1. The best setting for your thermostat is around 68¢ªF. Each degree higher than that can significantly increase your heating costs by 1-2%, especially in older homes with less thermal efficiency.
2. Programmable thermostats allow you to conveniently maintain the comfort of your home when you're there and reduce energy costs when you're not. If you have a heat pump system, make sure to get a thermostat specifically designed for heat pumps.
3. Annual maintenance, by a professional, on your central heating system can extend the life of the system while also maintaining optimum efficiency.
4. Check filters monthly and change when dirty. Adequate air flow through a heat pump system is critical to ensure efficient and comfortable operation.
5. To protect your home from drafts you should caulk, seal and weather-strip around all seams, cracks, and openings. Pay special attention around windows and exterior doors.
6. Consider upgrading your attic insulation to 12-14 inches (R-38). You can cut your heating costs by as much as 20%.
7. Move furniture away from heating registers. Blocked registers make furnaces work harder and can result in a higher energy bill.
8. Open the window shades on the south and west side of the house during the day to maximize the warmth of the sun.
9. Set your water heater temperature at 120¢ªF. If you have a dishwasher without a booster heater, you may need to set it somewhat higher, but no higher than 140¢ªF.
10. Use stove exhaust fans that vent to the outdoors as little as possible during the winter. It sends your heated air outdoors.
A home with both electricity and natural gas offers excellent energy savings, is more environmentally friendly and allows you to experience the best of both worlds.