Old, dirty water heater anode rod

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

As the temperatures outside begin to drop, it is evident that winter is almost in full force. For some, that means excitedly breaking out our winter gear and heading to the nearest mountain to hit the slopes. For others, it's a time to hunker down and prepare our homes for the long months ahead.

If you fall into the latter category, this blog post is for you! Below we'll discuss some of the most important home systems to check to ensure your home is ready for winter. By taking care of a few simple maintenance items now, you can avoid costly repairs down the road and ensure you are comfortable and warm in your home all season long.

Systems to Check and Maintain

Water Heater

One maintenance item that is often overlooked is checking your water heater. You'll want to do a few things to ensure your water heater runs efficiently all winter long. First, check the temperature and adjust it if necessary. Your water heater should be set no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit—any hotter than that is a waste of energy and could pose a scalding hazard.

Next, look at the anode rod inside your water heater tank. This rod helps prevent corrosion in the tank and should be checked annually. If it looks corroded, it's time for a replacement. Anode rods are inexpensive and easy to find at your local hardware store. Unscrew the old one (you may need a wrench) and screw the new one.

HVAC System

Your HVAC system will also need some TLC before winter arrives. Start by changing your air filters—we recommend doing this every 1-3 months. Dirty air filters not only make your air quality suffer but also make your HVAC system work harder than necessary, which wastes energy and drives up your utility bills. You can find replacement filters at any hardware store or online retailer. Just be sure to get the right size for your system!

Another maintenance item you'll want to take care of before winter is scheduling a tune-up with a qualified HVAC professional. They will clean all the parts, check for wear and tear, calibrate the thermostat, and ensure everything is running smoothly. This tune-up will prolong the life of your heater and help it run more efficiently all winter long—saving you money on energy bills in the process!


Although you should have a professional come out and inspect your furnace before winter starts, there are a few things you can do yourself to ensure it's running correctly. One thing you can do is hold a piece of paper up to the vents. If the paper flutters, that means there's enough airflow. Another thing you can do is listen for strange noises coming from the furnace. If you hear banging or popping, that could indicate something is wrong with the unit, and you should call a professional immediately.

Preparing your home for winter doesn't have to be complicated—as long as you know what systems need maintenance and why changing your air filters is so important. By following these tips, you can rest assured that your home will be cozy and comfortable all season long.

Leave It To The Professionals

If your home systems require preventive maintenance or repair, our experts at Scott Harrison Plumbing and Heating, Inc. are here to help! Our licensed professionals have the skills to inspect, repair, or replace your HVAC system or water heater so you can stay comfortable all season long. Give us a call at (714) 695-5566 today!