Homeowners should think about installing a programmable thermostat. They cost about $50 but can save, on average, about $150 a year in energy costs.
Now, before it gets too cold, is a great time to get a checkup on your boiler or furnace. Call your local plumber, or the company that put in your furnace or boiler, and have them go over your system. This tune up typically costs $100 to $150 but the savings can be dramatically more than the costs.
You might want to think about getting your house an energy audit. Among the things they will do is to review and take stock of your energy bills and also do a room to room energy assessment. They can find inefficiencies that can be fixed, thus cutting your energy bill, perhaps significantly. Check with your utility company, it’s possible they can send someone to do this energy audit free of charge. Or they likely can recommend a local contractor who does these energy audits.
You can actually do an energy assessment yourself. Go to Energystar.gov/homeadvisor. You simply type in your zip code, and the type of water heater, heating, and cooling systems you have and this site will come back to you with a list or ideas of recommendations—from adding more insulation to caulking doorways.
If your home improvements are energy related, such putting in new storm window, or adding insulation, then you are likely eligible for a tax credit. If you are replacing an old water heater, boiler or furnace make sure your new one has an Energy Star logo. This logo means the EPA has determined they will use 10 to 50 percent less energy than other models, and you can also get a tax credit.