During colder months, heating is often the number-one home energy expense. If you have a natural gas furnace (over 65% of California homes do), heating your home can account for more than half of your monthly gas bill. If you have electric heating, it can total 40% of your electricity bill.
You can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining (or possibly upgrading) your heating equipment. Insulation, air sealing and simple thermostat resetting could lower your energy costs by as much as 30% while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
You can save about 2% of your heating bill for each degree that you lower the thermostat (if the turndown lasts a good fraction of the day or night). For example, changing your thermostat’s setting from 70°F to 65°F would save about 10%.
For Lowering Your Home Heating Costs
Program your thermostat lower in the winter when you’re sleeping or when you’ll be away from home.
Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as recommended.
Keep warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators clean and clear of furniture, carpeting and drapes.
Eliminate trapped air from hot-water radiators every season; seek a professional’s help if necessary.
Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and radiators.
Turn off kitchen, bath and other exhaust fans after you are done cooking or bathing.
When replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
During winter, open draperies and shades on your south-facing windows during the day to let sunlight in your home and close them at night to retain the heat.
Select energy-efficient appliances and products when you buy new home heating equipment. Your energy provider offers guidance on how to choose energy-efficient products, and contractors can provide fact sheets for different types, models and designs to help you compare energy usage. See the Department of Energy’s efficiency standards for information on minimum ratings, and look for the ENERGY STAR® label when purchasing new products.