Attic insulation could be your best investment. It lowers the cost of both heating and cooling.
Be sure to keep your fireplace damper closed when the fireplace is not in use.
Service the central heating system before the heating season begins to ensure that the flues are not blocked and the burners are working. Regular checkups will keep your furnace operating safely and efficiently.
Start the heating season with a clean furnace filter and each month inspect, clean and replace it as necessary to improve efficiency during both the heating and the cooling seasons.
Install storm doors and windows to help prevent heat loss. Weather stripping and caulking block cold outside air.
Seal off unused rooms by closing the registers and keeping the doors shut tightly. Do not, however, seal off more than one-fifth, or 20%, of your total living space because your furnace may not operate properly.
Keep your thermostat low. Each extra degree adds about 4% to 5% to your heating bill. When you leave for the day or over the weekend, lower the setting about 5°. For longer absences, lower the thermostat to 55° (but don’t set it lower because your pipes may freeze).
A programmable thermostat is a wise investment because it helps keep the temperature lower automatically while you are sleeping or gone for the day.
Don’t place furniture in front of heating registers.
If radiators are near cold walls, place aluminum or aluminum foil between walls and radiators to reflect heat back into the room.
Open draperies on sunny days to allow sunlight to help heat your home. Close them at night to help keep out the cold.
Encourage children not to run into and out of the house unnecessarily.
Hot Tips on Cooking
Preheat the oven only when necessary (when you bake cakes and quick breads). The broiler needs preheating only for rare steaks.
Plan to bake several dishes at the same temperature when possible.
Do not block oven air passages with aluminum foil or oven liners. Poor air flow can cause uneven baking.
Thawed foods cook faster.
On top burners use the smallest flame possible. The flame should never exceed the pan’s width.
Water boils faster in covered pans.
Cook vegetables in small amounts of water. Avoid overcooking, which reduces nutritional value.
Clean ovens and cooktops operate more efficiently.
If the burner flame is yellowish instead of blue, clean the burner with soap and water. A blue flame is more efficient than a yellow one. (Note: Some aerosols, such as nonstick cooking sprays, may cause the flame to appear yellow. In such cases the yellow flame does not affect the burner’s efficiency.)
Hot Tips on Hot Water
A water heater setting of "Normal" or "Low" is usually sufficient.
Take showers; they use less hot water than baths. Also, avoid running hot water unnecessarily during hand washing or shaving.
Wash full loads in dishwashers and washing machines.
Repair leaky faucets; constant dripping adds up to gallons of wasted hot water.
Use the right-size water heater; heating an oversized tank of water wastes gas. By the way, heating water is the second-largest use of energy next to heating a house. Savings on hot water can be significant.
Hot Tips on Drying Clothes
Dry a full load each time but avoid overloading.
Clean your lint trap before each load to improve dryer efficiency.
Don’t overdry, which can ruin delicate clothing and waste gas.
Consider line-drying clothing inside during the wintertime. You will add humidity to your home, which can make you more comfortable, and use less gas.