This has certainly been an unusual winter for most of the country. Warmer temperatures and minimal snowfall totals have many hoping for an early spring. February on the east coast has been like a roller coaster ride, with temperatures plunging one day, then warm enough the next to skip the coat.

In my home, I've spent the month trying to predict the ups and downs of the weather by adjusting my heater constantly.

It's tempting to leave the thermostat on at a set temperature, so that the room is warm when returning home. Many assume this saves energy, because the heater won’t have to work as hard to heat the room to the desired temperature. It's actually more efficient to heat your home just as you need, which means turning the heat off or down when you leave the house, or setting your programmable thermostat to do so if you have one. Did you know that you can save around 10% on your heating bills by turning your thermostat back 10°–15° for eight hours?

Because I always like to know how things work in my home, here is a good tutorial of different heating systems in homes. Find your heating system and learn its features. If the weather can’t be predictable, perhaps your energy bill will be!

Amanda McAlpin works for New West Technologies supporting the Vehicle Technologies Program at the U.S. Department of Energy.