Whether you’re finally escaping the parents’ abode or moving into your third rental home, you’re undoubtedly keen to find some ways to reduce the hefty load of daily living expenses.
Best ways renters can lower energy bill
Your energy usage in your apartment is a natural place to start. But it isn’t so easy to reduce those energy bills if you can’t make any structural changes to your home. Renters face unique circumstances when trying to save energy when renting a home or renting an apartment. Its not easy to make energy efficient changes when you do not own the place! Below are some energy saving tips for apartments for people who rent them.
Learn Apartment Energy Savings Tips
While added insulation and solar panels are an obvious way to go to reduce the costs of your energy usage, it’s not the only way, by any means. There are plenty of energy saving tips renters can work on to reduce their bills. It’s all about changing your habits rather than your house. This is what renters need to focus on when trying to save energy costs since they often cannot physically change where they are living.
Here are some hassle-free ways to cull your energy usage when renting – and in the process, see a happy decline in those quarterly utilities bills that you are also paying as a renter.
Compare energy suppliers before you commit
Today we couldn’t fathom living without electricity or gas. But in many parts of the world at least, there are a huge range of gas and electricity suppliers to choose from. So it’s natural you might not be getting the best deal you could have. It can be tiresome toiling through every single energy supplier in your area to work out their plans and decide on the best one for your needs. But it can also be well worth it. Having options to pick who supplies your energy as a renter can be a sure way to make sure that you are getting the lowest rates.
Thankfully, there are useful tools online that compile all the relevant companies into one place so you don’t need to do the hard work. Whether you’re just curious or ready for a switch, you need only type in your postcode to see the full range of plans and options out there for you – and to learn what you may have been missing out on in the meantime. However, this is not available in all markets. In many cities, there is one big utility company who controls the market and you will have to buy electricity or gas through them.
It makes sense to shop around for an energy provider. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a cheap/free energy audit through your utility company at your apartment/house. It is definitely worthwhile to check out the gas, electric, and water companies’ web sites to see if this benefit is available in your area. As an added bonus, very often, the energy company auditors will give you things like free CFL light bulbs, weather-stripping, efficient shower heads or faucet aerators, etc. as part of the energy audit.
In addition, they may pass out some coupons after the energy audit. You may also have access to discounts on things like light bulbs. For example, coupons for a bunch of LED and CFL bulbs and lamps through my utility’s deal with an online retailer.
Obliterate vampire power
It sounds so easy, so why so few people switch their appliances off at the wall eludes me. All the time your devices – the TV, your state-of-the-art stereo system, that second-hand microwave – are plugged in and on standby, they’re draining power. In fact, they could be draining power to the amount of more than $100 each year.
To eliminate appliances/items sucking power, it might be helpful to connect certain devices to a power strip and turn it off every day before you leave for work. Some devices are known as “vampires” because they’re continually sucking power even when turned off. TVs are an example. Though they are off, they are constantly scanning for a signal from the remote. Computers also continually suck power, even when turned off. When you leave for the day, turn your thermostat down into the 60°F range. Of course, if you have pets or other humans that stay at home, that may not be possible
Using a power board is a simple way to turn off all your devices in one go, ensuring you’ll conserve energy and power. If you have access to your electrical meter, turn off all of the circuits in the apartment using the breaker/fuse panel, then verify that the meter is no longer registering any electricity usage. It’s not uncommon for apartments to be miswired such that your neighbor may be using some of your electrical power.
Mobile technology is another energy vampire, only charging your laptops, mobile phones, tablets etc. when the batteries are nearly flat and then taking them off charge when they are done, rather than leaving them on not only increase the battery life but also saves a lot of energy. Really anything with a LED screen or clock that does not need to be on all of the time can be switched off when not in use, it is amazing how quickly you notice it on your energy bills when you start doing it.
In short, to save energy costs as a renter, plug all of your phone chargers, TVs, satellite/cable TV boxes, and other electronic items into a power strip that has an on/off switch. Turn it off when you’re not home and save energy in your apartment!
Big Apartment Energy Saving Tips: Change your lights
You might not be able to touch your light fittings as a renter, but you can at least swap over the light bulbs to more energy efficient alternatives. These alternatives are typically LED or CFL globes. This alone is the most important thing in my opinion. It reduces the energy usage of the bulbs by a very large percentage. I would recommend LED. They can get more expensive, but they WILL pay for themselves. Any place you are concerned about heat (as a safety issue) or need directional lighting they are likely better than CFLs. They will likely not save you money
Once you’ve made the switch, you could further reduce your bills by turning off those lights in unoccupied rooms so your building isn’t lit up like a Los Vegas strip.
Layer up before you crank the thermostat
Some of those older inner-city rental homes can be nastily cool, especially in the depths of winter. So we understand the temptation to crank the heat and transform your refrigerator into an oven (who doesn’t love the heat?). Heating and cooling because these are the biggest energy suckers. If you have a really old and inefficient system you might qualify for rebate or tax breaks through your electric company or government.
Your heating and A/C are going to use most of the energy so do what you can to retain heat or keep it out (when appropriate). If you’re not going to open the windows for a few months apply some silicon around the edges. It peels off pretty easily for when you need to open them. You can also get some rubber seals to put around the door that aren’t too expensive. Getting a bit crazier you also lose heat around outlets and light switches. There’s special backing to put behind those but that’s not as cost effective. You can just put some regular glue around the edges though. Otherwise try to heat/cool only the rooms that you’re in by using space heaters or fans. Check your blower unit as well for proper sealing
But the next time you go to spin the dial, think about the impact it could have on your next bill. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that heating and cooling systems contribute to more than 40% of your home’s annual energy usage.
We’re used to the convenience of heating and cooling, but there are other ways to control your internal temperature. You can put on a few extra layers of clothing, brew yourself a warm drink, and throw over a rug before you settle into the couch in winter. When you do go to raise the thermostat, keeping it at a lower temperature can add up quickly.
And in summer, if you’re lucky enough to have air con in your rental home, consider first closing the blinds or curtains over the window so your house doesn’t heat up as quickly before you turn on that blessed system.
Find out about off-peak pricing
If you’re a student or a natural late-night owl, you’ll be used to staying up late and sleeping in. This could work to your benefit if you want to reduce your energy costs, thanks to many electricity supplier’s cheaper rates in off-peak periods.
A lot of energy retailers have off-peak pricing, offering a cheaper rate during quieter hours (typically between 10pm and 7am). Keep that excessive study on your laptop or procrastinate with your Xbox and sound system between these hours and you could enjoy greater energy savings on your bills.
Find out if your energy company provides this service – or which ones do if you’re interested in changing suppliers – and keep those activities requiring high energy consumption (washing your clothes and dishes, for example) to off-peak times to make the most of these energy savings in an apartment. This can be one of the biggest apartment energy savings tips for renters because it is within their control if they are paying the electric bill.
Buy energy efficient appliances
When you’re moving to your new rental home, you’re naturally going to think about buying or upgrading your appliances. These days, most appliances come with an Energy Rating label that shows how energy efficient the appliance is. The more stars your appliance rating has, the less energy your appliance needs to run.
Appliances with a higher energy efficiency rating (typically about 4 stars or more) will probably cost more at the outset, but over time they should prove their worth as you find them cheaper to run than their less efficient alternatives. If there are any appliances in your apartment that need replacing (washer, dishwasher, fridge), encourage your landlord to purchase Energy Star products as replacements – sometimes there is even a rebate available to the purchaser, which may be an incentive for your landlord.
I could go on, but don’t want to overwhelm you. You’ll find plenty of useful resources online to help you reduce your energy usage and lower your electricity and gas bills. But reducing your energy bills ultimately comes down to you and your proactive, mindful approach to your own energy usage.
Double Check Windows, Heating, and A/C to Save Money
Your heating and A/C are going to use most of the energy so do what you can to retain heat or keep it out (when appropriate). If you’re not going to open the windows for a few months apply some silicon around the edges. It peels off pretty easily for when you need to open them. You can also get some rubber seals to put around the door that aren’t too expensive. Getting a bit crazier you also lose heat around outlets and light switches. There’s special backing to put behind those but that’s not as cost effective. You can just put some regular glue around the edges though. Otherwise try to heat/cool only the rooms that you’re in by using space heaters or fans. Check your blower unit as well for proper sealing. My unit in my old apartment had so much air leaking it was amazing I could even feel it coming from the vents.