The bad news is that half of your household energy costs go towards just two things—heating and cooling. The good news is that means you have lots of room for improvement, and even small changes make dramatic improvements in household fuel efficiency.
Older heating and cooling systems are a third less efficient than the new systems. So replacing the old with the new is a wonderful idea, but not very practical for most of us. Things you can do right now to make sure you’re setting the right temperature in your house include:
Tune up your heating system. This one thing every couple of years can reduce your heating costs by 10 percent a year.
Clean vents, close unused vents, and change filters in the vents. Again, just these simple things will save you 10 percent.
Buy a programmable thermostat, which can regulate different temperatures at different times of the day. And if you have one, use it! Right now, three-quarters of people who have programmable thermostats don’t use them at all.
Add two degrees to the AC thermostat in summer, and two degrees in winter. If everyone did this, the cumulative impact is significant.
Make sure windows and doors are sealed. Again, this will dramatically improve your household fuel efficiency.
Of course, if you can stand it, by far the best approach is to avoid air conditioners at all. Ceiling fans, instead of AC, can reduce your cooling costs by more than half.