Many areas have been lucky enough to still experience some lingering warm weather this fall, but that doesn’t mean the cooler weather won’t quickly come upon us. In fact, The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a pretty cold winter this year. Whether this prediction turns out is to be determined, but there’s no harm in preparing your heating system for the colder months anyway!

Inspect any ductwork for leaks

Leaks in the ductwork of your HVAC unit is something you want to avoid, especially before winter starts. Ductwork leaks can allow cold air from any attic, crawlspace, or other areas to get inside, thus lowering the temperature of the warm air. When this happens, homeowners further overwork their HVAC by turning up the temperature to make up for this leak. You can prevent this by sealing your ducts so they are ready to pump out the warm air you’ll need.

Give your furnace test runs during the mild weather

This is a good way to determine if your furnace needs some work before it’s too late and you’re stuck in the cold with no heat. Plus, you’ll be able to see if there’s anything around your furnace that would obstruct its airflow. Animals and other obstructions can end up inside the flue and vents during the off season. If you’re unsure how to properly take care of an issue, always contact a professional

Replace the filters

While you’re in the process of ensuring everything is clean and functional, you should replace the filters in your units. If your filters are dirty, your HVAC units will work less efficiently. Plus you could risk contaminants entering the air in your home, leading to sickness. Depending on what kind of filter you have, your filter could need replaced monthly, yearly, or any time in between. When in doubt, contact a professional for advice. Keep backup filters on hand so changing your filters is more of a convenience than a chore. 

Prepare any outdoor units for the winter

Your outdoor units need some attention, too, since outdoor units have exposure to more debris than indoor units. Clear the exterior of any grass or leaves and clip any plants growing around the unit. Trim any nearby bushes and trees to reduce risk of damage to the unit during a winter storm.

If you are concerned about the condensers in your outdoor air conditioning unit getting damaged by ice, you can purchase a cover for it. Keep in mind that heat pumps work differently and shouldn’t be covered.

Reprogram your thermostat

If you have a reprogrammable thermostat, you can program it so that it turns on and off automatically when you need it. For example, you can program it to start heating up your house before you wake up, and then program it to turn off while you’re at work. This will not only reduce your bills, but make sure that your HVAC isn’t overworking itself. Your wallet and heating units will thank you for the break.

Get the humidifier ready

There is one downside to having a warm house during winter, and that’s the dry air. Humidifiers will save your sinuses and skin from that furnace-provided warmth. The water panel within your humidifier should be changed at least twice per season. When you change it before winter, you’ll get a head start and allow it to perform its best. You should also inspect the drain line for leaks.

For fan-powered and steam humidifiers, you should wipe down the exterior and intake vent that leads to the fan. 

Remember, you want humidity in your home but not too much humidity, or else you’ll be exposed to mold and water damage.

Final Thoughts

As Eddard Stark once said, “Winter is coming.” Prepare your units for the change in weather to have a hassle-free cold season. Is there anything that we missed that you do to prepare for winter? Let us know in the comments!