No matter the type of apartment you live in – whether it’s brand new and energy efficient or decades old with unsealed door frames and windows – there are always ways to help reduce your utility costs. As a renter, you can’t make big changes to your apartment like updating windows or plumbing and electrical, but you can follow these seven quick and simple ways to reduce the amount of energy and water you use, which will reduce your utility costs.
Fill the washing machine and the dishwasher.
Not all renters are lucky enough to have a washing machine or dishwasher, but if you are one of the lucky ones, always run a full load. If you only run half a load, you waste and pay for water that could have washed a full load.
Fill the dryer.
Much like the washing machine and dishwasher, you waste energy if you only dry one or two pieces of clothing at a time, and always set a timer to stop the dryer as soon as the clothes are dry. To save even more money, skip the dryer and hang your clothes to dry. It may take longer, but it saves energy. Bonus tip: Amazing, but true – a full load of clothes dries quicker than one or two pieces.
Most people have a plethora of appliances (large and small) and chargers plugged in throughout their apartment. Even if you’re not using the appliance or charger, they can still draw energy from the electrical outlet. Besides being a fire hazard, you’re wasting energy by leaving these plugged in. If you use a power strip, however, you can switch the power strip off when you don’t need it.
Use energy efficient curtains.
Sunlight in the summer can heat your apartment too much, and drafts during the winter can cool your apartment too much, which causes you to turn the air conditioner or heater on. Heavy, energy efficient curtains help block the summer heat and keep the cold winter air out, which helps reduce your air conditioning and heating needs. Plus, you can use curtains as a decorative element, so they’re multipurpose.
While it’s more expensive upfront to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent light bulbs, fluorescent and LED bulbs are energy efficient and last much longer than incandescent light bulbs, which saves more money and energy over the long run. Check out this post about all the new light bulb options.
In the winter, cover up with a blanket or put a jacket on instead of turning the heat higher. In the summer, turn a fan on instead of the air conditioner. Turn lights off when you exit a room or leave your apartment. If there’s an alternative to using energy or water, always be smart and chose the less expensive, energy- or water-free option.
This tip doesn’t help reduce the cost of your utility bill, but it does help you take advantage of the fact that you have to pay a utility bill. If you can earn rewards or points by paying with a credit card, do it, as long as you pay your whole balance every month. If you can set up automatic payments with the utility company instead of bill by mail, and the automatic payments save you money, do it. If there is any way for you to save money or earn rewards by paying a bill you have to pay anyway, find them and take advantage of them.