Just because you don’t own your house doesn’t mean you can’t make improvements that will help significantly cut down your bills.
There are several affordable changes you can make to how you use appliances and even your home itself that can end up saving you thousands of dollars a year on power bills.
Use Cold Water for Laundry
If possible, of course, try to wash your clothes with cold water at every opportunity you get. It requires more energy to heat water than to cool it, so washing your clothes with cold water helps reduce the amount of energy used during each load. Another laundry tip is to wash everything on a gentle cycle — they are shorter than regular cycles, thus using less energy.
Switch to Energy Saving Light Bulbs
Replacing your most frequently used lights with energy efficient bulbs can save more than $65 a year in energy costs. Some energy efficient bulbs give out the highest quality light output, while lasting up to ten times longer and using 75 percent less energy than regular bulbs. This cuts down your energy costs, as well as any replacement costs.
In addition to replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs, remember to always turn off your lights when you’re not in the room. Turning off a single light bulb that would normally stay on for eight hours a day can save you around $15 a year.
Limit Use of Consumer Electronics
Consumer electronics, also known as “energy vampires,” will literally suck away all of the power in your house before you know it. If you’re wondering why your power bill is so high even though you sit freezing in dark rooms with no heat on, try checking where your electronics are plugged in.
Consumer electronics can now account for roughly 15 percent of your home’s energy usage, and that number can climb if you’re not careful. The easiest remedy here is to unplug your electronics whenever you leave the house.
Even more terrifying is that most of these products use power even when they’re turned off. Your TV maintains a constant connection with the remote control, almost everything in your house has a clock display on it, and chargers keep filtering energy from outlets whether a device is plugged to it or not.
So unplug electronics when possible, especially your phone charger. Power strips are helpful, as they allow you to simply turn several electronic products on and off with the flip of a button.
Make Your Home Breeze-Proof
Did you know that leaving your doors and windows open too much at the wrong time of year can cost you hundreds of extra dollars in energy costs. During the winter, your air conditioning unit is working to keep your house at a certain temperature— letting in cold air means it has to pump out even more heat, thus driving up your power bill.
There are several inexpensive but effective measures you can take— keep your doors and windows closed, buy thick curtains, and if it’s in the budget, lay down some caulk around the edges of your windows. Apply weather stripping to keep heat from escaping your front door, back door, and inside garage door. Preventing drafts means the heat you pay for stays in your house instead of escaping it.
If you live in an older apartment with multiple radiators, consider investing in radiator reflectors. Check online or in your local hardware store for some fairly inexpensive. This simple DIY project will help reflect the heat escaping through outside walls back into your apartment. They pay for themselves in as little as a year depending on when the apartment was built.
Clean out Your Refrigerator
It’s so easy to keep the fridge overstocked with leftovers or healthy food you convinced yourself you’d eat, but this is a bad idea. The more items that are crammed into that space, the more energy your fridge has to put out to keep it all cool. Try moving some of these items into the freezer, which is already set to keep a certain space frozen and doesn’t have to increase its energy output to do so.
Also, take some time every now and again to clean off the coils in the back of your refrigerator. They can accumulate a lot of dust, which causes the appliance to use a lot more energy. All it takes is a quick wipe with a cloth to take off any dirt and debris that might have built up.
Use Favorable Weather to Your Advantage
Whenever the weather is nice, take advantage of it. If the temperature is a breezy 72 degrees, turn off your air conditioner and open up the windows in your house. If it’s sunny outside, open up the drapes and turn off the lights inside your house. Nothing is more soothing than natural lighting.
A few simple changes can go a long way to reduce your energy bill. Do you have your own methods for saving energy on your rental?