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Tips to Reduce Your Heating and Cooling Costs

Here are a few tips that will help reduce the load on your heating and cooling systems so that they do not have to work so hard, resulting in further reductions of your heating and cooling costs.


In the summer, the attic is the first layer of defense between your homes living space and the sun. In the winter, the attic is the final layer between your heated air and the frigid air outdoors. The most economical thing you can do is to add additional layers of insulation to your attic or have more insulation blown in.

In the winter, if you have older windows, seal the windows with plastic, either from weatherization kits that are readily available or by simply cutting plastic sheets and securing them with duct tape. Also add weather stripping to doors and replace screens with storm windows or cover the screens with plastic.


During the summer, your attic crawl space can easily exceed 130 degrees. Proper venting, such as installing a 'ridge vent' can be helpful in allowing the heat at the attic's highest level to more easily escape.

If you had chosen to add more insulation to your attic space, check to make sure none of your eaves are blocked and that your attic still has airflow from each eave to the ridge vent.

Another great ventilation aid is to install a solar powered exhaust vent that only turns on at high temperature and uses only the power of the sun to provide this extra ventilation. Since there is no wiring necessary, any basic carpenter or handyman can install this form of vent.


Your bathroom fans, stove top fans and clothes drier are all items that exhaust your heated or cooled air outside, requiring air to be drawn in from the outside, resulting in hot humid air or cold frigid air being sucked into your home when you least desire it.

Do not use your clothes drier on extreme temperature days, such as summer days at 90 degrees and greater or on winter days at 20 degrees or lower. In the summer, the heat of the day peaks between 3pm and 6pm, so run your drier earlier in the morning or much later at night. Likewise in the winter, the night temperatures may be frigid and drop into the single digits. Run your clothes drier only during the afternoon and early evening when the air is the warmest of the day.

For your bathroom exhaust fans, replace the simple on/off switch with a timed switching device of no more than 60 minutes. It is necessary to ventilate the bathroom, but it's totally wasteful to find that the exhaust fan ran all day while at work, exhausting your heated air outside. You may as well have just left a window open all day.


Depending upon your geographic location and the position your home faces, you can take advantage of windows and curtains to add or block heat, depending upon the time of year. In the winter, allow the sun to enter your southern windows during the day, but in the summer, be sure to keeps those blinds drawn.

For summer cooling, install a whole house exhaust system and run it on nights when the outdoor temperature drops. Simply turn the unit on, open your windows and allow the house to cool off naturally, with just a little help from one central fan.


Heating systems are generally designed to provide your home with the capacity to maintain 70 degrees indoors when it's 0 degrees outdoors. By eliminating drafts and simply wearing long sleeve shirts and socks during the winter, you can easily reduce your homes temperature setting to 65 degrees and be totally comfortable. Any lower than that and you may start feeling uncomfortable.

Cooling systems are generally designed to provide your home with the capacity to maintain 75 degrees indoors when it's 95 degrees outdoors. Since the main discomfort issue in the summer is humidity, you can be comfortable in your home at higher temperatures since the homes humidity levels are reduced when running the air conditioner. By eliminating unnecessary exhaust and door openings and closings, you could increase your homes temperature setting to 78 or 80 degrees and be totally comfortable if you dress lightly and keep drapes drawn that favor the suns side of your home.

For either heating or cooling, you can alter the temperature settings from 5 to 10 degrees for when you are not going to be at home for 8 to 12 hours. Making an alteration of any greater amount only leads to your system overworking to recover and this is inefficient. If you are going to be away for days, you can reduce the heating to 55 degrees or raise the cooling temperature to 90 degrees and this will prevent freezing issues or baking issues.

You can also install a programmable thermostat to better define the periods where you plan to be home or not, plus you can also set winter heating temperatures lower during the night when you are sleeping and have it bump back up a few degrees a half hour before you awake.

( This article is an authorized excerpt from the book 'The Rewards of Making Energy Efficient Choices' , available at )
About Author David Nelmes :

David Nelmes is a published author and home energy inspector in Pennsylvania, specializing in the fields of Heating and Air Conditioning, Electrical Wiring and Interiors/Insulation. You can visit his web site at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

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Article Added on Sunday, October 5, 2008
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