Living in the desert Southwest, we enjoy mild winters with abundant sunshine. But with chilly mornings still in the mix for a few more months, there are steps you can take to make sure your home is ready to bridge the time until spring.

“Our most extreme weather months usually occur during the summer, so people often forget there are things to do to manage the cold winter months,” said Edith Garcia, Residential Program Manager at Tucson Electric Power. “But there are some simple adjustments you can make now that will help you be as comfortable and energy efficient as possible through the winter months.”

Here are some energy-saving tips to get your home ready for the cooler months ahead.

Use the Sun to Your Advantage

During the day, open curtains on southern-facing windows to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home and close them at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.

Maintain and Protect Your HVAC Systems

Like your air conditioning system, your home’s heating system needs regular maintenance to ensure its functioning properly and efficiently. One of the easiest ways to do this is by changing the filters monthly. Clogged filters restrict airflow, meaning your system works much harder and uses more energy.

An annual inspection of your home’s heating system by an HVAC professional also helps to ensure you’re getting the maximum value and comfort-level from your unit.

Set it and Forget it

Adjust your thermostat to a temp that’s a low as is comfortable for you and your family. If you have an adjustable thermostat, program it so that it automatically drops your home’s temperature during day and other times when you’re away.

TEP offers smart thermostats on the TEP Marketplace at reduced prices for TEP customers.

Become a Leak Detective

Leaks cause drafts, making your home chilly and your electric bill higher than it needs to be. No home is immune to leaks, not even newly built homes. The most common places to find these leaks are around doors, windows, outlets and recessed lights.

Seal leaks with caulk, weatherstripping or door sweeps.

Check your Fireplace

Your fireplace provides a beautiful ambience in the winter, while heating your home. You’ll want to close the fireplace damper when not in use so that warm air can’t escape your home. Also, don’t forget to lower your thermostat while your fireplace is in use to give your heating system a break.

Ceiling Fans

We all know that ceiling fans can make the summer months more comfortable, but the same is true for the winter. To maximize your ceiling fans during winter, change the direction of the blades so that they move in a clockwise orientation. This pushes warm air downward and pulls cold air away. Look for the toggle switch on the fan’s motor.

TEP offers programs for those that cannot afford energy efficiency improvements.

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