As the colder months approach, it has many people wondering what are some savvy ways for renters to cut back on their utility bill. You don’t have to live in the dark or stop washing your clothes. Energy bills can be reduced by making very simple changes to the way you live, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Here are some simple tips on how you, as a tenant (or as a landlord) can cut back on your energy bills this fall.
1. Get insulated. Or, if you are insulted, stay that way. Old windows and gaps in walls and doors could be letting heat escape and ultimately push up energy bills. This is the tenant’s responsibility. As a landlord, there are easy maintenance jobs such as double glazing, it costs more but it’s a long-term investment that will ultimately save you more money down the road.
2. Changing the bulbs. Lighting accounts for about 3% of electricity usage, energy saving bulbs used to be criticized for their dim light, but these days they are as bright as a traditional bulb, so stock up! Landlords, there’s nothing that says you can’t provide your tenants with a few extra energy saving bulbs on move-in day!
3. Turn off your appliances. This means the PS4, TV’s, laptops. All of it. Power down. Appliances still use energy even when they’re in sleep mode or on standby. Even phone chargers, when left plugged in, use a small amount of energy. Unplug those bad boys and save some cash!
4. Heat adjustment. How much and how often the home is heated will also have an influence on the energy bill. Turning down the thermostat by 3 degrees can save as much as $200 per year. Also, considering other ways of staying warm like wearing more layers, blankets and hot drinks can help the process of acclimatizing to a slightly cooler home.
5. Clean the oven. A top tip, if you keep your oven door clean when you’re cooking you can see through it to check on your food without opening it. Each time you open the oven door you lose heat and use up a little bit more energy than you need to. Similarly, cooking with sauce pan lids on will also use less energy to cook the same amount of food.
6. Change the way you cook. Ovens and microwaves use a lot of energy. One top money-saving tip is to think about how often you use an oven, and if you’re able, bake more than one item at a time in the oven so extra energy isn’t wasted. Another tip is to leave the oven door open while it’s cooling down after heating as this can create some extra heat around the home.
7. Cleaning up differently. There are plenty of household appliances to save time on chores, but make sure they’re not wasting money in the process. Don’t overload the dishwasher, as it will make it harder to get them clean and you end up having to wash them twice. Also, rinse the dishes beforehand for the same reason. If you can avoid using the dishwasher altogether that’s also the most energy savvy. If you’re a landlord, try to stock your unit with a dishwasher that has settings that allow for lighter or shorter loads to cut back on energy.
8. Laundry day. You can save some money on getting that pile of laundry washed by lowering the temperature and spin cycle on your washing machine and hanging clothes instead of throwing them in the dryer. Almost 90% of washing machine’s energy expenditure is spent on heating the water, so if you wash your clothes on cold, you’ll save a significant amount of money. Landlords, a helpful item you can provide for your tenants upon move-in is a large dryer wrack that collapses nicely, it can sit right beside the washing machine and works as a good reminder for your tenants to hang their clothes when they can.
9. The fridge. Fridges run more efficiently when they’re full, and when the temperature is set correctly. If you lower the temperature by a slight amount, you can cut down energy use by as much as 25%, and your food won’t perish. In fact, many people set their fridge/freezers too low, the ideal temperature for a fridge is between 3 and 5 degrees. Freezers should be set at -18 degrees.