Getting ready for colder months: what you can do to winterize your home

As the days get shorter and we inch towards the end of the year, you might be noticing that your home is a little bit colder and the lights need to be on a little longer. Besides turning up the heat, or digging out that extra comforter, there are other things we can do to improve our home’s energy efficiency in the colder months.

Here is a checklist of ways to help improve your home’s efficiency this winter. Most of these you can do on your own, or with the help of some supplies from your local hardware store, we like Big Joe’s next door to our Santa Fe offices on Siler. Now let’s get started!

Switch your ceiling fans to clockwise:
We all know the benefits of a ceiling fan in summer but they can be just as helpful at moving air around in the winter months. By switching your fans to rotate in a clockwise direction you will be moving the air up and back down along your walls and back down to the floor, helping you stay warmer and keeping that hot air from just hanging out above you.

Weatherstripping and sealing cracks:
Here is another product that isn’t pricy and does wonders in sealing up those drafts, especially for windows and doors you’d like to open and use in those warmer months. Weatherstripping is estimated to save 20% of heat loss and only takes an afternoon to do.

There is nothing worse than seeing your hard-earned money (heat) escaping from under your door. In these old New Mexico houses, there are lots of times where your doors to outside might not be as fitted as you might think they should be, this is where the draft guard comes to the rescue.

Replace your air filters:
Let’s face it, we live in a dusty place. If you feel like you are constantly dusting your home, imagine what your air filters think. Replacing your air filters (if you have them for a forced-air HVAC system) can greatly improve your heating system’s efficiency and lifespan, plus it might help in collecting some of the dust that you would be cleaning up anyway.

Flush your water heater:
With all of the minerals in our desert water it’s good to flush your water heater once a year to make sure any sediment that might have collected at the bottom of your tank isn’t hindering your water heater’s efficiency. Consult your owner’s manual or hire a plumber for this project! The liquids and gases in that tank are hot and potentially under pressure!

Automatic Thermostat:
The department of energy reports that by installing a programmable thermostat homeowners can save as much as 10% a year in heating costs. By installing a programmable thermostat you can set it to use less energy when you are sleeping or away, which helps you save on heating costs at times when you might not need to use as much energy.

Don’t forget your chimney:
Many homes in New Mexico have wood-burning fireplaces, though not everyone uses them. For those who don’t use their fireplaces, making sure your flue is shut can help keep warm air in and cold air out. *Note: remember to make sure to open your flue before lighting your next fire.

Inspect your roof:
We all know the power of the New Mexico sun, which is why it’s a good idea to check the condition of your roof before the snow flies. Our intense sun can crack and damage any waterproofing over time, as well as changing temperatures. Reroofing or roof repairs aren’t as easy, or as affordable as simply weather stripping your windows, however, Homewise offers financing for home improvements which can help you finance those bigger planned or unplanned projects that might come up. If you are needing to make larger repairs this season, check out our page on home improvements and financing here.

About the Author:
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Homewise helps create successful homeowners and strengthen neighborhoods in New Mexico. We do this through our comprehensive real estate and lending services designed to support working families and individuals. We are a nonprofit lender, also known as a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI).

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