Ask Dirk: How can I prep my HVAC system for winter? |

Ask Dirk: How can I prep my HVAC system for winter?

By Dirk Roper

If you haven’t already, you’ll probably be turning your thermostats to “heat” in the near future (for those of us who have a furnace instead of, say, a woodstove). We recommend yearly maintenance and upkeep on your heating and air conditioning equipment, and now is a good time to make sure that your furnace and home heating systems are in good working condition to keep you comfortable throughout the colder months.

We put together a checklist to get your HVAC systems as winter ready as possible this fall.

Change your air filters

Air filters remove particulate matter (dust, pollen, pet dander, molds, and more) from the air in your home. A clean air filter also helps your HVAC system run more efficiently. Clogged filters can cause your system to work harder, resulting in energy loss or even a faster degradation of your equipment. Change your air filter at least twice a year, and it’s an especially good idea to replace it after our recent fire and smoke season.

Schedule maintenance

Just like a vehicle, your furnace needs regular maintenance to ensure it is operating safely and properly, and to find potential issues before they become emergencies. We recommend servicing your furnace and AC every year.

Clean around your furnace

If your furnace likely hasn’t been used in several months, be sure the area immediately around it is clean and free of any hazards. Call a professional if you suspect the burners or blowers need attention, but you can do a visual inspection of the exterior areas on your own. Clear away any cobwebs and be sure nothing is placed or leaning within two to three feet of the furnace.

Check and unblock vents

Whether or not you had your central AC running during the summer, it’s a good idea to run a visual inspection of your floor, wall and ceiling vents. Be sure that all airduct vents are open to allow your system to run efficiently. If furniture is blocking any of your vents, consider moving it to allow for optimal operation of your equipment.

Run a test of your system

You may have turned your furnace on by now. Pay close attention to any unusual sounds, smells, or visual changes (like leaks or smoke) and make sure the house does actually heat to the desired temperature.

Test your carbon monoxide detector

Most furnaces burn gas and therefore can produce carbon monoxide. The carbon monoxide that your furnace produces is mainly contained within the unit. To ensure the safety of you and your family, it’s a good idea to regularly test your carbon monoxide detector and replace the batteries annually. Each detector will differ, but many have a test button on the front of the unit that will emit a shrill noise when pressed or pressed and held.

Check the house for leaks

One way to keep your home a little warmer in the winter is to ensure your home is properly sealed, so that less heat can escape and that less cold air is sucked in due to pressure changes inside the home. While you may need to call in a professional to help with larger issues, you can check and possibly repair common air leaks. Look for gaps in door and window jambs, around the ducts in your vents, and in your attic and/or crawlspace and do your best to fill or insulate these areas.

Remember, if you haven’t had your furnace serviced this year, it’s a good time to call your trusted HVAC technician.

About Roper’s Heating and Air Conditioning: For more than 30 years Roper’s Heating and Air Conditioning has been providing essential indoor climate management services to the citizens of western Nevada. Roper’s is a family-owned, community-oriented business that specializes in the restoration and preservation of Total Home Comfort. Roper’s Heating and Air Conditioning is located at 2062 S. Edmonds Drive in Carson City. For more information, visit