4 Ways to Prepare Your Home's Heat for Winter

We've had some cold nights but don't commit to the flannel sheets yet. Virginia's fall has had some beautiful warm days as well! And according the Farmers' Almanac, we may as well get used to this mixed bag of weather. Predictions for the 2020-2021 winter has already been anticipated to be just as fickle. Rain, sleet, snow, rain; we're talking bouts of unseasonably warm days followed by frigid dives into colder than normal temperatures and all the precipitation in-between. Sounds like a wintery ride! With all this uncertainty, one thing is for sure: cold weather is coming. And whenever you do feel chilled this winter, you'll want your home's furnace to be happily humming.


A Virginia home’s main heating system has a big job and a long road ahead.

You wouldn’t leave for your Thanksgiving travel without checking your car engine’s oil or the air pressure in the tires, right? Right! So it’s definitely a good time to get your furnace ready for its winter journey. Here are the 4 simple ways to prepare:

1. Have an annual inspection by an HVAC professional




HVAC systems are complex and require a trained pro to get them running right. They’ll check things like coils, pressure and airflow, burners and your heat exchanger. Dealing with a system failure is not pleasant when it’s freezing outside, not to mention it could damage other home systems. Let’s do it right!

Do you have oil-based heat? Here’s a solid information source for maintenance. 


2. Change or clean your filters

Don’t wait until you hear that terrible sound of heat ducts popping when the heat turns on and off. It's best to replace air filters monthly. If you’re not sure if you’ve gotten your money’s worth from your existing filters, here’s a better measure. Buy new filters and compare them to the old ones in front of a bright light. If you can’t see light filtering through the old filters, replace them.


3. Clean your duct vent inlets

This is a job tackled simply with your vacuum’s brush attachment tool. That annual inspection professional can also inspect the inner duct work for cleanliness, insulation, and tight connections as well as having them professionally cleaned. 

4. Reverse your ceiling fans (video)

Give your furnace a little help this winter by recirculating the naturally rising warm air trapped at your ceiling. Once your heat is running consistently, find the small black switch on the motor housing of your your ceiling fan to change the spin direction to clockwise.



There you go! Don’t worry if you rely on a fireplace, wood stove or other heat source in your home- we’ll cover those next. We need to chat about the extra care needed with those alternative heating helpers to protect against the #1 winter threat to your home: FIRE. We want to be sure things stay comfortable and safe for your family all winter long.


Learn more about homeowners insurance in Virginia >

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