Missouri’s Fall/Winter Checklist: Preparing Your HVAC for the Cold Months

As the vibrant fall leaves of Missouri begin to shed and give way to the brisk winds of winter, homeowners are presented with the essential task of ensuring their homes remain warm and cozy. One of the primary systems responsible for this comfort is the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. By diligently preparing and maintaining your HVAC system, you can ensure efficient performance, lower energy bills, and avoid unexpected breakdowns during the cold months.

1. Check and Adjust Your Thermostat

  • Calibration: Over time, thermostats can lose their calibration, leading to inaccurate temperature readings. Ensure it’s set correctly so your furnace isn’t working overtime.
  • Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat: If you haven’t already, consider upgrading. A programmable thermostat allows you to set temperatures for different times of the day, ensuring energy is not wasted when no one is home.

2. Change or Clean Filters

  • Regular Replacement: A clogged filter restricts airflow, making your system work harder than necessary. For peak performance, replace or clean your filters every 1-3 months, depending on usage.
  • Type Matters: Invest in a high-quality filter. While they might cost more upfront, they offer superior filtration, leading to better air quality and system efficiency.

3. Inspect and Clean Ductwork

  • Duct Inspection: Look for signs of wear and tear. Damaged or leaky ducts can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 20%.
  • Professional Cleaning: Over time, dust, allergens, and debris accumulate in the ductwork. While you can do basic cleaning, consider hiring a professional for a thorough job. This not only ensures optimal airflow but also improves indoor air quality.

4. Clear Vents and Registers

  • Ensure Airflow: Make sure furniture, curtains, or rugs aren’t blocking any vents. Restricted airflow can strain your system and decrease efficiency.
  • Clean Vents: Periodically vacuum vents and registers to remove dust and debris. This simple step can greatly impact your indoor air quality.

5. Test the System

Before the real cold sets in, turn on your heating system to ensure it’s working properly. Listen for any unusual noises, check for odd smells, and make sure hot air is being emitted from the vents.

6. Schedule a Professional Inspection

Even if everything seems to be in order, it’s always a good idea to have an HVAC professional inspect your system before the winter season. They can identify and fix potential issues, ensuring your system operates at peak performance.

7. Inspect Outdoor Units

 Clear Debris: Leaves, twigs, and other debris can accumulate around your outdoor unit. Regularly clear the area to ensure nothing obstructs airflow.

 Secure the Unit: Check for any loose fittings or parts that might get damaged during storms or heavy snowfall.

8. Insulate Exposed Pipes

Especially relevant for homes with HVAC components in unheated areas like basements or attics, insulating exposed pipes can prevent freezing and potential damage.

9. Check Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Ensure your detectors are functioning correctly and change batteries if needed. This is especially crucial if you have a gas furnace.


Preparing your HVAC system for the cold months is not just about ensuring comfort; it’s about safety, efficiency, and peace of mind. By following this comprehensive checklist, you can confidently enter the winter season, knowing your system is primed to keep your home warm and cozy. If you’re unsure about any step or need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted HVAC specialist. Your comfort and safety are worth the investment.


Ready to Ensure Your HVAC System is Winter-Ready?

Don’t leave your home’s comfort to chance this season. At PrayCo Plumbing Heating & Cooling, we’re here to assist you every step of the way. Whether you need a professional inspection, maintenance, or just have questions about preparing your HVAC for winter, our team of experts is ready to help. Contact us today and experience the peace of mind that comes with a perfectly tuned HVAC system.

The Importance of Furnace Tune-Ups: Why Regular Maintenance Matters

A furnace is a significant investment and the cornerstone of comfort during chilly seasons. Just as a vehicle requires regular maintenance to run efficiently and safely, your furnace also benefits significantly from periodic tune-ups. In this article, we’ll delve into why these check-ups are essential and how they can save you money, ensure your safety, and extend the lifespan of your furnace.

1. Enhancing Energy Efficiency

A furnace in its prime condition operates at maximum efficiency, translating to optimal heating at lower energy consumption.

Optimal Airflow: Over time, furnaces can experience restricted airflow due to clogged filters, obstructed vents, or malfunctioning components. A tune-up ensures that these issues are addressed, allowing the furnace to breathe and operate more efficiently.

Calibration of Controls: During a tune-up, technicians calibrate the furnace’s controls. This ensures that the furnace heats your home at the desired temperature without unnecessary energy consumption.

Lower Energy Bills: With improved efficiency, you can expect a reduction in monthly energy bills. The savings over a season, or the lifespan of the furnace, can be substantial.

2. Ensuring Safety

Your family’s safety is paramount, and regular furnace maintenance plays a crucial role in ensuring it.

Carbon Monoxide Detection: A crack in the heat exchanger of your furnace can lead to a carbon monoxide leak. This colorless and odorless gas can be lethal. Regular inspections can identify such vulnerabilities early, preventing potential hazards.

Electrical Check: Faulty electrical connections can pose a fire risk. During a tune-up, these connections are checked and tightened to ensure safe operation.

Sensor Examination: Modern furnaces come with various sensors to monitor and control operations. Ensuring these sensors function correctly is vital to prevent overheating or other malfunctions.

3. Prolonging Equipment’s Life

Frequent maintenance extends the operational life of your furnace, protecting your investment for years to come.

Early Identification of Issues: A tune-up involves a comprehensive examination of the furnace. This enables technicians to detect and rectify minor issues before they escalate into major, costly repairs.

Prevention of Overworking: A furnace struggling with airflow or faulty components tends to work harder, leading to faster wear and tear. Regular maintenance ensures that your furnace operates without undue strain, prolonging its lifespan.

Lubrication: Just like any machine with moving parts, a furnace requires lubrication to operate smoothly. During a tune-up, these parts are adequately lubricated, preventing friction and subsequent wear.

4. Improving Indoor Air Quality

While not immediately apparent, a well-maintained furnace positively impacts the air quality in your home.

Clean Filters: One of the primary tasks during a tune-up is inspecting and replacing or cleaning the furnace’s air filters. Clean filters mean cleaner air circulating in your home, free from dust, allergens, and pollutants.

Duct Inspection: Technicians can also inspect ducts during maintenance. Clean ducts prevent the circulation of contaminants in the air you breathe.

5. Peace of Mind

Last, but by no means least, knowing your furnace is in its best condition provides peace of mind. Regular maintenance means fewer unexpected breakdowns and the assurance that your furnace will perform reliably during those cold winter nights.


In the grand scheme of homeownership, furnace tune-ups are a small but invaluable aspect. They ensure the efficient and safe operation of your heating system, save you money in the long run, and prolong the life of your investment. For those in regions with harsh winters, the importance of a functioning furnace cannot be understated.


If you’re considering regular furnace maintenance, remember that it’s not just about immediate comfort; it’s a long-term strategy for savings, safety, and reliability. Make sure to schedule your regular furnace tune-ups with trusted professionals to reap all these benefits.

Looking to Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up?  

Trust the experts at PrayCo Plumbing Heating & Cooling for comprehensive furnace maintenance. Our trained technicians ensure that your furnace is winter-ready and operating at its best. Reach out to us today for a consultation or to schedule an appointment.

Snow-Clogged Vents: Why They’re Dangerous and How to Safely Clear Them

Winter in Missouri paints a picturesque scene with snow-capped roofs and frosted trees. However, amidst this beauty, there’s a lurking danger many homeowners overlook: snow-clogged vents. Your home’s ventilation system plays a critical role in ensuring safety and proper functioning of heating appliances. When vents become obstructed by snow and ice, you might have a serious problem.

1. The Risks of Obstructed Vents

Vents, especially those connected to furnaces, water heaters, and boilers, are designed to expel gases from combustion. When these vents are blocked, the consequences can be severe.

Carbon Monoxide Build-up: The most significant and immediate danger is the build-up of carbon monoxide (CO). CO is a colorless, odorless gas produced during combustion. Normally, this gas is safely vented outside. However, a blocked vent can cause it to seep into the home. Inhalation of CO can lead to serious health issues, including death.

Appliance Malfunction: Blocked vents can cause heating appliances to malfunction or shut down as a safety precaution. This can leave homeowners without heat during the critical winter months.

Structural Damage: Prolonged vent blockage can lead to moisture build-up, causing structural damage to your home, including mold growth and rot.

2. Identifying Snow-Clogged Vents

Before the snow accumulates, familiarize yourself with the location of all external vents connected to your home appliances. Knowing their positions can make it easier to check and clear them after heavy snowfall.

Visual Inspection: Regularly inspect vents after snowfall. Even a few inches of snow can drift and cover a vent, especially during windy conditions.

Appliance Behavior: Pay attention to the behavior of heating appliances. Unusual sounds, decreased efficiency, or unexpected shutdowns can indicate vent blockages.

3. Safely Clearing Snow and Ice from Vents

If you identify a blocked vent, it’s crucial to clear it promptly but safely.

Use the Right Tools: Use a broom or soft brush to clear snow away from the vent. Shovels or other sharp tools can damage the vent or your home’s siding.

Gentle Removal of Ice: If the vent is blocked with ice, gently tap it to break the ice. Avoid using hot water as it can refreeze, exacerbating the problem.

Regularly Check: In heavy snowfall regions or during snowstorms, check vents multiple times a day. It’s easier to prevent blockage than to deal with a fully clogged vent.

4. Preventative Measures

Taking proactive steps can reduce the risk of snow-clogged vents.

Strategic Landscaping: Planting shrubs or installing barriers can help prevent snow drifts near vent areas. However, ensure these do not obstruct the vents themselves.

Install Vent Guards: These are designed to prevent blockages from snow, debris, or animals. Ensure any guard you install is approved for your specific appliance and does not restrict airflow.

Regular Maintenance: Ensure that your vents are in good condition and free from existing obstructions or damage. A professional can inspect and recommend any necessary repairs.

5. Equip Your Home with CO Detectors

Given the danger of carbon monoxide, it’s imperative to have CO detectors in your home.

Strategic Placement: Install CO detectors near bedrooms and on every floor of your home. Ensure they’re away from heating appliances to avoid false alarms.

Regular Testing: Test CO detectors monthly to ensure they’re functional and replace batteries as needed.


The serene beauty of a snowy landscape should not lull homeowners into overlooking the potential hazards it presents. Snow-clogged vents can pose a significant risk to both the safety of inhabitants and the integrity of the home. With awareness, regular checks, and timely action, these dangers can be mitigated. Always prioritize safety, and if unsure, seek assistance from professionals.

Concerned About Your Home’s Vents?  

At PrayCo Plumbing Heating & Cooling, our experts can inspect, maintain, and provide guidance on your home’s ventilation system. Ensure the safety and efficiency of your heating appliances by consulting with our trusted team. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or fill out our contact form to have a team member reach out to you!

Upgrade Time: Signs Your Furnace Needs Replacement Before Missouri’s Winter Hits

Winters in Missouri can be unforgiving, and the last thing any homeowner wants is a furnace breakdown during the coldest days of the year. As with all appliances, furnaces have a lifespan, and there comes a point when repairs are no longer efficient or viable. Knowing when to replace rather than repair is crucial for uninterrupted warmth and peace of mind. 

1. Frequent Repairs

A clear indication that your furnace might be on its last legs is the need for constant repairs. If you find yourself calling in the technician more often than usual or if the repair costs are steadily mounting, it might be more cost-effective to invest in a new unit.

Benefit of Upgrading: A new furnace will likely require fewer repairs, saving you money and hassle in the long run. Modern units also come with warranties that can cover potential issues.

2. Rising Energy Bills

If you notice that your energy bills are consistently rising, despite your usage patterns remaining the same, it could be a sign that your furnace is losing its efficiency. Older furnaces have to work harder to produce the same amount of heat, consuming more energy in the process.

Benefit of Upgrading: Modern furnaces are designed to be more energy-efficient. Investing in a newer model can result in significant savings on your monthly bills.

3. Strange Noises

All furnaces make some noise, but if you start hearing unusual sounds like banging, popping, or rattling, it’s a cause for concern. These noises can indicate component wear or more severe internal problems.

Benefit of Upgrading: A new furnace will operate more quietly, ensuring a peaceful environment in your home.

4. Uneven Heating

Are some rooms in your home colder than others? Uneven heating is a sign that your furnace is struggling to distribute warm air effectively throughout your home.

Benefit of Upgrading: Modern furnaces provide consistent and even heating, ensuring every corner of your home remains cozy.

5. The Furnace’s Age

Most furnaces have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. If your unit is approaching or has surpassed this age range, even if it seems to be working fine, it might be time to consider a replacement.

Benefit of Upgrading: With advancements in technology, new furnaces offer improved performance, better efficiency, and smart features that older models lack.

6. Decreased Air Quality

An aging furnace can lead to a deterioration in your home’s indoor air quality. You might notice more dust accumulation, a stuffy feeling, or increased respiratory issues among family members.

Benefit of Upgrading: Newer furnaces come equipped with advanced filtration systems that significantly improve indoor air quality, making the environment healthier for your family.

7. Constant Running Furnace

If your furnace is running continuously without reaching the desired temperature, it’s an evident sign of its inefficiency and potential malfunction.

Benefit of Upgrading: A new furnace will cycle on and off efficiently, maintaining the desired temperature without overworking.

8. Visible Signs of Wear and Tear

Rust, cracks, or any visible damage on your furnace are clear indicators that it’s time for a replacement. Such signs can also pose safety risks.

Benefit of Upgrading: A new furnace will be free from such wear and tear, ensuring safer operation and more effective heating.


Missouri winters demand reliable heating systems. Being proactive in recognizing the signs of a failing furnace and considering an upgrade can save you from unexpected breakdowns, costly emergency repairs, and uncomfortable cold spells. 

Remember, a new furnace is not just an expenditure; it’s an investment in comfort, peace of mind, and long-term savings.

Is Your Furnace Showing Signs of Aging?  

At PrayCo Plumbing Heating & Cooling, we specialize in furnace evaluations and replacements. Let our team guide you in making an informed decision about your home’s heating needs. Schedule a furnace assessment with our experts today and ensure a warm and hassle-free winter.

Cold Weather Plumbing Tips: Preventing Frozen Pipes and Avoiding Costly Repairs

Brutally cold winters, with their plummeting temperatures, bring about a set of unique challenges for homeowners. Among the most pressing concerns is the risk of frozen plumbing. Frozen pipes not only disrupt water supply but can also burst, leading to potentially expensive water damage. With the right precautions, however, you can protect your plumbing system and save on potential repair costs.

1. Insulate Your Pipes

Why it’s Important: Pipes located in unheated or less insulated areas of your home, such as basements, attics, and garages, are most vulnerable to freezing. 

Expert Tip: Use foam pipe insulation or heating tape to wrap these pipes. Ensure that the insulation covers the entire length of the pipe, from where it enters your home to where it exits. For those with limited DIY experience, consider hiring a professional to ensure proper insulation.

2. Seal Drafts and Leaks

Why it’s Important: Cold drafts can speed up the freezing process of your pipes. 

Expert Tip: Examine your home’s walls, doors, and windows for any gaps or cracks, especially in areas close to pipes. Use caulk or weather-stripping to seal these gaps, ensuring that cold air stays out.

3. Let Faucets Drip

Why it’s Important: Keeping a slight flow of water can prevent pipes from freezing. The movement makes it harder for the water inside to freeze.

Expert Tip: On particularly cold nights, slightly open the faucets that are connected to vulnerable pipes. This steady drip can make all the difference in preventing frozen pipes.

4. Maintain a Consistent Temperature

Why it’s Important: Keeping your home at a steady temperature reduces the risk of pipes freezing.

Expert Tip: Set your thermostat to the same temperature during both day and night. While it might increase your heating bill slightly, it can prevent the much more expensive cost of repairing a burst pipe.

5. Disconnect Outdoor Hoses

Why it’s Important: Water trapped in hoses can freeze and expand, causing connected faucets and pipes to freeze as well.

Expert Tip: Before the onset of winter, disconnect, drain, and store any outdoor hoses. Also, close inside valves that supply outdoor hose bibs and open the outside bibs to let any remaining water drain out.

6. Open Cabinet Doors

Why it’s Important: Pipes located under sinks, especially on exterior walls, can be at risk.

Expert Tip: On colder nights, open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warmer room air to circulate around the plumbing.

7. What to Do if Pipes Freeze

Why it’s Important: Swift action can prevent frozen pipes from bursting.

Expert Tip: If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Firstly, keep the faucet open. As you start to treat the frozen pipe, the flowing water will help melt the ice inside. Apply heat to the frozen section using an electric heating pad, electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials). DO NOT use an open flame, as it poses fire risks and can damage the pipes.

Warning: If you cannot locate the frozen section, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can’t thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber immediately.


Protecting your home’s plumbing system from the winter cold is not just about preventing inconvenience; it’s also about safeguarding your property from potential damage and avoiding substantial repair costs. With a bit of proactive care and vigilance, you can ensure that your plumbing system remains functional and intact throughout the Missouri winter.


Don’t Leave Your Plumbing to Chance This Winter!  

At PrayCo Plumbing Heating & Cooling, we’re committed to ensuring your plumbing system is winter-ready. From professional pipe insulation to emergency response for frozen or burst pipes, our team has you covered. Schedule a pre-winter plumbing check-up with our experts today and secure peace of mind for the season ahead.