Customize Your Thermostat

Whether you still have an old mercury-vial thermostat or a newer, basic digital model, consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat. These allow you to program automatic temperature settings to suit the household’s activity on a daily or weekly basis. For example, you can have your thermostat turn off the AC just before you leave the house for work, then turn it on again just before your return at the end of the day. This is one of the simple measures that Weiner recommends to homeowners looking to save energy on cooling. “It just makes it easier to manage household comfort without wasting energy.”

Nancy Kellogg has a clever trick to capture a little free cooling and balance the temperatures inside her home. Her thermostat has a “fan only” option that simply runs the blower motor on her forced-air furnace. During hot days, when the upper-level rooms are heated up and the basement (where the furnace is) stays much cooler, she runs the fan for a while. The system draws in some of the cool basement air and circulates it throughout the house. In her case, this can lower the temperature in her living spaces by 6 to 7 degrees.