The winter months carry a number of unpleasant characteristics with them, including cold weather and harsh winds. Fortunately, your furnace works constantly to maintain a comfortable temperature level within your home no matter the weather outdoors. In order to ensure that your furnace is doing so effectively and efficiently, there are a few different maintenance tasks that you should perform before the cold weather hits.
New Air Filters
By far the most important thing that you should do to get your furnace ready for the cold weather is to make sure that you have installed a new air filter in your unit. Air filters will keep dust and other debris out of your furnace and ductwork, and a clean filter ensures that your furnace is able to pull in enough air to heat the entirety of your home. You can remove the old air filter and take it with you to most hardware stores to match it to a replacement filter if you don't have any on hand.
In a similar vein to the above point, you should make an effort to inspect all of the vents around your home as well. Cleaning vents out and removing dust that may have accumulated over the summer can help ensure that your furnace is able to distribute air effectively once it turns on. Also be sure to remove any furniture which may be covering vents, as this can reduce how well your furnace can heat your home.
If you don't notice a whole lot of air flow or temperature change the first few times that you turn your furnace on despite replacing the air filter and cleaning the vents, the issue may be with blockages within your ductwork itself. An HVAC professional like those with Scott's Heating & Air Conditioning Services will have to come in with specialized equipment to clean the ducts out and get things flowing properly again.
Clear the Exhaust Flue
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if you have a gas furnace, you should always take the time to inspect the exhaust flue around the exterior of your home. This is the pipe that will vent exhaust gases out from your home. It therefore needs to be completely clear of leaves and other pieces of debris which could cause those gases to become trapped, which can lead to the inefficient operation of your furnace and can also represent a serious safety hazard for your home. If you can't locate your exhaust flue, getting in touch with an HVAC contractor for an inspection is probably a good idea.