Here are a few tips on what you can do around your house to optimize your heating / cooilng system and increase the comfort inside your home.
Set the thermostat high during hot weather while you're away from the home to reduce energy use.
Light-colored roof shingles reflect more of the sun's heat
Close your blinds or drapes to block the sunlight during the hottest part of the day.
Install awnings over windows exposed to direct sunlight.
Run kitchen and bath exhaust fansat a minimum.
Don't place lamps, TV sets or other heat-producing devices beneath a wall-mounted thermostat. Rising heat from that equipment may cause the air conditioning system to overcool your house.
Put your thermostat on an inside wall away from windows and doors.
Set the thermostat low but at a comfortable level. Each degree over 68°F can add 3% to the amount of energy you need to heat the home.
Lower the thermostat a degree or two when expecting a large group of guests. They'll warm up the house with their body heat.
The single most important step in conserving energy is good insulation. Thermal insulation should be specified in terms of thermal resistance (R-values). R-30 (10") is recommended for ceilings, and R-11 (3-1/2”) for exterior walls and floors over unheated areas.
Humidity is your heating and air conditioning system's worst enemy and could account for 15% to 30% of air conditioning energy requirements. Find the places where air can sneak into the home and plug them with caulking, weather-stripping or plastic. Also, weather-strip and caulk around all entrance doors and windows.
Cut heat transfer through your windows by 40% to 50% with double-glazing (two panes of glass separated by a sealed air space).
Establish a habit of keeping your windows and doors closed as often as possible.
Make sure fireplaces have tight-fitting dampers, which can be closed when the fireplace is not in use. Invest in a humidifier to conserve energy in winter. The air in your home won't be as dry, so you stay comfortable at a lower temperature setting.