Heating

• Thermostats should be set and then forgotten. The more you change the setting during the day, the more likely you are to waste energy. Install a programmable thermostat that will give you 4 settings a day.

• Keeping the temperature a few degrees cooler can lower your heating bill and still keep you comfortable. During the day, keep the thermostat between 65@F and 68@F (18@ to 20@C). Cut up to three percent from your heating costs for every degree you set your thermostat back over an 8-hour period.

• Check forced air furnace filters regularly and clean or replace them as needed to keep efficient airflow through the system. Shake reusable filters outside or spray them with a garden hose. Be sure they’re dry before replacing.

• Close chimney dampers since warm air rises quickly up and out open chimneys. Close your damper as soon as you’re certain the fire is completely out.

• On cloudy days, keep drapes and blinds closed. Drapes add an extra layer of insulation. Mini-blinds also insulate, but not as much. On sunny days, open up the drapes and blinds to let in the suns free heat.

• Don’t block registers, baseboards, radiators or cold air returns. Air must circulate through and around them for maximum efficiency.

• Seal heating ducts and insulate those that run through unheated spaces.

• Have a professional inspect and tune-up your heating to help save on operating costs and extend the life of the system. A check-up is recommended every year for heat pumps and every five years for other systems.

Cooling Tips – Your energy use can go up in warm weather, too. Here are some ways to beat the heat and keep energy costs down:

• Maintain 78@F (26@C) or higher if you’re still comfortable. The higher you set the thermostat, the less it will operate unnecessarily.

• Keep air conditioners and swamp coolers clean. Air conditioner filters should be cleaned or replaced once a month during use. If you can do so safely, also clean the exposed grill and spines on the outside unit. Swamp cooler filters should be cleaned or replace every year. Make sure your floats and pumps are operating properly and that the water is distributed evenly over the filters.

• Don’t block window air conditioners. Make sure no objects are leaning on or directly in the path of the air flowing in or out.

• Use a programmable thermostat. Just like your heat, you only need your air conditioner or swamp cooler on when you’re home. Set timers to come on no more than 30 minutes before you arrive home.

• Make sure your home has the appropriate amount of insulation in walls, attics and crawl spaces. Insulation is just as important in the summer since it helps keep warm air outside.

• Seal air-conditioning ducts and insulate those that run through unconditioned spaces.

• Plant deciduous trees to shade your home’s walls, windows and roof in the summer.

• Install a ceiling fan to circulate air above the area where you spend most of your time. You’ll feel just as cool under a ceiling fan when it’s 82@F (28@C) as you would in 77@F (25@C) still air.

• Run exhaust fans when you shower or cook to vent warm air.

• Have a professional inspect and tune-up your central air system or swamp cooler to help save on operating costs and extend the life of the system. A check-up is recommended every year for heat pumps and every five years for other systems.