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Heating & Cooling Tips

From the Department of Energy Web Site:

  • Set your home thermostat as low as comfortable (68 F is suggested) when the house is occupied.
  • Set back the thermostat by about 8 degrees at night or when the house is unoccupied during the day.
  • Set back the thermostat to 50 to 55 F when the house is unoccupied for over 24 hours.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to automatically provide the setbacks mentioned above.
  • Close the fireplace damper – except during fireplace use.
  • Reduce heat to unused rooms in the house – close doors and heat registers too.
  • Close curtains and shades at night, and open them on sunny winter days.
  • Replace furnace filters once a month during the heating season.
  • Remove any obstructions and clean heating registers regularly.
  • Have certified maintenance personnel service and check your furnace regularly.
  • Seal all joints in sheet metal ducts in a forced air furnace with mastic or appropriate tape; insulate ducts passing through unheated spaces.
  • Minimize the use of kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans or install a timer switch on them.
  • Install insulating gaskets behind electrical outlets and switch plates on exterior walls.
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Caulk and seal leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, and ceilings.
  • Use an inexpensive door sweep to reduce air leakage under exterior doors.
  • Seal small holes around water pipes and stuff insulation into larger holes around plumbing fixtures.
  • Use foam gaskets that fit behind cover plates to reduce heat loss around light switches and electrical outlets.
  • Upgrade ceiling insulation to R-38 (higher R values mean greater insulation levels and thus more energy savings).
  • Insulate exterior heated basement walls to at least R-11.
  • Insulate floors over unheated areas to R-19.
  • Install storm windows over single pane windows.
  • Replace aging furnace, when needed, with an energy efficient ENERGY STAR model.
  • Replace single pane windows with energy efficient double pane windows mounted in non-conducting window frames.