Temperature tips from the DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy turns 30 this year and continues to pursue its mission of advancing the energy security of the nation by promoting innovation in technology and science.

The agency estimates heating and cooling systems in the United States emit 150 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. The systems also account for about 12 percent of the nation’s sulfur dioxide and 4 percent of nitrogen oxides—the most significant component of acid rain.

Homeowners can take several steps to reduce emissions, such as purchasing energy-efficient models, but they can also increase efficiency immediately regardless of what type of system is used. The effort will also save money: Typically, heating and cooling systems account for nearly half of a home’s utility bill.

Here are five easy heating and cooling tips:

Maintain it: Clean or replace filters on furnaces monthly.

Keep it comfy: In the summer, set the thermostat as low as is comfortable. In the winter, keep the dial as high as is comfortable.

Close it up: When it’s warm outside, draw the window coverings during the day to keep out the heat.

Hit the switch: Turn off kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans within 20 minutes of their use.

Release those radiators: Ask a professional to bleed the trapped air from hot-water radiators each year.