Autumn is almost here—and that means Old Man Winter is just around the corner.

It also means it’s the perfect time to make sure your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit is ready to handle the coming onslaught of the winter months. A poorly maintained system will mean higher energy bills, so keep your costs down by getting ahead of the problem in the fall.

Follow these five HVAC maintenance tips to ensure your system is ready for winter.

1. Have Your Unit Inspected

A key point on any HVAC preventative maintenance checklist is having your unit inspected each year.

Ideally, this should be done in the fall, before the onset of the rigors of winter. You can help the process by checking out your unit first, looking for signs of rust, cracks, leaks, etc.

If you find any evidence, contact a certified HVAC contractor to schedule an inspection.

2. Swap the Air Filters

An essential component of any good HVAC maintenance plan, regardless of the time of year, is to regularly change the unit’s air filters.

The best scenario is to inspect the filters once a month and change them if necessary. The filters ought to be changed out every three months or so.

And while you’re changing the filters, consider vacuuming the vents to allow for free and clear airflow to your unit.

3. Cover the Condenser

You need to keep your air conditioner’s condenser unit protected during the harsh conditions of the winter months.

But don’t opt for covering it with plastic or vinyl waterproof covers. While convenient, these have the unwanted side effect of retaining moisture in the unit. This can contribute to corrosion and rust.

A simple cover of plywood will do to protect the condenser unit during the winter.

4. Replace the System If Necessary

Sometimes, the most important part of HVAC maintenance is knowing when to replace the unit.

If your HVAC system is old, its efficiency and effectiveness will suffer. It may be time to consider an upgrade. After all, the expense of a new system may not be all that much compared to the continual HVAC maintenance cost of an old unit.

5. Make Sure Your Home Is Well Insulated

Finally, an important part of preparing your HVAC system for winter is to ensure that your home, and especially your attic space, is well insulated.

The idea is to retain warm air in the house during the winter months. Poor insulation means more hot air escapes, which causes your system to work harder to keep your home warm.

Do yourself a favor and make sure your attic has enough insulation when heading into the winter months.

Use These HVAC Maintenance Tips to Prepare for Winter

The key to having a comfortable winter is proper HVAC maintenance. Following these simple tips should prevent any nasty surprises during the cold months.

Ensure that your system is checked regularly, and do your best to take care of it. It will repay the effort a thousand times over.

We hope you enjoyed this article. While you’re here, check out the rest of our blog for more great tips and advice.