What’s worse than freezing your keister off on when Old Man Winter blows through town? Freezing in your own home. The trouble is, those pesky heating costs can really pile up. The largest expense in the average U.S. home is space heating, which accounts for about 45 percent of annual energy bills. Households that use natural gas spend about $700 a year on heating costs, while the price tag for those who rely on oil to keep their houses and apartments cozy is a whopping $1,700 annually. That’s not to mention the money that goes toward keeping a home – and those who live in it – cool when the weather turns warm, an effort that reflects roughly half of a household’s energy costs during summer months. Whether its layering on multiple pairs of sweatpants to fight off the chills or stripping down to your skivvies and opening every window in the joint to beat the heat, many people go to all kinds of lengths in order to save a little dough on their energy bills. That includes turning the heat down – perhaps even off completely — when they’re not at home.

Drop the Needle, Save Cash

You’ve probably read or heard that a heating unit has to work harder to warm up a cold house than to maintain the temperature in an already cozy space. This is what the U.S. Department of Energy likes to call a “common misconception”.

The truth is that it requires more energy to keep the house at its normal temperature than to heat it back to that temperature after dialing the thermostat down. Heat naturally moves to places where it’s cold. So if your heat is up, it is constantly moving from the inside of your house to the outside, even if your house is well-insulated. A home loses energy more slowly once the temperature inside drops below normal levels. The longer the house remains cold, the more energy it saves compared to the energy lost that comes when the heater is humming along at its normal temperature [source

Other Ways to Save Energy

Working the thermostat is an important first step to maximizing energy efficiency, but there are also a number of other things you can do to cut down on home heating and cooling costs without sacrificing too much comfort.

First, make changing temperatures easier by investing in a programmable thermostat. This technology allows users to schedule heating levels to automatically rise when they wake up or come home at the end of the day. Most of the devices also let users to store and repeat daily settings and can be changed manually when necessary.

Programmable thermostats are less helpful – and may actually prove more costly – for people who rely on heat pumps to warm their homes. In heating mode, the pumps are most efficient when running at a constant, moderate level and scheduling various temperature changes can cancel out any potential savings.

Next, make sure your heating and cooling systems are running efficiently to ensure that you’re not wasting energy on them. That means cleaning filters and replacing them regularly, removing dirt and addressing corrosion on HVAC units. It also means checking that vents and radiators are not obstructed and that air ducts and heating pipes are properly sealed.

Read more: https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/heating-and-cooling/turn-heat-down-not-home2.htm