As winter approaches, make sure your HVAC system is ready for peak performance. You may avoid failures and pricey repairs by following these 5 winter preparation suggestions.

Alter the filter

Throughout the summer, your air conditioner has been running. Now that you’re changing to winter time, determine if the filter needs to be updated. The dirt that gets sucked into the HVAC system is frequently the leading cause of HVAC system failure. A clogged filter also reduces the efficiency of your system.

Make sure you check your air filter every 30 days and wait no longer than 90 days to replace it. Keep enough of spare air filters on hand so you don’t have to use the excuse of not having a replacement.

Learn why filters are so important and how to choose the best filter replacement.

Turn on your furnace at least three times while the weather is still pleasant outside.

Make sure to switch on your furnace at least three times while the weather is still mild. You don’t want to turn on your furnace on the first very cold day only to discover that it no longer works.

A lot of times, furnaces will have things going on inside such as squirrels and creatures becoming stuck in flue and ventilation systems. During the off-season, your heating system might develop a variety of issues.

You want to test your furnace early in the season, while the weather is still pleasant.

Conduct a visual inspection around the furnace

No matter where your furnace is located — in the attic, garage, or closet — a visual inspection before, and periodically during, the heating season is recommended.

Contact a professional if your furnace is in the attic and difficult to access.

Remove everything in the vicinity of the furnace. A 3-foot clearance should be maintained around the entire unit. We don’t want anything draped over the furnace or laying around it.

These furnaces must also breathe. If there is a lot of material around the furnace, it reduces airflow and causes them to break down and not perform effectively.

Learn more about winter heating safety to avoid gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, water leaks, electrical shocks, and fires.

Make sure you have a programmable thermostat and that it is properly programmed.

It’s a good idea to check your thermostat as the seasons change. You can set your thermostat to turn on 30 minutes before you wake up so that everything is lovely and warm by the time you roll out of bed.

You can even configure it to shut off when you leave in the morning and then come back on 30 minutes before you arrive, and then shut off at night if you like it cool in the evening.

Smart and programmable thermostats come with a plethora of capabilities. Consult your owner’s manual or call a service provider who can help you get that set up.

Here’s a suggested weekly thermostat schedule for winter.

Make sure you have proper maintenance performed at least once a year.

A furnace emits carbon monoxide and uses natural gas to generate heat. We don’t recommend homeowners experiment with these two volatile elements.

Your furnace has a flame inside. You should have it inspected by a service provider once a year to ensure that it is burning safely and efficiently. Your HVAC professional will also clean the entire system, which will improve indoor air quality and increase the system’s lifespan.