You don't need to own it to reduce your utility bill
12 Energy Saving Tips for Your Apartment
by Ivan Serrano
With the cost of rent, utilities, groceries, and living expenses in general on the rise, you may be wondering what you can do to cut back on your spending while living in an apartment. Why not be more energy efficient? The less energy you use, the less you will have to spend on your monthly utility bills. Here are 12 ways you can get started:
Use the ceiling fan.
It's no secret that ceiling fans use less energy than a heating and cooling system, but did you know they can help save you money year-round? During the summer, turn your ceiling fan on to cool down without the help of your air conditioner. When temperatures begin to drop outside, reverse the blades of the ceiling fan, which will move warm air throughout the room so you don't have to rely on your heater. The more you can use your ceiling fan instead of your HVAC, the more money you will save.
Pay attention to your refrigerator.
It's estimated that around 25% of your electric bill will go towards your refrigerator. But, if you make a few adjustments, you can reduce the energy this appliance uses and therefore lower your utility bills as well. Start by keeping the coils behind the fridge clean at all times. If these coils are dusty and dirty, your refrigerator will begin to consume more energy to keep your food cool. Also, make sure you do not have the temperature set too low. It is recommended to keep it between 35-38 degrees Fahrenheit to maximize energy efficiency while also preserving your food.
Switch your light bulbs.
Energy efficient LED bulbs use a tenth of the electricity of standard models, so even if you only switch out the five most frequently used bulbs, you can drastically reduce your energy use and your electric bill!
Use a power strip.
Appliances can consume energy even when they're turned off, but not if you power them down using a power strip. Plug in as many appliances and devices as possible into a power strip and flip the switch when they're not in use.
Install low flow faucets.
Replace the faucets in your bathroom and kitchen with low flow models. You won't notice a difference in water pressure, but you will see a difference on your next utility bill.
Wash full loads.
If you have a washer in your apartment, always wait until you have a full load before you run it. Most washers use the same amount of water regardless of how big the load is, so save water and money by waiting until you have a full load.
Air dry your clothes.
Buy a drying rack and air dry your clothing instead of consuming energy by using the dryer. Or, if you have a dryer with a moisture sensor, make sure this is always turned on so the machine will automatically turn off when the clothing is no longer wet.
Find insulating drapes to hang on your windows. In the summer, these drapes can keep the heat from the sun out of your apartment so your air conditioner does not need to use as much energy to maintain a comfortable temperature. The less you have to rely on your air conditioner, the more you will save on your utility bills.
Carefully examine the placement of your furniture to make sure the current set-up is not interfering with your heating and cooling system. If you notice anything blocking air vents, rearrange your furniture so your heating and cooling system does not have to work harder and waste money to keep you comfortable.
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Fix drafty doors.
Do you notice a draft coming from underneath your doors? Put an end to this situation by making or buying an inexpensive draft stopper that can be placed underneath your door. This will help insulate your apartment so your heating and cooling system does not waste energy.
Place lids on pots and pans.
As you cook on the stove, be sure to always put a lid on your pots and pans. Lids can trap the heat so your food cooks faster and you don't have to use the stove for longer than necessary. This may seem like a small change, but if you get in the habit of doing this, the energy savings will add up and begin to impact your utility bills.
Upgrade to a programmable thermostat.
A programmable thermostat can help you reduce the energy you use and the amount you spend on electricity every month. Try setting your thermostat to turn off when you know you will be gone like during the day when you are at work. Have it power back on when you're on your way home from work, and you'll stay comfortable while also cutting back on costs.
Some of these items do require you to make improvements to the apartment that you can't take with you when you move. Speak to your landlord. Many are willing to split the cost if you remind them that the improvements will make the apartment more valuable when you leave.
Reviewed November 2017
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