With the chilly months well on their way, it's about time to turn off the air conditioning and fire up the furnace. But because your heater hasn't been on in months, you may need to take a few preparatory steps to ensure your furnace runs smoothly all winter long.

Even if you don't plan on turning on your furnace for a while, don't wait until the last minute to prepare for the cold temperatures-start now. To learn more about how to prepare your furnace for the winter months, keep reading. We'll address what you can do to get your furnace in tip-top shape before the season.

Check Your Thermostat

With a modern thermostat, you can keep your home heated when you're home or awake and turned down low when you're at work or asleep. This programming can save you quite a bit of money every month. So, to keep your bills low and your home warm, inspect your thermostat to ensure it's working.

Test your thermostat when you have a chance. Simply turn on the thermostat, and the heater should start up immediately. If there's a delay or the heater struggles to start up, you should call an HVAC specialist to take a look at the heater and the thermostat.

Look at the Filter

Before you get the heater going, check the filter. If it looks pretty dirty, change it right away. Overly dirty or clogged filters can keep warm air from getting through, thus lowering the efficiency of your furnace. If the filter is reusable, clean it thoroughly before slipping it back in.

Your filter should be cleaned or changed every two or three months, but you should check the filter every month to ensure it isn't too full of dust and debris. Some factors, such as climate, location, and lifestyle, can determine whether you need your filter changed more often or not.

Stockpile Filters

If your heating system uses disposable filters, you'll want to stock up on filters during the warm months for the winter season. Being prepared is always better, and with all the holidays and seasonal events coming up, having filters already on hand will save you a trip to the store amid a hectic schedule. Plus, you can get some decent deals during the summer if you think far enough ahead.

Uncover the Vents

Blocked or closed vents can prevent heat from spreading evenly throughout your home. Walk through your home and ensure all the vents are open and exposed. Scoot furniture off floor vents, and keep curtains away from wall vents.

Closed or blocked vents can overwork your heater, so keeping your vents open and uncovered can certainly help your heater last longer.

Clear the Area Around the Furnace

Your furnace can get pretty hot during operation, so you'll want to move items away from the furnace and clear any surrounding debris. Flammable items could catch fire if they're too close to the furnace, and the clutter can keep the furnace from working efficiently.

Refuel the Furnace

If your furnace runs on gas tanks, be sure you get your gas delivery before winter is in full swing-no matter how much gas is left. In the middle of winter, refueling your furnace can be expensive because everyone else is clamoring to put gas in their own furnace.

Have the Ducts Checked

Leaks from the ducts can lower the efficiency of your heating system, and heat can leak out of cracks and broken seams. Every now and then, have a heating professional take a look at your ducts to ensure there aren't any leaks and the ducts are in good condition.

You should also have your ducts inspected for any clogs or debris. Any blockages should be cleared to ensure heat gets to every area of the home.

Get the Furnace Cleaned and Inspected

Have an HVAC specialist take a look at your furnace before winter. He or she can spot any minor or major issues and repair them before they become a major problem. The last thing you want in the dead of winter is a broken down furnace and expensive repairs.

The specialist can also clean your furnace to ensure it's clean and functions properly. A good cleaning can help the furnace run more efficiently. But make sure you schedule an appointment as early as you can to get your furnace serviced before the best HVAC companies get busy.

To prepare yourself for the upcoming winter, use the tips above. Clear your vents and check your filters. Also, trust in a local HVAC professional, such as C.B. Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning. We can help you get your furnace and heating system ready for the chilly months, and our team of skilled technicians will treat you with kindness and respect. Give us a call today to learn more about our services.