If you’re one of the few living in an apartment that includes utility costs in the rent, then lucky you! You won’t have to worry about utility costs until you move into your next place. However, for those of us stuck paying the electric, heat, and water bills, we are always looking for ways to lower our utility costs.
Unfortunately, many of the tips out there on the world wide web require some major revamps to the structure of the home or apartment, which is not really possible when you’re a renter. So ABODO has accumulated a list of 5 easy ways to lower utility costs when you don’t have the freedom to purchase new appliances or install special draft-free windows. Sometimes making little changes to your lifestyle is all you need. Check them out!
Stay on Top of Repairs
Though it’s ultimately your landlord’s responsibility to take care of repairs, it’s also your responsibility to keep him or her updated on the situation.
Notice that your shower head can’t turn off all the way? Tell your landlord.
Feeling some unexplained drafts that might be letting valuable heat out of your apartment? Give maintenance a call.
Sick of hearing the kitchen faucet incessantly? Call up your landlord and (politely) request that it be fixed.
These may seem like little fixes, but ultimately, this kind of stuff can be costing you money. Some landlords may take their time on repairs. If it’s been a little while and your landlord fails to fulfill your request, just politely ask again and remind him that utility costs are sky high nowadays. He or she will most likely understand where you’re coming from and appreciate your patience. You can also make small changes to counteract the negative effect of bigger repairs that your landlord won’t make, like buying thick blackout curtains for old, drafty windows.
Be Aware of Vampire Power Loss (And Do Something About It!)
Standby Energy or “Vampire Energy” is the energy used by various appliances and electronics even if they’re not actively in use. Though this does not account for the lion’s share of your energy bill (only about 17%), reducing the amount of vampire energy being zapped from your apartment can certainly lower utility costs in the long run.
Obviously, the easiest way to reduce vampire energy consumption is by unplugging your devices when you’re finished with them. There will always be some things that you can’t unplug (the fridge is usually a no-go for that), but most things do not need to be constantly running or sucking energy from the outlets. Of course, unplugging all of your devices can get a little time consuming and a bit irritating. One way to make this process a little easier is by utilizing energy conserving power strips. Plug all of your major electronics into one power strip, then turn it off when it’s no longer needed. It’s that simple!
Reevaluate The Way You Use Appliances
Appliances eat up a ton of valuable energy and sometimes water as well. Unfortunately, they have also become an essential part of modern life, so they’re not going away any time soon.
Appliances are one of top resource-consuming products in your home next to the heating and air conditioning. Of course, in most apartments, the appliances are supplied by the landlord, so going out and purchasing all new EnergyStar appliances is probably not an option. However, there are many ways you can adjust your appliance use to conserve resources and lower utility costs. Here are just some of the ways you can change your appliance use:
- Full (not overstuffed) refrigerators retain their chilly temperature more efficiently
- Keeping your oven closed while cooking saves time and money on energy needed for maintaining heat
- Using a fully loaded dishwasher – instead of sink washing – and use cold water only is more energy/water efficient
- Placing large loads of laundry into your washer and dryer and using cold water reduces overall energy/water usage
Though most of these methods may seem like small things, small things accumulate into big savings.
Use More Electricity Later in The Day
You wouldn’t think that time of day and electricity costs would be related, but for some power companies, this is most definitely the case. Certain power companies offer little-known discounts to homes that use the bulk of their electricity outside of peak hours. Each plan is a little different and each power company has a different definition of “peak hours.” Typically, using the bulk of your power after 8pm tends to qualify for these offers. This is a great option for students or young professionals that prefer to do most of their chores (washing dishes, vacuuming, laundry, cooking, etc.) in the evenings anyway. However, don’t just assume that you know how your power company’s discount plans work. Be sure to give them a call and ask them for specifics. To reap the benefits, you may have to rearrange your schedule a little bit, but the money saved on utilities will be well worth it!
Start Purchasing Energy-Saving Lightbulbs
This is a very small way to lower your utility costs every month. CFL lightbulbs use about 75% less than regular lightbulbs, so if you’re someone who chronically leaves lights glowing in the night (an expensive habit that needs breaking anyway), you’ll be saving quite a bit of cash. On average, it will shave about $5-$7 off your electric bill every month. They may cost a little more at the drug store counter, but in the long run, they save you far more than they’re worth. CFL bulbs also last far longer than regular light bulbs (about 10 times longer), saving you money on your annual maintenance purchases as well.
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