HVAC maintenance is important year-round, but if there is a season during which it is most important, that season is fall. When the weather grows colder and fall rolls in, you need to prepare your heater for the coming months while also shutting down your AC. If you're wondering what that entails, here are four specific HVAC care tasks you should complete before winter arrives.

1. Drain and clean your air conditioner's condensate lines

Your air conditioner produces condensation as it works. This condensation travels down the condensate drain line and into a drain. The condensation drain line can get clogged with mold and algae if you do not drain and clean it in the fall. Locate this line. It's usually made from flexible, clear plastic. Disconnect it from the air conditioner (you can do this just by pulling it off the air conditioner). Then, hold the line in the air to drain it. Pour a mixture of bleach and water down the line to kill any lingering algae or mold inside. If needed, you can scrub the end with a pipe cleaner to remove buildup.

2. Cover the air conditioner.

The best time to cover your AC unit is right after you're done using it and have cleaned the line. This way, leaves and other debris won't accumulate within it. Only use a designated cover for your air conditioner — not a tarp or some other material. Tarps don't breathe well enough, so they may cause your AC unit to corrode prematurely. If you do not have a real AC cover, you can purchase one from your HVAC contractor.

3. Change your air filter.

Most systems use the same air filter whether the air conditioning or heat is on. So, after filtering your air all summer, your air filter will be dirty. Remove the filter and replace it with a new one so dust does not scatter all over your home (and furnace) when you turn the heat on.

4. Change your thermostat settings.

Chances are, you do not want your home heated to the temperature you kept it in the summer! Take a few minutes to check over and adjust your programmable thermostat settings in preparation for heating season. Turn the temperature back a few degrees when you won't be home, and up a few degrees when you will be around. If your thermostat allows you to set a different program for each day, make sure you set a different program for days you're off from work and home more. 

Contact a company like Newton's Electrical,Plumbing,Heating and Solar for more information.