Apartment renters typically enjoy lower utility costs than homeowners, but with the temperature dropping, we will soon be facing higher heating costs and electricity bills. Many renters assume they have very little control over their utility bills, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth! There are multiple ways to make your apartment more efficient, save on utility costs, and still stay warm and cozy this winter, without needing to call the landlord.
Insulate Doors & Windows:
Doors and windows are leading causes of heat loss in a building. Not only do doors and windows have natural gaps and air leaks that can cause drafts, but they are also less insulated than the walls of your apartment. Blocking air gaps is a quick and easy way to improve your heating efficiency and reduce your bill. Draft stoppers can be found online or at your local hardware store and easily installed over the bottom of your door to block cold air from the outside.
You can also improve the heat loss from windows by insulating them. Thermal insulated curtains can reduce heat loss in the winter by up to 25% and are a great choice for glass patio doors or windows you regularly open. The only downside to insulated curtains is the fact they block the natural light. Another solution is a Window Insulator Kit, which uses clear plastic to seal your windows, stop drafts, and improve insulation, while still allowing as much natural light into your apartment as possible.
Lower Your Thermostat:
While it might seem like an obvious choice, lowering your thermostat is the most direct way to lower your heating costs. But, this doesn’t mean you have to just be cold. Programmable thermostats allow you to set a schedule of when to heat your home to make it more efficient. Lower the temperature at night, when you are warm under blankets, and have the temperature automatically turn up in the morning before you get up to start your day. Program the temperature lower while you are away at work and to raise before you get home, so the heating is not wasted on an empty apartment.
If you have access to it, you can also lower the temperature of your hot water heater. It’s been shown that a 10 degree decrease in your hot water heater’s temperature results in a 3-5% reduction in electricity usage.
There are lots of small tasks you can do yourself to increase the efficiency of your apartment and appliances. Get into a habit of doing these regularly and they can quickly add up to help reduce your electricity bill!
- Regularly replace your air filter.
- Replace lightbulbs with high efficiency bulbs.
- Open and unblock the vents in rooms you use, and close vents in rooms you don’t use.
- Unplug electronics when they are not in use. This can also include appliances you might not think of, like the toaster or microwave.
- Turn off lights before you leave the room, at night, and when you leave your apartment.
- Shorten your shower time.
- Wash your clothes in cold water.
These few simple steps can help you start reducing your apartment’s utility costs and make your home more comfortable during the winter months. Just in time to save that extra cash for the holidays!