter

Winter weather is going to be heading this way before you know it. If you make an effort to get your furnace prepped in advance, you can spend the 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 prepped for next winter!