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Missouri’s Fall/Winter Checklist: Preparing Your HVAC for the Cold Months

As the vibrant fall leaves of Missouri begin to shed and give way to the brisk winds of winter, homeowners are presented with the essential task of ensuring their homes remain warm and cozy. One of the primary systems responsible for this comfort is the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. By diligently preparing and maintaining your HVAC system, you can ensure efficient performance, lower energy bills, and avoid unexpected breakdowns during the cold months.

1. Check and Adjust Your Thermostat

  • Calibration: Over time, thermostats can lose their calibration, leading to inaccurate temperature readings. Ensure it’s set correctly so your furnace isn’t working overtime.
  • Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat: If you haven’t already, consider upgrading. A programmable thermostat allows you to set temperatures for different times of the day, ensuring energy is not wasted when no one is home.

2. Change or Clean Filters

  • Regular Replacement: A clogged filter restricts airflow, making your system work harder than necessary. For peak performance, replace or clean your filters every 1-3 months, depending on usage.
  • Type Matters: Invest in a high-quality filter. While they might cost more upfront, they offer superior filtration, leading to better air quality and system efficiency.

3. Inspect and Clean Ductwork

  • Duct Inspection: Look for signs of wear and tear. Damaged or leaky ducts can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 20%.
  • Professional Cleaning: Over time, dust, allergens, and debris accumulate in the ductwork. While you can do basic cleaning, consider hiring a professional for a thorough job. This not only ensures optimal airflow but also improves indoor air quality.

4. Clear Vents and Registers

  • Ensure Airflow: Make sure furniture, curtains, or rugs aren’t blocking any vents. Restricted airflow can strain your system and decrease efficiency.
  • Clean Vents: Periodically vacuum vents and registers to remove dust and debris. This simple step can greatly impact your indoor air quality.

5. Test the System

Before the real cold sets in, turn on your heating system to ensure it’s working properly. Listen for any unusual noises, check for odd smells, and make sure hot air is being emitted from the vents.

6. Schedule a Professional Inspection

Even if everything seems to be in order, it’s always a good idea to have an HVAC professional inspect your system before the winter season. They can identify and fix potential issues, ensuring your system operates at peak performance.

7. Inspect Outdoor Units

 Clear Debris: Leaves, twigs, and other debris can accumulate around your outdoor unit. Regularly clear the area to ensure nothing obstructs airflow.

 Secure the Unit: Check for any loose fittings or parts that might get damaged during storms or heavy snowfall.

8. Insulate Exposed Pipes

Especially relevant for homes with HVAC components in unheated areas like basements or attics, insulating exposed pipes can prevent freezing and potential damage.

9. Check Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Ensure your detectors are functioning correctly and change batteries if needed. This is especially crucial if you have a gas furnace.


Preparing your HVAC system for the cold months is not just about ensuring comfort; it’s about safety, efficiency, and peace of mind. By following this comprehensive checklist, you can confidently enter the winter season, knowing your system is primed to keep your home warm and cozy. If you’re unsure about any step or need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted HVAC specialist. Your comfort and safety are worth the investment.


Ready to Ensure Your HVAC System is Winter-Ready?

Don’t leave your home’s comfort to chance this season. At PrayCo Plumbing Heating & Cooling, we’re here to assist you every step of the way. Whether you need a professional inspection, maintenance, or just have questions about preparing your HVAC for winter, our team of experts is ready to help. Contact us today and experience the peace of mind that comes with a perfectly tuned HVAC system.