Winter Heating Tips

Adjust the Temperature
  • For heat pumps, maintaining a moderate temperature setting (around 68°F or lower) is recommended for energy-efficiency. Recently, some companies have developed specially designed programmable thermostats for heat pumps, which make setting back the temperature setting energy efficient.
  • If you have a heat pump, do not set back the heat pump's thermostat if it causes the backup heating to come on. When a heat pump is in heating mode, setting back the thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently and cancel out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature setting.
  • When you are at home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable (68°F or lower).
  • When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10°–15° for eight hours. This should save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills.
  • A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
  • Find out from the DOE how to operate your thermostat for maximum energy savings.
Maintain Your Heating Systems
  • Schedule service for your heating system. Find out from the DOE what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently.
  • If you heat with a furnace, replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed. View more tips from the DOE about maintaining your furnace or boiler.
  • For heat pumps, clean or change filters once a month or as needed and clean outdoor coils whenever they appear dirty. View more tips about operating and maintaining your heat pump from the DOE.
Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace
  • Clean your fireplace flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the fireplace with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently.
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
  • When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly—approximately 1 inch—and close doors leading into the room.
  • When using your fireplace, lower your thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
  • If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
  • If you use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
  • Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
  • Add caulking around the fireplace hearth. Find out more techniques to improve your fireplace or wood-burning appliance's efficiency from the DOE.