Tucumcari Ranch Supply owner Jimmy Watson talks about winterizing home, hearth -- and dog houses.
The worst Quay County winter Tucumcari Ranch Supply owner Jimmy Watson said he recalls was a blustery blizzard about eight years ago that knocked out power in some areas for more than a week.
“There was a lot of snow on the highline wires and it kept weighing them down,” Watson said. “Cannon Air Force Base sent people out to spot cows in the fields and they airlifted hay to them.”
Although The Old Farmer’s Almanac is not predicting any crippling blizzards for Quay this year, winter is gusting close at only 39 days away. With nighttime temperatures already dipping near freezing, now is a good time to winterize, Watson said.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, which offers a personalized energy-saving assessment at www.energy.gov, the average household in Tucumcari pays more than $1,000 for energy per year – but with the proper preventive measures, that bill could be cut by nearly $400.
Some of those measures include having the heating system and insulation checked to make sure both are adequate for winter temperatures, the Energy Department said. They also recommend checking for air leakage around doors, windows, mail chutes, cable TV and phone lines, air conditioners or swamp coolers, outdoor water faucets and where dryer vents pass through walls.
A few methods for detecting air leaks include shining a flashlight at night over all potential gaps while someone observes the house from the outside. Shutting a door or window on a piece of paper is another method, the department said, adding “If you can pull the paper out without tearing it, you’re losing energy.”
Caulking and weather stripping are good ways to plug the leaks, Watson said, adding heat tapes are also common.
“Most of the heat tapes are used for trailer homes,” Watson said. “Most of the houses built now are better insulated.”
Watson said another energy saving method is cleaning the chimney with a soot remover. Using faucet insulators on outdoor faucets is another common winter measure, he said.
Properly insulated homes and shops can be kept cozy with space heaters and heat lamps, Watson said, and save energy when plugged into the thermal cube.
The what? One of his best-selling winter items so far this year, Watson explains, is the device that plugs into the socket and turns electricity on and off depending on the temperature. “When it gets near 30 degrees it turns the unit on,” Watson said, “then turns it off after it’s warmed up. I like to use it with a heat lamp to heat the dog house.”
Yes, one cannot forget the dog — or other outdoor critters, who Watson said can be kept snug with a warm bed of straw for insulation.
Speaking of insulation, Watson said people are already beginning to stock up on thermal underwear, hats, gloves, new coats and the wild rag, a silk or polyester bandana that promises to keep a neck from getting drafty. “You can really feel the difference,” Watson said.
Energy saving tips:
Turn lights, televisions, and other appliances off when they are not in use.
In winter set the thermostat no higher than 68°F during the day and leave it there.
At bedtime turn down the thermostat to 60°F. To avoid wasting heat in an empty house, turn it down when you plan to be away.
Weather strip or caulk around windows and doors that allow drafts in and heat out.
Staple clear plastic around windows to help with heat loss.
Keep draperies and mini blinds closed in the evenings.
Replace furnace filters at least twice each heating season.
Be sure the damper is closed when your fireplace is not in use.
Operate washing machine only at lowest water temperature whenever possible.
Source: Quay County extension club
November weather folklore:
If the geese on St. Martin's Day (November 11) stand on ice, they will walk in mud at Christmas.
If the first snow sticks to the trees, it foretells a bountiful harvest.
If sheep feed facing downhill, watch for a snowstorm.
If on All Saints Day the beech acorn is dry we will stick behind the stove in winter, but if it is wet and not light the winter will not be dry, but wet.
Thunder in November indicates a fertile year to come.
If there be ice in November that will bear a duck, there will be nothing thereafter but sleet and muck.
When the winter is early, it will not be late.
Source: The Old Farmer’s Almanac