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So far this season, the weather in Olathe has been fairly mild. However, the official start of winter is still right around the corner on December 22, and there’s no way to know what the future has in store for us. If there’s one thing that we’ve learned here in the greater Kansas City area, it’s that the weather can change without notice. Today’s mild breeze could easily become tomorrow’s ice storm. Before Old Man Winter comes knocking, your Olathe HVAC service company wanted to put together a little article on how to prepare your home and family for unexpected winter surprises, from sudden drops in temperature to unforeseen ice storms and beyond!

Brownouts and Power Outages: Here in the Midwest, we’re no strangers to sudden and sometimes prolonged power outages. They often accompany summer storms, but they can also come with heavy snowfall, cold winter winds, or ice storms. During the summer, a power outage can be a real nuisance, but during the winter, outages have the potential to be deadly. Fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do when the furnace stops working as well as ways to be prepared ahead of time, including stocking up on batteries, flashlights, and warm blankets, or investing in a generator or alternative heating source.

Bracing for Ice Storms: By coating everything in a layer of ice—including doors and cars—ice storms can create some pretty unique challenges, potentially leaving you literally frozen inside. Several products on the market can help, ranging from rock salt or ice melt to scrapers and de-icing sprays that can free up car doors and other exterior locks. Many of us prefer to put our cars into the garage during an ice storm, which can provide some relief. If your garage door tends to stick in particularly cold conditions, however, you might want to consult your owner’s manual. The manufacturer may have some recommendations, such as using a silicone-based lubricant on some of the moving parts in advance of cold weather.

Subzero Temperature Drops: Here in the Kansas City area, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to fall precipitously, often with very little warning. Even if everything else is working properly, a sudden plunge into subzero temperatures can cause plenty of problems, including your HVAC system needing to work overtime to keep your house cozy. You can help it out by addressing any drafts that may be coming in around doors or windows and by maintaining a steady temperature inside the house, regardless of what the weather is doing outside.

Massive Snowfalls: Heavy snow can lead to power outages, cause structural issues, and make it hard to get out of your house. It’s a good idea to keep a supply of household essentials on hand in case you’re snowed in for a day or two and to know when to call in a snow removal expert. Shoveling the drive may be something you can do under normal circumstances, but after a blizzard, it might be better to let someone else take care of that for you. It’s also good to know how to safely clear snow from roofs and vents and to remember to check on older neighbors or family members who live alone.

Frozen Pipes: One of the most common issues that accompany sudden cold snaps are frozen pipes, which can be a real hazard to homeowners in the winter. When it starts to get particularly cold outside, we recommend keeping cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes and letting faucets drip slightly to help prevent freezing. In the event that a pipe does burst, you’ll also want to know how to shut off the main water supply. Those are a few of the most basic tips, but this problem is common enough that we’ve written a whole article about frozen pipes and how to avoid them this winter.

Falling Tree Limbs: Heavy snow or ice can bring down tree branches, and that poses a danger to your car, your roof, your gutters—you name it. The best way to avoid this problem is to have your trees professionally trimmed and maintained. A tree-care professional will know how to spot limbs that might be a problem and will know which ones to trim back in order to protect your home and property. In the event that a branch does fall, be very careful if you try to address the situation yourself. You may be better off calling a tree-removal service.

Unexpected Heavy Rainfall: Even when winter weather is mild, it can still bring surprises such as heavy rainfall. We may be hoping for a white Christmas, but here in Kansas, we’re just as likely to get a soggy one. That’s one reason it’s important to ensure that your sump pump is in good working condition all year round. With heavy rainfall comes the risk of a flooded basement, and that’s an even more unpleasant prospect to consider when it’s cold outside. A functional sump pump is crucial to preventing flooding and water damage, and it’s easy enough to test your sump pump regularly. You should also inspect and clean your gutters, especially before severe weather hits.

The Importance of Furnace Tune-Ups: Ultimately, a well-maintained furnace is your first line of defense against the worst that winter can offer. Regular tune-ups from an HVAC service company help to ensure that your furnace is in good working order and will prevent breakdowns and unexpected furnace repair bills in the midst of winter. In addition, keeping your HVAC system properly maintained will help it run more efficiently, thereby reducing your heating and cooling costs all year round.

At Davenport Service Company, our HVAC service experts provide comprehensive inspections and tune-ups of your furnace and your entire HVAC system that help to catch problems before they arise and let you rest easy knowing that your heating system is ready to handle everything from sudden drops in temperature to ice storms, heavy snows, and anything else that Old Man Winter throws your way. To schedule a furnace tune-up or furnace repair, just call Davenport Service Company at 913-441-2222 today!

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