Two vehicles, barely visible and buried in snow after winter storm Nemo.

The Aftermath of Winter Storm Nemo in Massachusetts, 2013.

As kids head back to school, thoughts turn to the coming winter. The winter of 2014 brought unusually severe ice storms along with record snowfalls across the South that stranded motorists and cut power to hundreds of thousands of utility customers. The National Guard opened their armories to keep some residents warm, while others sheltered in malls and Red Cross facilities.

Meanwhile, the Midwest and East battled record snowfalls that came one after another. People struggled to keep their driveways and walks clear while power companies worked to keep the power on. Heavy snow made accessing substations and other utility facilities difficult and interfered with efforts to restore power.

Cold – Snowy Winter Predicted

New York City streets clogged with cars and drivers after a snowstorm.

Clogged Streets After a Winter Snow and Ice Storm

The Winter of 2015 is promising cold and snow for much of the country. The Farmers Almanac, well known for its average 80-percent-correct long-range forecast is predicting a cold and snowy winter for the northern tier of the country, and colder than average temperatures across most of the South. Some portions of the country may see slightly warmer temperatures, but more precipitation than usual.

Lessons learned from last winter include staying off the roads during and after an ice storm. Don’t abandon your vehicle if you become stuck, and hire someone to shovel your snow if doing so is too strenuous. A number of people died or were seriously injured after leaving their stranded cars, and the frequent, heavy snows contributed to heart attacks across the country.

No less important is to prepare your home for winter, and a source of backup emergency power is just one way to keep your home safe and warm during a winter storm. A standby generator can keep the lights on and the furnace running. Without one, you may find yourself seeking shelter someplace else while you worry about frozen pipes that may burst and flood your home.

Take Advantage of Rebates

While back-to-school sales are not necessarily associated with standby generators, manufacturers like Kohler offer rebates and referral bonuses. Now through the end of September, Kohler offers a $150 rebate on the purchase of a new 8.5 to 150 kilowatt standby generator. The generator must be purchased between August 1 and September 30 of 2014 and faxed or emailed requests sent by October 15, 2014, and mailed requests postmarked by the same date.

Kohler also offers a referral rebate when you buy a standby generator. Refer a friend, family member, or neighbor, and you can receive a rebate of 75 dollars. This offer is good until the end of 2014 and requests must be postmarked, emailed, or faxed by January 15, 2015.

Kohler 150 Rebate Banner with house & generatorAnd don’t forget Norwall’s Referral Program which offers a 50 dollar Home Depot Gift Card when you buy a generator and your referred friend buys one also. Offer is valid through December 31, 2014.

Staying Prepared

Kohler Automatic Residential Standby Generator by Kohler Power Systems

Kohler Automatic Home Standby Generator

It is not all that hard to imagine that the coming winter will be any less brutal than last year. Put together an emergency kit for your car in the event that you become stranded. A good emergency kit starts with blankets, candles, flashlights, chocolate bars and protein bars, and matches. Several candles can raise the interior temperature of a car by 20 degrees. Always carry water in your car.

If your home and family is not protected by a standby generator, now is the time to purchase and install.

Before winter arrives, service your standby generator and keep it ready. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and stock several maintenance kits for use during long-term outages. When a storm hits, keep the generator clear of snow and maintain a path to the unit for easy access.

A standby generator offers peace of mind by keeping your family and home safe during power outages caused by storms, accidents, and equipment malfunctions. Don’t you think it’s time your family was protected?