You want to be warm in winter, but you also want to be wise, so make smart decisions about your energy use by following the quick and easy suggestions outlined below.

Thermostat

Set thermostats at about 70° or lower, and at approximately 58° when away from the house. While sleeping, add an extra blanket for warmth. Remember, warmer temperatures are recommended for homes with ill or elderly persons or infants.

Programmable Thermostat

Turn down the heat automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing a programmable thermostat. In fact, you can cut heating bills by as much as 10% per year, just by turning your thermostat back 10% to 15% for eight hours per day.

Filters

Change or clean your heating equipment filters once a month during the heating season. If you need a reminder, plan to do it on the day you receive your energy bill each month.

Water Temperature

Set water heater temperatures at 120°. A family of four, each showering for five minutes a day, uses 700 gallons of water each week. By lowering the water heater to 120°, families can cut water heating bills without sacrificing comfort.

Insulation

Insulate electric water heaters - but not gas water heaters - with insulation blankets in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines. Since water heating is a typical family's third largest energy expense, insulating water heaters can help lower your utility bills by about 14%.

Blinds

On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let the sun's warmth in. Close them in the evening to insulate against the cold night air.