It’s no fun when the utility bills come around each month, especially with the rising cost of energy. If you own your own home there are a lot of things you can do to lower energy costs,. But what if you live in an apartment? The landlord isn’t going to let you rip out the windows and replace them! Is there anything the apartment dweller can do to lower energy costs?
The answer is very much YES! This guide gives you tips on how to cut your apartment energy costs by 20-50%. It is written with the realities of apartment life in mind, so some things you could do if you owned your home aren’t included. The first section lists some of the same things you’ll see in articles advising homeowners. The second part describes things your landlord can do (or that you can do yourself).
GENERAL TIPS FOR CUTTING APARTMENT ENERGY USE
1) Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). CFLs use 75% less energy, and that makes a great start on reducing the electricity bill. They do cost more. A pack of six 13 watt (60 watt equivalent) bulbs will run $10 at Home Depot or Loews. But they really do last longer, enough to offset the higher initial cost.
2) Lowering the thermostat a few degrees in winter (or raising it in summer) can reduce heating and cooling costs 10-20%, depending on how much you can change without making yourself miserable.
3) Set your hot water meter to about 120 degrees. A higher setting will simply cost you money. If you want to make sure you don’t run out of hot water during your bath, run the water slowly. This allows the heater time to heat more, but won’t waste energy by holding a thankful of water at too high a temperature all day long.
4) Keep lights, electronic devices, and appliances off when not in use. It is recommended that you unplug computers, televisions, and so on. This can cut yur bill by 5%. If that’s too much hassle, here’s an alternative: get “smart” power strips that allow you to shut down power to electronics without unplugging them—this cuts the power completely.
5) Use space heaters in the winter. A space heater with a safety cut-off costs as little as $20. This keeps the room you are in warm, without without wasting power on rooms you aren’t using.
6) Keep windows and doors to the outside closed unless you have the heating/air conditioner turned off. If you live in a building with an inside entrance, always use it. This reduces the amount of energy lost when you open and close the door.
MAINTENANCE AND MODIFICATIONS THAT CUT APARTMENT ENERGY USE
1) Check for leaks in plumbing and dripping faucets. This is normally maintenance the apartment management is responsible for. But you should be alert for leaks and report problems promptly.
2) Install flow restrictors on showers and faucets. Landlords may be willing to do this. However, if they aren’t and you pay for water, go ahead and do it yourself. You’ll save money in the long run.
3) Make sure weather stripping around doors and windows is in good condition. Again, many landlords will do this if you ask. However, it’s not expensive or difficult to install vinyl weather stripping. Most home supply stores will help you select what you need and show you how to install it.
4) Change any air filters frequently. A clogged air filter reduces heating and air condition efficiency.
These tips are things that don’t require changes to a residence, and so can be done in an apartment. They also have the advantage that none require a significant change in lifestyle. f you are concerned about the environment, these are things you can do To conserve energy, as well as saving money.
Written by: W D Adkins