When you imagine winter, ideally you think about a comfy evening curled up by the fire. But every now and then winter doesn't feel like going along with our plans, and we're left shivering in our own homes. You may not be able to prevent a blizzard from rolling through, but you can prevent your HVAC system from being ill prepared for winter. Nobody prefers or deserves an unreliable furnace, which is why we prepared this checklist for getting your HVAC system prepared for winter.

Five Ways to Prepare Your HVAC for a Winter Blast

1. Cover Your Outdoor Unit and Clean the Space Near It

Since most HVAC systems have an outdoor condenser unit to dispel heat, you'll want to ensure that the area nearby is clear of any yard debris. Clear 5 feet of space or so from any vegetation or rocks. It's also a good idea to ensure it's covered up by a piece of tarp or similar material through the winter. This keeps ice and anything else from getting inside the condenser.

2. Clean or Replace the Air Filter

Always inspect and clean out your air filter, usually located in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other contaminants can steadily collect in the air filter. If it continues unchecked, your furnace can lose efficiency and possibly even become a fire hazard. A fresh air filter enables air to flow smoothly, maintaining good ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality healthy. To get the most benefit from the filter, make sure to clean or replace it every couple of months or based on manufacturer instructions.

3. Clean the Blower

The blower is essential to your Lennox furnace, and as a key component it can attract a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it on occasion will help keep it in great shape. Vacuum the area near the blower and rub the blades with a microfiber cloth for optimal airflow. If you notice any unusual noises or are not getting any circulation from the vents, get a professional technician to examine your blower.

4. Search 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 damage to the condenser unit outside can contribute to all kinds of comfort problems, including heat leaking out before it makes it to your ductwork. If there is noticeable damage, talk to your local technician at Ameri-Tec about examining the system before the temperatures start falling. This way you can avoid letting a slight gap in the system transform into a major problem.

5. Test Your Furnace Before It Gets Too Cold

It's always smart to make sure your HVAC system is working properly before its busiest season. If not, your heating might be unprepared for the first true drop in temperatures. Performing a test run of your heating can give you the chance to notice potential problems then and there, while they're still simpler to correct. This also burns away any dust that might have accumulated in the air ducts beforehand, eliminating that burnt smell. As soon as your furnace is in working condition, you can sled away from any 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 spend some time 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 ready for next winter!