A Comfortable Home
Heating & Cooling Tips
General Heating Tips
- Check heating system filters at least monthly and change them as needed. Dirty filters can increase operating costs significantly, damage equipment and reduce efficiency.
- Make sure that heating registers and vents are not blocked by draperies or furniture.
- Make sure fireplace dampers and glass doors are closed when you're not using the fireplace to prevent warm air from escaping through the chimney.
- On sunny days, open drapes or blinds to allow natural solar heat to warm the house.
- If your home has single-pane windows, consider replacing them with double-pane windows to reduce heat loss.
- Use a humidifier to keep your home more comfortable. It allows you to reduce the thermostat setting without feeling cold.
General Cooling Tips
- To maximize central cooling efficiency, set your thermostat no lower than 75°F when home, 80°F when you're gone for several hours.
- Replace dirty air conditioning filters each month - clean filters can reduce cooling costs up to 10 percent.
- Supplement your central air conditioning with portable fans, ceiling fans, attic fans and a window unit.
- Reduce sunlight against your home - install awnings and shades over windows, plant deciduous trees and even shade your air conditioning unit.
- Close all windows, doors and chimney dampers when using your air conditioning.
- To prevent inaccurate temperature readings, place heat-producing appliances (such as lamps and TVs) away from the air conditioning thermostat.
- If your home has single-pane windows, consider replacing them with double-pane windows to reduce heat gain.
How to keep energy in
- Insulation - One of the most cost-effective ways to make your home more comfortable year-round is to add insulation to your attic, including the attic trap or access door, which is relatively easy. Measure the thickness of the attic insulation. If it is less than R-30 (11 inches of fiberglass or rock wool or 8 inches of cellulose) then consider adding more.
- Caulking – seal cracks and crevices around door frames, window frames and along weather stripping between heated and unheated areas of your home, such as garages, basements and attics.
- Thresholds - make sure thresholds are tight against the bottom of outside doors.
- Ductwork - seal and replace leaky HVAC ductwork - this effort could save you 20 to 30 percent on your cooling bill.
- Windows - add storm windows to single-pane windows, or consider replacing them with double pane or thermo-pane windows.
Devices you can use
Heating and cooling system options:
- Electric heat pump systems
Heat pumps regulate the intake of indoor and outdoor air temperatures to heat and cool your entire house and keep you consistently comfortable all day and night. Heat pumps operate the best and most efficiently when left on one comfortable temperature. Keep the thermostat on your heating system at the lowest comfortable setting, ideally 68°F degrees. Every degree you raise your thermostat over 68°F accounts for an increase of approximately 4 percent on the heating portion of your bill.
If you have a central heating system other than a heat pump, you can save money by setting your thermostat to 60°F when you leave the house - even for the day. At this temperature, your pipes aren't in danger of freezing or bursting, and you aren't wasting electricity heating an empty home. If your home has a central heating system, doors and vents should NOT be closed.
These include ceiling heat, wall heaters, baseboard heaters, floor furnaces, portable heaters and central electric furnaces - and they're inefficient and expensive to operate. They use electricity to heat a wire coil, which then heats areas of your home. If you use this type of heat, turn the setting down when you're away or at night to save as much energy and money as possible. Also, close off unused rooms to reduce costs even more.
Important note: check heating and cooling system filters at least monthly change them as needed. Dirty filters can increase operating costs significantly, damage equipment and reduce efficiency.
Water Heater Tips
- Lowering your water heater's thermostat to 120°F should provide plenty of hot water while avoiding wasted energy.
- Wrap the tank with the proper insulation for maximum efficiency, but be careful not to cover the thermostat.
- If your water heater is more than 7 years old, consider buying a new one - today's models are more energy efficient.
- Drain a quart of water from your water heater every 3 months to remove sediment that can slow down heat transfer and lower the efficiency of your heater.
- Take more showers than baths, and keep the showers short. You use 20 to 25 gallons of water for a bath, but less than 10 gallons during a 5-minute shower.
- During warmer months, turn your water heater off when you're gone longer than a weekend.