Before winter arrives, the most important thing you have to do yourself and your family is to ensure that your furnace is functional, safe, as well as shinier as you're able to make it. When that cold day strikes, you don't want to turn on the furnace only to discover that it isn't functioning. (A lot can happen throughout the warmer months to change your furnace.)
No doubt about it, your best option is to call an HVAC professional and have them come out and inspect your furnace. During a standard maintenance inspection, the repairman also will wash out the furnace, change the filter, so check for leaks and unhealthy gases, and ensure that everything is operational. You also can (and should if you can afford it) pay them to clean the furnace ducts.
Here are a few other Things Which You can do yourself:
Some indicate every three months; others imply yearly. At least take a peek at the filter following 30 days of surgery. You will be able to tell whether it ought to be changed. If your filter still seems pretty great, you are able to put off changing it.
Stock up on filters throughout the summer months. You often can find a bargain on furnace filters and other winter items during those hot summer months.
Remove any items you have stored near the chimney, particularly anything that is likely to catch fire. Also remove any household items that are suddenly sitting at the top of or facing the air ducts and return ports.
If you have a gas furnace, contact your gas company and have them fill'er up. Gas is certainly much more economical to buy during the summer than at the middle of a January cold spell.
Open the valves slightly and close them again when water begins to appear.