As the seasons change from summer to autumn, it’s time to stop using your air conditioner and turn on the heater. Before you can enjoy the cozy warmth of the furnace, there are a few steps you need to take if you want to use your unit safely and effectively.

1. Schedule a furnace inspection

Scheduling a furnace inspection ahead of time ensures that your furnace is ready to go when the cold weather strikes. You don’t need to wait for a furnace inspection in order to turn on the heat, it can still happen after the furnace has been running for a while.

2. Change the furnace filter

The furnace filter needs to be cleaned or changed every three months. When it gets clogged, the furnace won’t run as efficiently. Furnaces and air conditioners typically share a filter, so changing it is important even if you haven’t run the furnace for months.

3. Clean and turn on the humidifier

If you have a whole home humidifier, you need to turn it on before using the furnace. Then you can either have a professional clean the humidifier or do it yourself. Keeping your house at a good humidity level has many benefits throughout the winter, including saving money on heating bills and decreasing your chances of getting the flu.

4. Turn off the air conditioner

Simply switch from COOL to HEAT on your thermostat to start the furnace and turn off the air conditioner. However, you also need to shut off the grey electrical box next to your air condenser. This box powers the heat for the condenser unit’s oil, which you don’t need during the winter. You should also gently rinse off the outdoor unit with a garden hose.

5. Never cover up the air conditioner

Covering the condenser unit of the air conditioner causes moisture build up. During the spring you can clean off fallen leaves or debris before starting it again.