Home Heating and Cooling Efficiency Tips

Just a few degrees can save you piles and piles of money. See more pictures of green living.
Jeffrey Hamilton/Stockbyte/Getty Images

­As energy pri­ces rise, most homeowners are concerned about keeping heating and cooling costs down. Here are some tips to help keep those energy bills under­ control, starting with the thermostat:

  • Protect the thermostat for your heating or cooling system from anything that would cause it to give a false reading. If the thermostat is in a draft, misplaced on a cold outside wall, or too close to a heat-producing register, its accuracy will be compromised.
  • If you won't be home for a few days, turn the thermostat to its lowest setting. If there's no danger of pipes freezing or other household items being damaged, turn the heating system off completely.
  • Install a thermostat timer to save fuel and money. The timer can be set to automatically raise and lower the temperature during peak and off-hours.
  • Avoid constant thermostat adjustments, as they can waste fuel. When coming into the house after the thermostat has been turned down, don't set it higher than the desired temperature. Setting the thermostat up very high generally will not cause the temperature to reach the desired level any faster.
  • One heating adjustment you should make, however, is a reduction in the thermostat setting before you go to bed every night. Cutting back for several hours can make a big difference in fuel consumption.
  • Reduce the thermostat setting when you have a large group of people in your home. People generate heat, and a party can quickly raise the temperature.

Next, we'll look at adjustments you can make to windows, vents and other parts of the house to save money on heating and cooling.