Furnace filters are also basically priced in three stages: cheap, not-so-cheap and moderately expensive. The cheap filters are about $1 and you change them every month without fail. If you forget, they'll clog up fast. The not-so-cheap filters should be changed every three months or so.
As for the moderately expensive filters, the experts say they're the way to go. You don't have to change them as often as the not-so-cheap filter, and they block a lot more dust and dirt. You'll find in the long run, your furnace won't have to work as hard to heat the house.
Work. Oh, that four-letter word. The next tip involves work. Sorry. But it's still super-easy ...
No. 2: Install a door sweep
Once upon a time, the bottom of a dunce's door had about 1/16th of an inch of light shining through. The dunce, not to be confused with the writer of this article, decided he would do something about it.
In the dunce's basement was weather stripping for the bottom of a door. In more common vernacular, a door sweep. The dunce, however, let it sit there for about 15 years before he touched it. He thought it would be really hard to install. What a dunce.
He took the slim strip of plastic out of its paper container and went upstairs. He went to the front door and measured. He cut the strip the proper length, removed the backing to reveal the adhesive strip -- and stuck it to the bottom of the door. The act took about 30 seconds, and the bottom of the door suddenly didn't have expensive hot air whistling outside!
When the dunces' bride heard about this, she said: "You waited 15 years to do something so simple? Why?"
Whatever. OK, time to deliver our fifth and final tip ... one that will electrify you ...
No. 1: Install a programmable thermostat
This one basically involves a screwdriver. But it's still really easy to do, and the payoff can be huge.
According the federal government, you can save as much as 10 percent a year on your heating/cooling bills by turning back your thermostat while you're at work and/or asleep.
The simple way to do this is to install a battery-powered programmable thermostat. Just turn the power off to where your old dial thermostat is located, unhook it and install the new one. It's just a few wires off, a few wires on. Not a big deal all.
When the new one is online, you can program it to any temperature for any time of the day or week. Wintertime and you're at work? No need to heat an empty house. Back off a few degrees. Summertime and you're at the beach for the day? Have the temp go up automatically. No need to keep it cool if you're not there.
You can also use the manual override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program. The other person in the house, for example, might want it set on 68 instead of 63. She's sick of winter, and wants a break for a few hours! No problem. But since you bought it -- and installed it-- you reserve the right to hike it down to 59 the second her eyes shut for the evening.
It's only fair!