Energy Conservation Tips for Renters
You can bring down your energy expenses by making a few simple lifestyle changes. Surprisingly, some of these changes do not cost you a thing, but do require some form of discipline. Below are some of the best energy saving tips for tenants.
There is a chance that small gaps in windows and doors could be allowing heat to escape from the house, thus driving up your energy costs. One solution to this problem is to seal the gaps to better insulate the inside of your unit. This will help the space retain heat, and your furnace won’t be working on overdrive to maintain your desired temperature. There is some limit on what you can do to the house yourself, as some changes must be approved or executed by the landlord. Although the landlord should want a well-insulated house to attract and maintain tenants, they are ultimately responsible for any changes that permanently affect the property. You can always cover and seal your windows with plastic, which is an inexpensive and easy way to prevent the draftiness that occurs during the wintertime, especially in older homes. According to the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund, effective insulation could save you between $50 and $100 annually.
Invest in LED Lighting
Lighting accounts for between 3% and 5% of all electricity use in a household. However, that percentage can be higher depending on how bulbs are being used and the frequency of use. Previously, energy saving bulbs were often criticized for being too dim, but lately they have been becoming more and more popular among tenants due to their efficiency. Another consideration is how you use lighting in the house. You don’t need to have the lights turned on in a room that you are not in. If you are home during the day, take advantage of natural sunlight and open your curtains. You would be surprised how such small changes can make a difference in your electric bills.
Switch off Appliances
Most people leave things such as TVs, DVD players and game consoles on standby mode when they are not in use. However, that little red light could be costing you more than you realize. Even when in standby mode, appliances still consume energy. While this energy level is still significantly less than when they are in use, the additional cost could add up over time. Even small things like phone chargers plugged into a socket while not in use still consume energy. This means that what may start like just a bad habit could end up increasing your energy consumption by approximately 6% over time. In order to save more energy, live by the rule of switching off any appliances that are not in use, or even unplugging devices that you use infrequently or when you are not home.
Have you ever asked yourself just how much heating accounts for on your energy bill? Turning down the thermostat by a mere 2°F can save a significant amount of energy in the household. The best way to conserve energy (and money) is to turn the thermostat down when you leave the house, or to set it on a schedule to drop a few degrees during the day when you are not there, to go back up when you are home, and to drop again at night. If you are away for an extended period of time, you will want to turn your thermostat down significantly, but keep it warm enough so that the pipes don’t freeze.
Appliances such as microwaves and ovens consume a lot of energy. How frequently you use such appliances can make a huge difference in your energy bills. For example, it is recommended that you use the oven at most 90 minutes in a day. Another strategy used to save energy is to clean the oven door. Once this is done, it is easier to see through the glass what you are cooking instead of having to frequently open the oven door. Constant opening of the door leads to loss of heat meaning that you will probably spend just a little more energy than you would have when simply looking through the window.
A lot of appliances within the household are meant to save time. However, ensure that they are not wasting your money in the process. When you overload the dishwasher, it becomes harder to effectively clean things. You will end up having to wash everything all over again. At the same time, running the dishwasher when it is not entirely full is wasteful. You don’t want to run it more often than necessary, and don’t be afraid to do some dishes by hand rather than overfilling the machine.
Conserving energy in the house might sound like a lot of work but all it takes are a few small changes and you suddenly bring your energy bills down. Even when you are living in an energy inefficient building, or if your utilities are included in your rent, you should still make an effort to change your habits. Most energy companies have some sort of budget billing option, which spreads the cost of your most expensive months throughout the entire year. There are also financial assistance programs available through programs such as LIHEAP for those who qualify.