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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Weatherize Your Home to Keep the Cold Out

LAS CRUCES -- New Mexico homeowners still have time to weatherize before the cold creeps in for good, said a New Mexico State University energy specialist.

"Winter is about here, so we need to start thinking about keeping warm, as well as making sure our utility bills are under control," said JoAnn Emmel, with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service.

Some people think it's inefficient to reheat a house after the temperature has been turned down at night or during the day when families are away from the home. Emmel said this isn't true.

"It still is much more efficient to turn the thermostat down and then back up again than to leave it on all the time," she said. "The only exception may be a heat-pump-type heater that automatically adjusts itself."For these heaters, adjusting the temperature too much can cause problems.

By using programmable thermostats, homeowners don't have to worry about forgetting to adjust the heat, she said.

Emmel offered the following additional tips for weatherizing your home:

*Have your furnace serviced to make sure it is running efficiently. This will save money throughout the winter.

*Make sure your caulking and weatherstripping is in good condition to keep cold air out.

*If you have single-pane windows, put in double-pane windows or storm windows. The storm window can be just a sheet of clean plastic.

*Insulate your hot water heater and pipes, if they're located in a cold area, such as an outer wall or a garage.

*Turn the temperature down and wear layers of clothing to stay warm.

*Open drapes, blinds and shades during the day to let the sun shine in and warm up the house. Close them at night to keep out the cold.

*When you finish using a fireplace or wood-burning stove and the fire is out, make sure the dampers and doors are closed, preventing heat loss.