When the seasons change, so do the most effective ways to save money and energy.
Fall and Winter
Set your ceiling fans to the clockwise direction to help pull the heated air down to the living areas of your home and keep drafts at bay.
Cover up cold feet. Research shows we are more sensitive to feeling cold when our toes are exposed, and women are more likely than men to have cold feet. Wearing comfy wool socks can help you feel warm all over.
Make sure the insulation in your attic is 10-12 inches deep to help keep your home comfortable, and if you have a crawl space or basement, use an insulation wrap to help blanket your living areas.
Check your water heater. If your water heater tank is warm to the touch, believe it or not, it may need a blanket. Check with the manufacturer to see if it has an R value of at least 24, and if not, try adding a custom-made insulating blanket, which can reduce heat loss by 25%-45%. They are super easy to install and available at most home improvement or building supply stores.
Program your thermostat to a temperature setting of 68 degrees or lower during the day and even cooler at night while you’re sleeping and snuggled under the covers.
If you’ve got a programmable thermostat, set it to automatically increase about 10 or 15 minutes before your alarm goes off, so you can start your day without shivering.
Open your drapes or blinds to take advantage of the sun’s rays during the day to help heat your home. Close them on the shaded side of the house and at night.
Use an electric blanket at night. An electric blanket is more economical than heating the entire house all night long. Another option - swap out your bedding to flannel sheets or heavier blankets.
Rethink your fireplace. Although a crackling fire in the fireplace can make a room appear to be warm and cozy, fireplaces are often a deterrent to energy efficiency because a lot of the heated air escapes up the chimney. A fireplace designed for providing heat eliminates this problem through a draft which supplies the fire with outside air rather than air from the room.
If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when the fireplace is not in use.
Keep cold wind outside by closing garage doors.
Close all louvers and vents in the attic or foundation walls during the winter - but be sure to open them when the weather turns warm.
Zone heat — only use portable electric space heaters in the room or area you are in. Buy models that are thermostatically controlled.
Spring and Summer
Set ceiling fans to run counterclockwise to help cool rooms.
Ensure air conditioning vents are unobstructed and opened to full capacity.
Get your air conditioning unit serviced to ensure it’s working efficiently.
Clean range-hood grease filter to ensure proper ventilation.
Vacuum refrigerator condenser coils to improve efficiency.
Seal gaps in floors, doors and windows to save up to 10% on your energy bill and prevent moisture issues and drafts.
Ensure outdoor unit for air conditioner is free of leaves and other debris.
Remember that dark colors absorb heat. You can repel excess heat by using light-colored blinds, shades and draperies on the sunny sides of the house. Make sure the draperies are insulated or lined.
Close drapes during the day and consider applying window film to minimize heat from the sun.
Use ventilated awnings and other shading devices to prevent heat from entering windows exposed to direct sunlight.
Perform activities such as mopping and washing dishes in the coolest part of the day. These tasks add moisture - and heat - to your home in the summer.
Use a bathroom exhaust fan or open a window to remove heat and moisture when the bathroom door is closed. This spares the air conditioner extra work.
Use your kitchen exhaust fan to remove excess heat, moisture and cooking odors. But don't let it run more than 15 minutes after cooking or it will be taking out conditioned air.
Try to keep in-and-out traffic from overworking your cooling system. Each time the door is opened, hot air enters your home.
Open crawl space and attic vents during summer months to promote ventilation and reduce humidity, decreasing moisture load on your cooling system.
Try setting the thermostat at 78 degrees or above during the summer. If you have a ceiling fan, you may be able to raise the temperature to 80 degrees or higher.
Set the thermostat and then forget it. If you change the temperature often during the day, you are more likely to waste energy.
Use natural lighting early in the day and late in the afternoon to reduce your energy usage.
Hang laundry outside to dry during the warm weather. Running the dryer raises the overall temperature of the house and requires a great deal of electricity.