If you are renting a home or apartment and pay for your own utilities, there are ways you can lower your electricity usage to reduce your electric bill. Even if your utilities are covered by your rent, it may not be a bad idea to implement some of these tips. Some landlords will reduce the monthly rent for making cost reductions.
One of the best ways to reduce electricity usage is to cut back on the heat and AC. That doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable all day, just that it doesn’t need to run while you’re at work or asleep. A programmable thermostat lets you set schedules for the AC and heat to operate throughout the day, saving renters quite a bit on energy.
Air actually can escape through your light switches and wall outlets. By installing a rubber gasket around the cover plate, you can prevent this loss of climate controlled air.
Speaking of sealing things, doors and windows are often responsible for air loss in the home. When renting, you can ask your landlord to install weatherstripping around the window and door frames to reduce or close gaps between the window or door and their respective frames.
Consolidate your entertainment center or several appliances together on a power strip. When none of the devices are in use, you can simply shut off the power strip and stop the flow of electricity to all of the devices. For hard to reach areas like behind entertainment centers, you can get power strips that can be turned on and off via remote.
You can save energy (and prevent burns) by lowering the temperature on your water heater. Most units are factory set to 140°F, but most often 120°F is plenty hot enough for a comfortable shower. Insulating the hot water pipes from the heater to faucets and showers can also reduce energy loss.
The AC and furnace in your home may have filters in them that prevent dust and allergens from circulating. When renting, it is generally the responsibility of the tenant to replace these filters. When the filters become clogged, less air gets through, which reduces the efficiency of the system. Clean or replace the filter every 1 to 3 months to ensure optimum airflow.
Switching from old incandescent bulbs to newer, more efficient CFLs or LEDs can save up to 80% on your lighting energy use. Replace your most used lights first to reap the most benefits. LEDs pay for themselves within a few years and can last over two decades!
Covering large windows with curtains can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. This helps reduce the time your heater or AC need to run.
Ever notice that humid Texas days feel hotter than a dry day at the same temperature? This works in your home too. In the winter, adding a humidifier can make it seem warmer, allowing you to actually lower the heat.
Cleaning the condenser coils on your fridge will make it run a lot better and more efficiently. Additionally, filling gaps in your fridge with jugs of water actually helps retain more cold air so the compressor doesn’t need to run as often. Don’t overfill it, though, because if the air doesn’t circulate well, it won’t cool effectively.