Set your thermostat at around 68 – 70 degrees while at home and lower when you are away and even at night. There are a few reasons why you should do this. The first is that it will save you money. Energy.gov states that “By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.” Since usually we sleep for around 8 hours and many of our homes sit empty for some time during the day this is easily doable. . There are advantages to turning down the temperature at night as well, not only does will it save you money, but there are some health factors related to a lower sleeping temperature. Both the Sleep Foundation and Mayo Clinic suggest that cooler sleeping temperatures will help you sleep better. So save money while you get a better nights rest. Another bonus that you get from keeping temperatures under 70 degrees is that germs and bacteria grow at a slower rate than in warmer temperatures. Typically the ideal temperatures for germs and bacteria to multiply are between 70 F and 100 F. You will be slowing down the growth and multiplication of germs and bacteria while saving money!
Purchase or make a draft blocker. Keep the hot air in and the cold air out!
Keep your heating vents and air registers clear and clean. They will function at top efficiency when clean.
Use your window coverings and curtains wisely! Depending on the direction your home faces, you should open and close curtains and window coverings according to which is facing the sun's warm rays. You can use this method to warm up your house up naturally by the sun.
Close off vents and doors to rooms and areas of the house that are not being used. There is no need to heat a room that rarely gets used. If doing this though you will want to place something like a draft blocker in front of the door to that room to keep the cold temps from that room coming into the other well used warmer parts.
When you are leaving town, set the temperature low, like 60 – 65 degrees!
Check your water heater temperature. 120 degrees is ideal for most families.
Utilize the heat from your oven.
Things you can do to maintain warmth
Socks are the most important! Heat escapes from your feet (and hands and head, but you would look silly wearing hats and gloves all day in the house) and so this is a much more practical way to help warm up everyone.
Dress in layers – put on a sweatshirt! It really is that simple.
Drink something warm to warm-up your internal body temperature. Hot coffee, hot tea, hot cocoa, etc will warm you from the inside out.
Sit in front of a south-facing window or door.
Investments that will help with lowering heating costs:
One of the smartest things that you can do is to invest in a programmable thermostat. This helps you to easily regulate those temps. It is a good small investment to make.
Change your furnace filters regularly. Changing your filters will provide you with two benefits: It will improve the efficiency of your HVAC unit and keep your family healthier. Filters do not cost much but will save your furnace, improve your heating efficiency and keep your family healthier with clean air coming through.
Install/replace door sweeps. Similar to the draft guards, but more permanent
Insulation for ducts. If you have any heating ducts in your home, garage, attic, basement, etc that are exposed you should wrap them in insulation. It is an affordable and very easy fix. You should see savings almost immediately.
Furnace check-ups and maintenance -Paying to have your furnace serviced twice a year will help considerably in the efficiency of your HVAC unit.
Run your fans to circulate the heat (the opposite direction than you do in summer!). This keeps the heat recirculating in your home.
If you have an old furnace consider getting a new energy efficient furnace! The cost of running your older HVAC unit is quite a bit more than a new or energy efficient one. It will take a few years to recover the costs, but the savings will pay off in the end.
If you are looking to change out a furnace or system for heating, one final thing to research and investigate is what form of heating is going to be best and most cost efficient for your home in your area. There is a chart put out by the Department of Energy that compares the costs of heating with different methods. It is an interesting and potentially very helpful resource.