In our role as energy providers, every day we have the opportunity to speak with homeowners about what new and innovative ways they are managing to save on the cost of electricity. Over time, we have compiled those strategies into posts with the hopes of passing those savings along to others. In putting all of that information together, something that has become apparent is that there is a need for savings strategies, not just for homeowners, but for those living in apartments as well. So, for those renting apartments, here are some tips for you to increase your energy savings:
Use lights only when you need them
Though it is one of the most widely corrected habits from childhood, leaving the lights on when they are not needed stays with a surprising amount of people. Because of this, one of the biggest contributors to high electricity costs stems from people needlessly wasting electricity within their homes. To begin counteracting this, you could consider motion detecting lights within your home that automatically turn off after extended periods without movement. You could also invest in light timers throughout your home. Using these, you could select one or two light sources in central locations to power on, allowing you to minimize the number of lights you require. And when the preselected hour rolls around, the lights will automatically turn off.
Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs
Even if you know you’re not going to stay for a long time in your current apartment, making the switch from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs(CFLs) will be beneficial. CFLs do have a greater price than other kinds of lightbulbs, but what the slight uptick in cost will get you is a light that consumes less and lasts longer. In comparison to incandescent lights, CFLs use less than a third of the energy and can last anywhere from ten to fifteen times as long. In the long run, the amount you’ll save on electricity will make investing in CFLs a no-brainer.
Same Kind Of Bulbs To A Fixture
The gradual switch over to energy efficient lights generally happens as bulbs go out. For those using bulb outages as an opportunity to become more energy efficient, it may come as a surprise that combining energy efficient bulbs with standard ones in a single fixture can actually end up costing you more. The reason for this is that the heat that comes from the incandescent lights dramatically reduces the life of CFLs, undermining the expense paid for a longer-lasting bulb. In a fixture with multiple lights, it is important that you refrain from using CFLs and incandescent bulbs simultaneously.
Dust Your Lamps And Light Fixtures
Giving your lamps and light fixtures a dusting every now and again does more than provide their surfaces a necessary cleaning. Often times, the buildup of dirt and debris on bulbs will actually reduce the amount of light they can emit. When homeowners fail to realize what is going on, they will sometimes add light sources to solve the problem and increase the brightness of the room. Though this strategy does work, it comes at the cost of a greater monthly energy bill. To eliminate this expense, regularly dust off your lamps and light fixtures to allow them to give off their maximum shine.
Cut Out The Heaters
On drastically colder days or during the winter months, the temperatures within apartments can drop to less than comfortable levels. To beat the cold, many people turn to the aid of portable and baseboard heaters to help get the temperature back up. The problem with the heaters is that they use up a considerable amount of energy. Especially when left on in an attempt the keep the heat, this warmth can be expensive. One way to cut that cost can be to use the heat supplied by warm clothing. By bundling up just a bit more than usual around the house, you can continue to leave the heat on at a lower setting, keeping yourself warm and the cost to do so low.
Curtains And Shades
Curtains and window shades are often thought of as tools for keeping out the heat, but in the winter, they can be just as effective in helping you keep your home warm. This is done naturally, as the sunlight that pours into our homes through the windows causes the interior to heat up. Curtains and shades can help minimize that heat as lighter colored varieties can reflect sunlight and promote cooler temperatures. For certain darker colored curtains, heat is absorbed. There are even special kinds of shades that are meant to absorb more than usual and heat up your home. This helps to keep the temperature up so that you don’t have to use as much electric energy heating your apartment.
Power Down Your Computer And Printer
After hours of use, both desktop and laptop computers often have various internet pages and documents pulled open. When something requires us to step away, closing out of everything only to pull it all back up later may be hassle, prompting many people to keep their computers powered on to easily resume their activities. For the printer, a combination of idleness and forgetfulness often cause a similar situation. To save on your electricity bill, turn the computer and printer off if you’re going to be away from it for more than an hour. It may be a bit bothersome to have to restore your windows, but it will beat the cost of keeping everything on.
Beware Of Standby Power
Standby Power, also known as Vampire power, is the energy consumed by a device after it has been powered down but is still plugged in. Over time, the electricity consumed by appliances in standby mode adds up and costs you without providing any benefit. And with plenty of appliances throughout your apartment, that means a number of devices are sucking energy at any given time. To cut off standby power, begin by unplugging your devices when they are not in use. You can also purchase smart power strips, devices that increase the energy efficiency of your home by cutting off the power being supplied to your devices when they are in standby mode, eliminating costs incurred.
Let frozen foods thaw
Whether it is meat, veggies, or even cookie dough, it is important that frozen foods be allowed to thaw slightly before being cooked. The reason for this is that when heated without time to defrost, it will take longer to cook, resulting in the need for more energy to be used and more of your money to be spent on electricity. Though it will take some time to thaw, there are ways to expedite the process safely. You could consider placing your frozen goods into the refrigerator to warm up, you could briefly microwave your food, or just submerge your food in cold water for about half an hour to let it defrost that way.
Use Smaller Appliances
Kitchens house a number of appliances, many of which are capable of completing similar tasks. The most common differences between them include size, speed, and energy consumption. Because of that, it is possible to reduce electricity usage by being thoughtful in the appliance you choose. One of the clearest examples of this is using the microwave rather than the stove. By forgoing the use of the oven, not only will your food cook faster and consume less electricity in the process, the heat generally given off by the stove will not be generated, leaving your home’s temperature intact.
Don’t Waste Energy On The Fridge
Most people believe that the food stored within their refrigerator and freezer must be kept at particularly cold temperatures to preserve the contents. While it can be an effective manner of preservation, in reality it wastes electricity and runs up your monthly bill. To keep your food both safe and cold, keep your fridge at 36-42°, and your freezer at 0°. Using any more energy than that is just a waste. Also, be sure to refrain from keeping both the fridge and freezer doors open for extended periods of time. This allows warm air to get in, raising the internal temperature of the refrigerator and forcing it to work harder to cool things off. This ends up requiring more energy, which will cost you.
Quit Using The Dishwasher
In the time before modern appliances, the end of dinner was marked by clearing off the table and piling dishes into the sink for cleaning. Back then, handwashing was the only way to thoroughly scrub out grease and food remains. Fast forward a few decades and now we rely on machines to do almost all of our washing for us. But while this does make our lives a bit easier, it comes at a price. Dishwashers require a considerable amount of energy in order to pump jets of hot water around and thoroughly clean off the things placed within them. By turning off the machine and instead washing your dishes by hand, you’ll save much more energy and reduce your electricity bill.
Take Shorter Showers
A simple bath or shower has a larger impact on our energy consumption than we’d like to believe, as the heat required to warm up the water to an acceptable temperature can be considerable. And for showers that continuously run, the need for energy to continue to regulate temperature can be substantial. To start reducing this expense, limit the length of your shower or bath. Consistently shortening it by a few minutes will have a sizeable effect. If you are a member of a local gym, you can even consider showering or bathing there a few times a week, eliminating the cost entirely!
Enlist Your Landlord’s Help
Maintaining a good relationship with your landlord can have its perks. Sometimes a solid rapport is all it takes to be more energy efficient as you may find that you can leverage it to save money on your electricity. To do this, consider asking your landlord to buy an energy-efficient fridge or microwave. This could work particularly well if your landlord includes the cost of utilities in your rent, making this purchase a win-win as you’ll use less electricity and they’ll save more money. In the event you are the one paying for energy, your relationship may be enough to prompt your landlord to help you out.
Open Up Your Windows
Instead of running fans or relying on your air conditioning to keep cool, consider an easy electricity saving tip in the form of opening up your windows. It’s a simple fix that is often overlooked as we think of windows more as a source of light than a natural cooling system. Especially if you live on a higher floor, this is a great way to cool off your home by using the breeze. Open up your windows when it’s cooler out to circulate as much cool air as possible. Especially at night when the temperature is lower, popping open a window is a great way to promote sleeping weather without spending a penny.
For people in apartments, these are some of the best tips for shrinking your electricity bill. Give these strategies a try and find the ones that work for you. There may even be some other ways to save that are not listed, so make sure that you stay open to new opportunities to cut your consumption. We hope this helps you in your mission to save and who knows, it could be just the thing you need to put away enough to buy your own home. And even if not, it will still make being an apartment renter a bit easier.