Turn Down the Thermostat.
You can save 2-3% in energy costs for every degree you lower your thermostat around the clock. Lowering the heat from 72° to 65° for eight hours per day can save you as much as 10% on annual heating costs. Or consider a programmable thermostat to automatically turn the heat down when you don’t need it, and have the house warm for you when you do.
Feeling a Draft?
Caulk any gaps and cracks around window frames. Be sure that windows are fully shut. Put up interior window plastic, available in kits at hardware stores. If you don’t have storm windows, have them made. For drafty doors, use weather-stripping and door sweeps.
Keep Your Heating System in Shape.
Oil-fired heating systems need annual maintenance. Gas systems and heat pumps typically need a checkup every two years. Spending a little on a new filter will go a long way toward maintaining the efficiency of your furnace and decreasing your energy bills.
Close Dampers When You're Not Using the Fireplace.
An open fireplace damper pulls warm air from the house, even when there is no fire. Close dampers after ashes have gone cold.
Let the Heat Reach You.
Dust or vacuum radiators, baseboard heaters, and furnace duct openings often and keep them free of obstructions like furniture, carpets, and drapes.
Keep the Cold Out and the Warmth in.
A typical house has many places where air can move between living spaces and the attic, and between the basement and outdoors. The result is colder rooms and higher heating bills. The solution is to seal gaps and then put in sufficient, well-installed insulation.
Use your bath fan.
Do you have mildew on bathroom ceilings? This is a sign of insufficient ventilation. If you have a bath fan, use it. If you need a fan, look for an ENERGY STAR® qualified model. These fans are very quiet and use little electricity. Be sure to vent bath fans to the outdoors, or you’ll risk moving your mildew problem to another part of the house or attic.
Dry clothes faster.
Clear lint from your clothes-dryer exhaust hose. Have a flexible hose? Replace it with smooth metal ducting to improve air flow, dry clothes faster, and reduce drying energy use.
Don’t make your fridge work so hard.
Clean dust from under your refrigerator, the front vent at the base, and any exposed coils at the back. Another tip: Make sure products aren’t blocking the fan vents inside the fridge and freezer.
Clear the air.
Dust bathroom vent fan covers as well as the ceiling fan blades (change the direction to counter clockwise while you are dusting) in other rooms in your home. Clean dust and grease from the kitchen stove hood and exhaust fan.
Plug your home electronics into an advanced power strip.
While you’re dusting your TV, computer, gaming equipment, and other home electronics, take a look at how they’re plugged in. You can stop overpaying to power these big energy users (many draw electricity even when off) by plugging them into an advanced power strip, which automatically cuts electricity to any idle equipment you choose.
Keep bulbs and fixtures clean.
Dirt will absorb the light and reduce the efficiency. Another tip: Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs and use up to 90% less energy.
Take a look at any accessible exterior vents, such as for the clothes dryer, central-heating system, water heater, kitchen-fan exhaust, or bath-fan exhaust. Clear them of any blockage or buildup of dust, webs, leaves, and lint.
Feeling a draft?
If you have functional windows, it makes more financial sense to improve them than to replace them with energy-efficient windows. Caulk any gaps and cracks around window frames. Be sure that windows are fully shut. Put up interior window plastic, available in kits at hardware stores. If you don't have storm windows, have them made. Also, for drafty doors, use weather-stripping and door sweeps.