Save Energy: Heating and Cooling Tips

Right now, despite our thermostat being set to 74 degrees, our house is currently sitting at 72 degrees. The sun is shining. It’s 76 degrees outside and the middle of the afternoon. But our house has remained cool all day. Want to know our tricks?

We’re able to keep our house fairly cool and save energy day to day with some simple tricks.

Find more sanity saving home tips to help make your house run more smoothly.

Save Energy! Everyday Heating & Cooling Tips for Your Home

How to Save Cooling & Heating Energy Day to Day

Programmable Thermostat

The biggest energy saving item in our house is our programmable thermostat.

I’m sure you’ve heard about how awesome these things are… but that’s not just talk.

Programmable thermostats allow you to set the air higher for when you’re gone.


We also set the thermostat to automatically circulate the air within the house to make sure the air is being distributed.

In our house, I set the house to 74 degrees during the day and we go down to 70 at night… otherwise, my boys wouldn’t sleep!

Home Insulation

The second biggest difference in our energy usage is the attic insulation.

When we moved in, the attic insulation hadn’t been redone since the house was built…. in 1954!

My father and husband spent a few sweltering days laying down new insulation themselves.

But I can’t tell you how much our electric and gas bills dipped afterward. It was quite astonishing.

Shade the House

Shade the house… but I mean this in multiple ways.

First, we have trees out in our front yard, which help keep the sun from hitting our roof and heating up the house.

I also often keep the shades of the house down in the summer during the day, which keeps the sun from heating up the upstairs as well as the rest of the house.

Open/Close Registers

Depending on the time of year, I open and close the registers.

Because cool air falls, I close the vents on the 1st floor during the summer.

I allow the second floor to cool down and let that cool air fall down to the first floor.

Otherwise, the first floor can feel nice and cool while the upstairs feels too hot.

In the winter, I close the upstairs vents and open the first floor ones.

Close the Basement Door

Sounds strange, right? But because cool air falls, it will fill up your basement.

Your basement is probably cooler naturally because of the ground surrounding it, so there’s no reason to send your cooling energy down there.

Close any vents as well as the basement door. I always tell the kids — I’m not paying to refrigerate the basement.


  1. It’s interesting that you mentioned closing the registers on one level of the home but keeping them open on another level. I’ve heard that it actually is bad to close them in one room but leave them open in others because then your HVAC system works harder to regulate the house as a whole. Does that not hold true for different levels of the home?

    1. When we have our registers open for both levels, the upper floor gets overly warm. And in the summer, if we keep the downstairs registers open, the downstairs get that much colder and uncomfortable.

  2. Great suggestions. Also, checking to make sure the AC unit outside is free and clear of debris and leaves is another energy saving tip.

  3. I have been looking to save money on cooling. I had no idea that closing the basement door could help. I will need to try that out. Thank you for your help.

  4. These are some really great tips! I had a programmable thermostat installed earlier this year and it has saved me a lot. It’s so nice to be able to change the AC or heating settings without having to a) get up in the middle of the nights or b) come home from work. That’s a really smart trick closing the vents on one floor, though, I had never thought of that. I’ll have to try that with winter coming on.

  5. Thanks for sharing this great post about saving money on heating! My husband and I are about to have a new heating system installed, and we’re looking for additional ways we can save money once it’s in. We’ll be sure to close our upstairs vents during the winter so the hot air will rise and heat it on its own!

  6. I need to get a programmable thermostat! I had no idea that you can set the temperature at different settings for different times of the day. That would be helpful in lowering the electric bill and save money. Thanks for the very useful tip!

  7. Thank you for the help. Last summer I paid much more for air conditioning than I had expected and I want to be more prepared this summer. I am shocked to hear that simply getting a programmable thermostat installed makes a difference. Would it pay itself off in the course of the summer?

    1. I would think in my people’s cases it would quickly pay for itself. Imagine automatically reducing the energy you use when you’re not home for the day. Sounds like a win-win to me.

  8. I really appreciated this post, especially because it’s always nice to increase efficiency. Some of our bills have been a little costly lately. I hadn’t ever considered that closing the basement door would help keep the cool air upstairs better. Thanks for sharing some of these tips.

  9. Our basement doesn’t even have air conditioning, and it usually does fine. If it gets a little warm, it’s okay because we aren’t down there that much, and opening the windows at night helps a lot. We also have some nice shade trees that help a lot, though they’re getting old and need to go, we keep putting it off because they provide such nice shade. Great info, thanks.

  10. Thanks for these tips. I got new window screens and blinds to hopefully block some of the heat!

  11. Your right, I keep hearing that the programmable thermostat will save me money on my heating and cooling bill. However, I haven’t gotten around to changing it. It just hasn’t been at the top of my to-do list. Anyway, is installing the thermostat something that I could do on my own, or would you recommend getting a pro to do it?

  12. I do have an attic in my house but I never gave much thought to it. I’ve alway just left it alone but if it can save energy than I’m willing to give that part of m home more time. I’m looking forward to saving on heating bills.

  13. A programmable thermostat does seem like a great way to save money. Being able to adjust when the heating comes on is a good way to control your heating costs like you mentioned. It looks like it’s even possible to get a programmable thermostat for the different type of heating systems.

  14. I want to make sure that I have my heating installed properly. I didn’t know that you could get a programmable thermostat! I might have to see if I can have that with my new system.

  15. Definitely some great tips. I think to maximize energy efficiency you need to start off with a great system and then implement these tips. Thanks for the post!

  16. Programmable thermostat looks like the easiest and most effortless solution. It can increase the efficiency as well. Thanks a lot for theses tips!

  17. I like that you said that having insulation in your house has reduced that price of your energy bill. If I was going to get new insulation I would want to know how much it would cost to have installed. Hiring a professional for the insulation might be a good idea so that you know it is being done right.

  18. Thanks for pointing out the value of a programmable thermostat as a way to save money. I can see how this would be really useful, since it would allow you to use less gas or electricity while you weren’t at home. I imagine that it could be useful to replace your heating system with a newer one as well, since the newer options are all pretty energy efficient.

  19. Dale's AC North Port says:

    Our A/C units use up more energy than we may think. I’ve heard of people switching to solar-powered air conditioning to save energy.

  20. Keeping your HVAC system well maintained is something that will continue to save energy.
    One of the most common things to find is a dirty HVAC system. It is vital to replace the air filter every few months or sooner. This will keep your system running smoothly and your bills reasonable because your HVAC doesn’t have to work as hard.

  21. Thank you for sharing this! However, you said nothing about windows. Windows alone contribute to 10-25% of temperature loss in an average home. These numbers can grow if the windows are old or poorly maintained.

  22. We love smart thermostats! They help us save energy and money.
    But be careful when setting a lower temperature for the time when you’re sleeping or away -too low a temperature on cold winter days may cause frozen pipes. Keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

  23. Yup, run it at a reasonable temperature and you’ll save money. However, some people just like it to be super warm. The way prices on electricity, oil, gas and everything else is going that’ll make people rethink how they are heating their home.

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