While living in an apartment or rental can be cheaper than owning a home, we often forget about the unseen expenses that come with rentals. While you may not be thinking too much about how you can save money on your electric bill while renting, there are still small steps you can take to saving a few extra dollars a month.
While living in an apartment or rental can be cheaper than owning a home, we often forget about the unseen expenses that come with rentals. Costs tied into amenities, insurance, and of course utilities quickly make the cost of renting a bit steeper. And though saving on your electric bill may seem difficult and may not be something you’ve given much thought to, there are still small steps you can take to saving a few extra dollars a month. You’ll likely find the amount that you are able to shave off your bill to be quite valuable over time.
Here are 10 ways for Renters to Save Energy
1. Set Your Fridge
Out of all of our household appliances, the refrigerator is one of few that is left on all day, everyday. Because of this, it is constantly using electricity and contributing to our total energy consumption and monthly expense. To begin reducing this amount, adjust the temperature to begin minimizing any unnecessary energy usage. Set your fridge temperature to 36-42° Fahrenheit and your freezer to 0°. This will keep your food fresh and safe to eat, while saving you money. It is important to maintain these temperatures as lowering them any further is unnecessary, and can actually run up your electricity bill.
2. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Going along with setting the temperature of your fridge and freezer, make sure your home is heating and cooling in the most energy efficient way by installing a programmable thermostat. This device has the ability to take control of your heat and cooling levels and make adjustments based on a pre-set schedule. The benefit of the thermostat is that it can be used to reduce your overall energy use and keep your bills low by turning itself on and off to easily minimize its use. It can also be programmed to operate outside of peak times so you keep from incurring high-demand costs.
3. Use Power Strips
Think of all of the appliances you leave plugged in: toasters, alarm clocks, lamps, the list goes on and on. And as long as they are plugged in they are able to consume energy and run up your bill thanks to vampire energy. Stop your wasteful habits and install a power strip in several rooms throughout your home or apartment. These devices allow for multiple electronics to be plugged into a single outlet instead of multiple ones all around your home. And with your devices consolidated, if you are leaving for the day or know the appliances or electronics don’t need to be used for an extended period of time, you can simply switch the strip off to save money.
4. Clean Your Dryer!
As clothes tumble around in the dryer, tiny fibers that are loosely held are knocked off and left within the machine. Over time they are filtered in through the exhaust vent to the lint trap where they remain until they are cleaned. Not only is lint buildup in your clothes dryer extremely dangerous because it is flammable, it causes your machine to work inefficiently. This is because lint forces the motor within the dryer to work harder because the debris obstructs the circulation of air to cool it off. By cleaning the lint trap on a regular basis (i.e. every time you use your dryer), you can help get your clothes dryer faster and keep your monthly electricity bill lower.
5. Hand Wash Those Dishes
While the dishwasher does eliminate the need for us to do much cleaning, hand washing your dishes is a quick and easy way to save money. When you use the larger appliances like the dishwasher in your home or apartment daily, you are consuming a significant amount of energy. It’s even worse in the event you only do small loads as failing to maximize the amount you clean means you’re consuming a considerable amount of energy unnecessarily which you will later see reflected in your bill. As an energy-saving best practice, you should only run your dishwasher when it is totally full and rely on hand washing when it is not.
6. Switch Your Bulbs
For a number of homes, light is brought in through the aid of incandescent bulbs. While they may seem just as effective as other light bulb varieties, in reality incandescents are the most inefficient type of light. In addition to having the shortest lifespan, incandescents also give off up to 90% of their energy as heat instead of light. As your bulbs burn out or possibly before that, begin switching to compact fluorescents or LEDs. Both will last longer and will use less energy to illuminate your home, decreasing the cost you incur each month.
7. Efficient Laundry
Once or twice a week most people will do laundry to ensure a clean wardrobe. To clean their clothing, the use of the washer and dryer is the standard practice, however their use is not always optimized. Most notably, the use of warm water in cleaning clothing requires energy and adds to the total consumption each month. Relying on cold water will still enable a thorough clean but will do so in a less costly manner. Another tip for doing laundry more efficiently is to hang dry clothing instead of machine drying it. Though it may take a bit longer to dry, the process won’t require any energy and cutting down on the use of laundry machines helps to keep your home cool.
8. Use Your Microwave
For those who do a lot of cooking, one source of heavy energy consumption can come from the kitchen. Of the appliances within the room, one of the biggest energy hogs in the space is the oven, as heating to several hundred degrees and maintaining that temperature is no simple feat. And when it is a smaller dish placed inside of the oven, cooking it within the stove is a significant misuse of energy. Instead of your oven, rely upon the more energy efficient microwave. In addition to using less energy, the microwave is able to heat up your food faster and without letting off excess heat.
9. Adjust The Hot Water Heater
Behind heating and cooling, the hot water heater is the the next largest source of spending for homeowners. With a reach that extends from the bathroom to the kitchen, the hot water is constantly in use. In order to get you warm water quickly, the heater maintains a supply of hot water, using plenty of energy to do so. This can be reduced by adjusting the temperature and taking it down a bit. Many manufacturers will pre-set the heater to one-hundred and forty degrees fahrenheit when it can operate perfectly at one-hundred and twenty degrees. Making the adjustment should not noticeably affect your water temperature and will save you money all the while.
10. Open Your Windows
Finding different ways to reduce our everyday reliance on the air conditioner is a great way to save on energy. Especially in the warmer months, start opening windows as a means of getting some natural circulation throughout your home. This also allows you the opportunity to flush out some of the stale air that builds up in our spaces and replace it with a fresh supply, which can help to break up any humidity. This is also a good tactic for cooling down a house at night as sometimes the air conditioner is required to promote a better environment for sleeping and can be substituted by opening a window.