When you think of winter, ideally you think of a comfortable evening curled up by the fire. But sometimes winter decides not to go along with our plans, and we end up shivering in our own homes. You won't always be able to keep a blizzard from blowing through, but you can prevent your heating from being poorly equipped for winter. Nobody wants or deserves a faulty furnace, which is why we made this checklist for getting your HVAC system ready for winter.

Five Ways to Prepare Your HVAC for Winter

1. Cover Your Outdoor Unit and Clear the Space Nearby

Since most HVAC systems have an outdoor condenser unit to discharge heat, you'll want to ensure that the area nearby is clear of any yard debris. Clean 5 feet of space or so from any leaves or objects. It's also smart to ensure it's protected by a section of tarp or similar material through the winter. This keeps ice and anything else from getting inside the condenser.

2. Rinse or Replace the Air Filter

Always inspect and clean out your air filter, usually found in your furnace's indoor air handler. Dust, pollen, animal dander and many other kinds of debris can gradually accumulate in the air filter. If it grows unchecked, your heating could lose efficiency and potentially even become a fire hazard. A fresh air filter allows air to flow smoothly, sustaining sufficient ventilation and helping keep indoor air quality higher. To secure the most benefit from the filter, make sure to clean or exchange it every few months or based on manufacturer instructions.

3. Clean the Blower

The blower is essential to your Lennox furnace, and as an integral component it can collect a lot of wear and tear. Cleaning it on occasion will help keep it in great shape. Vacuum the area around the blower and brush the blades with a microfiber cloth for optimum airflow. If you’re hearing any odd noises or are not getting any circulation from the vents, hire a professional technician to check your blower.

4. Look for Gaps or Dents in Your Furnace

Make sure that your furnace is free of visible damage on the inside or outside units. A hole in the air handler or damage to the condenser unit outside may play a role in all sorts of comfort problems, such as heat escaping before it reaches your ductwork. If there is obvious damage, consult your local technician at Myers Furnace Company about examining the system before the temperatures start dropping. This way you can avoid letting a small 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 furnace is functioning properly before its busiest season. If not, your HVAC system could be unequipped for the first significant drop in temperatures. Conducting a test run of your furnace can give you the chance to detect potential problems right away, while they're still simpler to fix. This also removes any dust that might have piled up in the air ducts during the fall, removing that burnt smell. When your furnace is in working condition, you can sled away from any HVAC worries.

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

Winter weather should be heading this way before you know it. If you spend some time to get your furnace ready in advance, you can spend the rest of the season enjoying the holidays, having hot cocoa or spending time with your family inside a warm, cozy home. Remember to follow the tips above to get your home prepped for next winter!