- Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees.
For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you'll save an average of 3 percent on heating costs. Wear warm clothing like a sweater and set your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower during the day and evening, health permitting. Setting the thermostat back to 55 degrees when leaving home for an extended time can save you 5-20 percent of your heating costs (heat pumps should only be set back two degrees to prevent unneeded use of backup strip heating).
- Replace or clean furnace filters once a month.
Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Now is also the time for a furnace "tune-up". Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use, saving up to 5 percent of heating costs.
- Reduce hot water temperature.
Set your water heater to the "normal" setting or 120, unless the owner's manual for your dishwasher requires a higher setting. Savings are 7-11 percent of water heating costs. Insulate the first five feet of pipe coming out of the top of your water heater or the whole length until the pipe goes into the wall if that is less than five feet. Pipe insulation is available from your hardware store.
- Use cold water when washing clothes.
About 16 percent of an average home energy bill goes just for heating water. Most detergents clean well in cooler temperatures. Keep clothes dryer free of lint and inspect dryer vent to be sure it is free of obstructions.
- Take a five-minute shower instead of a bath.
Take a five-minute shower instead of a bath to reduce hot water use.
- Let the sun in.
Open drapes and shades on the sunny side of your house to help warm the home during the day. Close drapes and shades at night to cut heat loss.
- Remove window air conditioning units for the winter.
If you have a window air conditioning unit, remove it for the winter months to prevent heat from escaping through and around the unit. If it cannot be moved, buy a cover to prevent drafts.
- Close your flue.
Always make sure the fireplace damper seals tightly and remains closed except when a fire is burning or smoldering in the fireplace. Also shut fire place doors if installed.
- Use your ceiling fan.
Ceiling fans help keep you comfortable not only in the summer but in the winter as well. Reversing the direction of the blades pushes warm air down into the room. Fans should turn clockwise in the summer and counter-clockwise in the winter. When purchasing new ceiling fans, consider an Energy Star model for optimum fan and motor efficiency.
- Put your computer to sleep.
Activate "sleep" features on computers and office equipment that power down when the equipment is not in use for a while. Turn off equipment during longer periods of non-use to cut energy costs and improve longevity.
- Don't waste hot water.
Adjust load size on washer to fit actual load. Set small loads to low water level to save water and energy.
- Flip the switch.
Turn off all appliances and equipment when not in use: lights, TVs, VCRs or DVDs, computers, other electronics.
- Keep vent space clean & clear.
Make sure heating registers, vents and cold air returns are not blocked by draperies, furniture or rugs. These should also be cleaned regularly with a vacuum or a broom.