Your furnace is the most important appliance in your home during the winter months, since it keeps your comfort levels stable and protects your plumbing and interiors from freezing and becoming damaged. In order to make sure that your furnace is in good working condition, there are a few things that you should do before the cold weather hits.
Change the Air Filter
The first and most important part of making sure that your furnace is prepared for the winter season is to replace the air filter. As its name would indicate, your furnace's air filter works to keep dust and dirt out of your furnace itself. You can take the air filter out of your furnace by hand – it's clearly marked and usually will slide right out, though sometimes you may need a screwdriver. Take the old filter into a hardware store to match it to a new air filter of the same size, and simply slide that one into place to ensure that your furnace's air flow is adequate once you turn the heat on.
Change the Thermostat
Another simple yet important thing that you should do to properly prepare your furnace is to set the thermostat to its proper temperature. Failing to switch your thermostat from cooling to heating can prevent your furnace from actually doing its job. Further, you should be sure to turn the fan and furnace on for a few minutes before the cold weather actually hits: you want to make sure that your furnace is actually producing and moving hot air throughout your home before you need it to. A lack of hot air coming out of your vents when your thermostat is set correctly means that you need to talk to a HVAC specialist about inspecting your system.
Clear the Vents
Another extremely important thing that you should do to ensure that your furnace is able to properly operate once the temperature dips below freezing is to clear away the areas around your air vents. This means moving debris, like shoes and books, which may be blocking them, and rearranging furniture to allow air that moves out of those vents enough space to flow throughout the room. In a similar vein, you should also dust the outside of the vent to remove any debris which may be blocking them – it's also a good idea to unscrew the vent covers and dust or vacuum the interior as well for best results.
Speak with local heating services for more help.