Install a programmable thermostat and keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees F in winter and 78 degrees in summer. Adjust thermostat to a lower temperature in the winter and higher temperature in the summer while you’re away from the house.
Make sure the registers and vents for your heating/cooling system are not obstructed by furniture, rugs or other objects.
Use ceiling fans running forward in summer to create a breeze and running in reverse in winter to help circulate heated air.
Keep your heating and air system running well with clean filters and keep the outdoor unit clear of grass, leaves and other debris. Don’t let shrubs grow too close to the outdoor unit and obstruct airflow around it, and don’t let grass clippings get into the unit when you mow. Keep the mower directed where the clippings will go in the opposite direction.
Consider installing an Electric Heat Pump. It is the most energy-efficient, economical, clean and safe choice for year-round heating and cooling. Because there is no combustion process in the operation of an electric heat pump, it leaves your home cleaner and fresher and it doesn’t have the potential to create carbon monoxide poisoning.
When buying incandescent bulbs, don’t just check the box for the wattage of the bulbs. Check for the lumen output. Watts are a measure of the amount of electricity used by the bulbs; lumens measure the actual light output. When comparing energy-saving incandescent bulbs, be sure to check the number of hours the bulb is expected to last. For real energy efficiency, compact fluorescent lights are the best choice. They cost more to purchase, but they use 25 to 33 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. They provide the same quality of light as incandescent and give off less heat.
Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors where hot air can leak in/out. For cracks that are 0.25-inch or less, use siliconized caulk. Use spray foam sealant for larger cracks and holes. In shim spaces around windows and doors, use low-expanding foam. Also use caulk or foam to seal other areas where air can enter the house from the exterior, such as around water lines, plumbing and utility entrances. Foam rubber gaskets can be used for sealing the area around light switches and electrical outlets.
Prevent moisture from building up in the crawlspace, basement or attic. Proper attic ventilation is very important. If you have a crawlspace, you can help prevent moisture problems and reduce humidity in your home by rolling out thick sheets of plastic (10 millimeter plastic ground cover) across the ground surface. Also, using exhaust fans (preferably ones with humidity sensors) in the bathrooms and kitchen helps to reduce interior moisture.
Check if you have at least 12-14 inches of insulation in your attic. A home’s heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer contribute to higher energy costs. The ability of insulation to resist heat transfer is known as its R-value. A higher numerical R-value means a greater resistance to heat flow. The insulation in your home should meet or exceed these R-values:
Inspect ductwork system for cracks or gaps/opening. A leaky duct system can increase heating and cooling costs by as much as 30 percent. All ductwork seams and joints need to be properly sealed to prevent air leaks and maintain air quality. A mastic paste, rather than duct tape, is recommended for a tight, lasting seal. Ductwork should have a minimum R-6 insulation (2.5-inch duct wrap).
Install an attic exhaust fan with a temperature control.
Keep window coverings, such as blinds or drapes, closed during the day.
Check if the ductwork is connected at the blower unit and connections and seams in the ducts are properly sealed.
If you are building a new home or remodeling, consider using insulated windows with low-e glass. The low-e (low emissivity) coatings reflect window heat inside in winter and outside in summer and can improve a window’s R-value by at least 50 percent. Otherwise, windows should be double-paned, but if your house has single-pane windows, storm windows can be added. Use weather-stripping, caulk and sealant to fill shim spaces and other open areas around windows.