Simple winter energy saving tips

During the winter season, energy conservation is crucial since heating accounts for the greatest use of energy in Colorado homes.
Before the cold weather sets in you should perform a quick inspection of your home. Simply dampen your hand and place it in locations such as attic hatches, baseboards, corners of rooms, cracks, doors, fireplace dampers, outlets, outdoor faucets (make sure these are tightly closed and all hoses have been detached), switch plates and windows. Your hand will feel cold near a draft.
Better yet, borrow a thermal leak detector from your local county Extension office. Then seal windows, doors and other leaks with caulking, weatherstripping, spray foam or other material as needed.
Note that unless you have mechanical ventilation for your home — like with a heat or energy recovery ventilator — you can seal a home too tightly. For this reason, it is best to consult with a professional energy auditor before sealing your home to any significant degree.
Some other simple strategies to improve the energy efficiency of your home in winter are:
• Set your thermostat as low as comfortable. Use a programmable thermostat to adjust temperature at night when you are sleeping and when you are out of the house. But make sure the temperature is not so low that pipes could break.
• Close the fireplace damper unless you are using the fireplace.
• Close curtains and shades at night and open them on sunny winter days.
• Have your furnace checked before winter. Regularly check furnace filters and replace them every month or so during the heating season.
• Remove any obstructions blocking heating registers.
• Seal any gaps in your ductwork with a liquid duct mastic.
• If you have single-paned windows, use a window insulator kit that can be inexpensively purchased at a hardware store.
• Install compact fluorescent lamps and string LED lights during the holidays.
• If your hot water heater is warm to the touch, wrap it with an insulating blanket specifically designed for this purpose.
• Finally, adding insulation is a larger project, but can significantly reduce the loss of heat out of your home.
Colorado Master
Gardener program
applications being taken
The Master Gardener program is innovative and flexible in its outreach and works to match volunteer skills and schedules. Each year, Colorado Master Gardeners all over the state help people make the right choices for their garden care. Anyone who would like to play an active role in the education of gardeners of all ages is invited to join our Colorado Master Gardener team.
Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 11 consecutive weeks. The cost of the Master Gardener apprentice training is $170 and the Colorado Gardener Certificate is $530. Partial scholarships are available as well for the apprentice program.
If you would like to learn more about successful gardening in Archuleta County, be sure to call the CSU Extension office in Archuleta County today at 264-5931. To register for the 2020 Colorado Master Gardener Program, which tentatively begins Jan. 23, 2020, please go to www.cmg.extension.colostate.edu. Hard copies are accepted at the local office, too. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15. Apply today.
Testing of dial pressure canner gauges
The CSU Extension — Archuleta County office is now offering to test dial pressure canner gauges for $5 for Archuleta County residents. For more information, contact Terry Schaaf at 264-5931.
Save the dates
Jan.18, 2020: Cottage Foods Class.
Feb. 11, 2020: Beef Symposium.
Feb. 12, 2020: Agricultural Financial Management Strategies.
CPR and first aid classes
CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.

This story was posted on December 9, 2019.