Autumn is officially here! By now we've all seen Halloween decorations in the stores, noticed pumpkin spice making its way back into our coffees and snacks, seen the days getting shorter, felt a little bit more of a chill in the air. Autumn brings with it a lot of changes in the weather and around our homes in the greater Kansas City area. Sure, the kids have been back in school for a while, so you've already made those changes in your routine, but as cooler weather starts to kick in, it's time to start tackling other things around the house to prepare for more rain in the forecast, the start of the holiday season, and everything else that comes with autumn. Here are a few tips from your Olathe heating and cooling specialists to help make sure you're ready:
Perform Seasonal Battery Checks
The changing of the seasons is a good reminder that it's time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Those things are easy to forget about, so make sure you check every detector in the house so that you know they're working if you need them. This is also an excellent time to check the batteries in emergency supplies such as flashlights and emergency radios. You'll be glad you did if an autumn thunderstorm storm knocks the power out!
Get Your Winter Gear Together
The last thing anybody wants is to get stuck on a snowy day unprepared, and snow can come pretty early in Kansas. As the leaves start to turn, it's a good idea to put together cold-weather emergency kits for all of your family's vehicles. A good cold-weather emergency kit will include windshield scrapers, flashlights with fresh batteries (see above), road salt (or cat litter), jumper cables, emergency flares or markers, blankets, and other supplies that you might need in the event of a breakdown during bad weather.
Prep the Fireplace for Use
There's nothing cozier than a roaring fire on a cold winter night, but if you plan to use your fireplace this winter, it's a good idea to have it checked out first. Call in a certified chimney sweep and make sure that the flue is clean and everything is in good working order before you kindle that first fire.
Switch the Ceiling Fans Around
It seems like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in your heating bill. During the summer, you want your ceiling fan to turn counterclockwise, so that it pushes air down and creates a nice draft that keeps you cool. During the winter, you want to reverse your ceiling fan so that it distributes warm air more evenly throughout the room, keeping you cozy and cutting down on your heating costs.
Check the Thermostat Settings
These days, most of us have digital, programmable thermostats, and many of us have even upgraded to smart systems such as the NEST thermostat. These can actually learn our habits and adjust the temperature to match when we're at home or away. However, it's always a good idea to double-check the settings on your thermostat when you head into a new season to make sure that they're set where you want them to be and to ensure that your AC or furnace isn't running unnecessarily when no one is home.
Clean Out the Gutters
Falling leaves are a beautiful part of autumn in Olathe, but they can also fill up your gutters. This can lead to clogged downspouts, which can potentially damage your roof and siding with water and ice that backs up and spills out of the gutters. To prevent that, simply clean your gutters regularly or hire a service to clean them for you, especially when leaves are falling.
Clean up the Yard
Of course, all those beautiful leaves on the ground mean you'll be outside raking and doing other yard cleanup duties, too. We're not mowing our lawns as often, so it can be easy for leaf matter and other debris to build up. Besides keeping your lawn looking great, cleaning up your yard also helps to protect exterior appliances such as heat pumps. And while you're out there anyway, don't forget to remove your garden hoses and cover any exposed pipes in order to protect them from freezing temperatures that might lead to a burst pipe inside the house itself, definitely not something you want on a cold winter day.
Check for Leaks Around Windows and Doors
In Kansas, the weather can change rapidly, and that first big cold snap can hit us well before the official arrival of winter. When that first cold snap hits, use the opportunity to check your windows and doors for leaks. Leaks around windows and doors account for a very large percentage of the energy loss that your house experiences, and you can easily shore up any leaks with a little caulk and some weather stripping. While you're at it, take advantage of the natural heat of the sun. Keep window treatments open in sunny rooms to warm up your house during the day, and then close your window treatments at night to trap heat inside!
Schedule the Furnace Tune-Up
Nothing helps ensure that your heating system will run effectively throughout the cold winter months more than having it inspected, cleaned, and serviced by an Olathe heating and cooling professional. Seasonal inspections are always a good idea, and it's best to have someone come out before you turn your furnace on for the first time, just to make sure that everything is as it should be.
Davenport Service Company's 25-point HVAC tune-ups can help make sure that your furnace is ready to go when you need it so that you don't find yourself in a cold house on a cold winter's night. While you're at it, it doesn't hurt to have an Olathe heating and cooling specialist take a look at your water heater, too. To schedule a tune-up or to learn about our worry-free VIP maintenance program, just call Davenport Service Company at 913-441-2222 today!