U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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Heating and Cooling

Graphic of a pie chart: natural gas 53%; electricity 30%, other 9%, fuel oil 7%, no heating system 1%.

Household Heating Systems
Although several different types of fuels are available to heat our homes, more than half of us use natural gas.

Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, 43% of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling. What's more, heating and cooling systems in the United States together emit 150 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, adding to global climate change. They also generate about 12% of the nation's sulfur dioxide and 4% of the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain.

No matter what kind of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy-efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling, and reduce environmental emissions, from 20% to 50%.

Heating and Cooling Tips

Long-Term Savings Tips

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Content Last Updated: 4/9/2009