10. Defeat Rapid Cycling
Rapid cycling — when a heating system fires on and off — wastes money. It occurs because of a heat-anticipation feature on thermostats that maintains a near-constant room temperature. Most electronic setback thermostats are programmed to act when they sense a 1 degree to 1.5 degree drop. If the thermostat is misprogrammed to less than 1 degree, the heater may go into rapid cycle, firing every three minutes or less to maintain temperature. To stop rapid cycling, make sure the "cycle-rate adjustment" in the thermostat setup mode reads from 1 degree to 1.5 degree. If you change it, move it higher. On most mechanical thermostats, the amperage scale is set from 0.1 to 1.2 amps. To defeat rapid cycling, set the arrow one notch higher. Let it cycle for 24 hours before adjusting it again. Rapid cycling is common in the relatively warm early and late winter, when you're using a unit capable of heating on the coldest days. Detect rapid cycling in midwinter, when the heater should fire 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off.

Cost: $0

11. Lower the Thermostat

Each degree you lower the thermostat on your heating system decreases your fuel bill by 3 percent. Going from 72 degrees down to 68 degrees doesn't matter much in terms of comfort, but it can save up to 12 percent on your heating bill. (All temperatures in this article are in degrees Fahrenheit.)

If you're using a coil-type thermostat, you'll get more accurate readings if you clean it. Pop off the thermostat cover and blow or gently swipe away the dust.

Cost: $0

12. Get Free Energy-Saving Info
Need more guidance on saving energy? The U.S. Department of Energy's website provides tons of easy and practical energy-saving tips for your home.
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