Tips for Tenants
Being energy efficient can pay – literally! When you rent a home or an apartment, you probably won’t want to invest in expensive energy-efficient improvements for a home you don’t plan to be in long term, but there are still sneaky ways you can save on your bill.
Try the following tips to keep your energy – and your wallet – in check.
#1 – Know your airflow
Vents provide a place for air in your rental home to flow freely. Obstructing vents can make the HVAC system work sub-optimally and drive up your energy bill, so make sure your vents are at least 18 inches clear of couches or other furniture.
#2 – Adjust your thermostat
Your air conditioner and heater are likely one of your biggest energy wasters. Go warmer in hotter months and cooler in colder months, while still being comfortable. Heading out? Adjust your settings up or down when you leave the house to save energy. Check with your landlord to see if they are willing to install programmable (smart) thermostats to adjust the temperature automatically and save you money.
#3 – Replace air filters
Replacing dirty air filters regularly helps regulate airflow through your home. And since a large chunk of your energy bill comes from your HVAC system, changing your air filters frequently helps save in the long run.
#4 – Take advantage of free cooling
Keeping your curtains and blinds closed at the right times can reduce your energy use. When it’s a hot day, the sun's light shines into your home, heating the interior. By closing the blinds, you keep direct sunlight out of your home and prevent yourself from touching that thermostat. During those cooler nights, opening your blinds a little can allow heat to escape to the cool night air, reducing cooling costs.
#5 – Simplify dishwashing
Scrape extra food from your dinner plates – rather than rinsing – to save water and energy.
#6 – Get laundry smart
Wash laundry in cold water when possible, filling full loads but not overfilling the washer. Dry full loads on warm heat rather than hot.
#7 – Flip your ceiling fan
Instantly cool – or warm – the air in your rental property by simply adjusting ceiling fan blades. In summer, keep your fan’s blades counterclockwise to create a downdraft and cooling breeze. In winter, keep the blades clockwise so that an updraft can push warmer air across the room.
#8 – Optimize refrigerator and freezer efficiency
Set refrigerator temperatures between 36 and 38 degrees and freezer temperatures at 5 degrees. You may consider asking your landlord or property owners to upgrade to newer ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators.
#9 – Power down to save
Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use and unplug any device, such as a TV, with a remote. Remove device chargers from electrical outlets when not in use as they continue to use energy anytime they’re plugged in.
#10 – Repairs and upgrades
As a renter, you have the right to request repairs when they are needed. If something in your apartment or rental home isn’t functioning how it should, let your landlord know the exact problem so that they can fix the situation. For energy-saving upgrades, you may want to check in with your landlord or rental company. Some may be willing to split or cover the cost for improvements that otherwise would be out of pocket.