If you feel that your home is lacking heating and cooling efficiency you are not alone. The Riedel Marketing Group, a housewares research firm, points out that only 2 percent of the home construction market has at least one “green” environmental element, including energy-efficient appliances and windows. This information was published in a March 2007 press release by the National Home Builders Association, with assistance from McGraw-Hill Construction. In addition, households are generally concerned about saving the “green” in their wallets. Explore the various minor and major techniques that could help you improve heating and cooling efficiency in your home.


Change the temperature on the thermostat for your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter when the household is asleep and 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer when no one is in the home. You can potentially save 10 percent on your heating and cooling bills, according to the U.S.Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Many central A/C and window A/C units have easily adjustable thermostats. For greater convenience, consider replacing your basic thermostat for the central A/C with a programmable unit that automatically adjusts the temperature back to a comfortable level based on the time of day that you set.

Filter Maintenance

Replace the filters for your heating and cooling system on a regular basis to increase the efficiency of these units. The general recommendation is to replace disposable filters about once a month. If filter is reusable and washable, follow the same timetable, checking it once a month and then following the manufacturer’s cleaning regimen. A well-kept furnace can translate into to 5 percent energy cost savings. A dirty air conditioner can be 15 percent less efficient, according to nonprofit Energize Delaware.

Ceiling Fans

In the winter, a ceiling fan can force warmer air that is trapped at the top of the room back down to ground level, where you can benefit the most while sleeping and lounging. In summer, the ceiling fan thrusts air downward creating an added cooling effect. The key is to switch the direction of the blades’ rotation, which is a function that is common on many ceiling fan models. So when you make those sometimes-uncomfortable thermostat adjustments on an A/C, you can use the fan to regain some comfort. You may end up saving about 40 percent on your energy bills in the summer and 10 percent in the winter, according to Riverside Avondale Preservation Inc., in Jacksonville, Florida, a group that advocates for old, historical houses and neighborhoods. Ceiling fans are fairly inexpensive and self-installation is very doable.

Thermal Envelope

Both older and newly-built homes may lack heating and cooling efficiency because of poor planning and construction. The term “thermal envelope” can include your home’s roof, windows, walls, doors, floors and insulation, all which can help keep your home warm and cool during the winter and summer, respectively. For example, the Nebraska Energy Office, a governmental agency, states that sealing air leaks can help you save 50 percent on your future energy bills. As a simple project, you can use weatherstripping and caulk to fix leaks around windows and doors. For more complicated home improvement tasks, such as replacing or adding more insulation, you may wish to shop around for contractors. At the very least, take advantage of a free or low-cost home energy assessment from your utility company.