Getting Your HVAC System Ready for Winter

The colder months are on their way and while you get yourself ready with warm blankets and fuzzy socks, it’s important to get your HVAC system ready to take on the cold as well. Below are 5 key preparation tips that will have your air conditioning and furnace units in the best possible shape to keep your home nice and warm.

  1. Cover the AC Condenser

Your outdoor condenser is usually a metal box-shaped device with a fan inside. Unless your HVAC system is a heat pump, it’s important to cover your condenser to protect it from ice or other debris. This can be accomplished using a wooden board or a trash can lid secured with bungee cords. While some people prefer to cover their entire unit with a tarp, this is not recommended by professionals as it can trap moisture and attract bugs. Experts suggest that covering just the top is the best way to keep your condenser and fan clean and protected during the winter season.

  1. Change the Air Filters

Your air filters should already be changed regularly, about every 90 days, but it is particularly important to change them before the winter. When filters get clogged with air and debris, the furnace has to work harder to pull air through them. This can actually cause the furnace to break down, potentially resulting in entire system failure. Keeping your filters clean and clear will increase air quality and prevent your HVAC system from having to work too hard. This will ensure that your furnace runs smoothly and has no trouble keeping your home warm despite the cold.

  1. Test the Thermostat

Before it gets too cold, make sure your system is ready to go by turning on your thermostat and switching from cooling to heating. You can set the thermostat temperature just a couple degrees higher than the temperature of the room. After switching it on, you will likely hear the heating turn on within a minute or so. If this doesn’t happen, you may need to double check the power source to your HVAC system or make sure the wires are secure, however it may be best to bring in a professional to safely address the problem and make sure your system will be ready when you need it. 

  1. Schedule a Maintenance Check

While you may be able to change your filters and cover your AC condenser yourself, it never hurts to bring in an HVAC professional to double check all the functions in detail. This will ensure that your system stays safe, clean, and working as smoothly as possible. It will also prevent potential problems down the line, saving you money and time. This is especially important before the winter season. A professional can come in and make sure that your HVAC unit is prepared to keep your home safely heated and warm before the cold. 

  1. Set Your Ceiling Fans to Spin Clockwise

This is a small tip that can be easy to forget but makes a big difference. Setting your fans to spin clockwise causes the warm air to rise up, allowing the fan to disperse the warm air more evenly around your home. It’s also important to make sure your fan blades are tilted at a 12-15 degree angle. Flatter fan blades won’t be as effective. Combined with properly running heating, taking this small step will help keep your home comfortably warm during the winter season.