If you’re renting a home or apartment, it can sometimes feel like you don’t have full control of your energy costs. While it’s true that energy efficiency is partly tied to things renters can’t control — such as insulation, windows, and appliances — there are still things you can do to help keep costs down.
Manage your thermostat
Most modern thermostats are programmable, allowing you to set the temperature to use less energy. For example, during the winter, you can have the thermostat automatically lower the temperature each weekday when you’re away from home. Setting the thermostat closer to the outside temperature while no one is home is a great way to save some money with minimal inconvenience. If you do not have a programmable thermostat, or you have window units, make managing the temperature a part of your daily routine.
Plug air leaks
Taking care of pesky air leaks could help you save up to 20% on your energy bill each year. Check for gaps along baseboards and flooring, as well as spots where the wall and ceiling meet. Keep in mind, air leaks don’t just happen indoors, so it’s a good idea to check for exterior issues as well.
Look for drafts in these common areas: around windows, doors, lighting and plumbing fixtures, fireplace dampers, outlets, and switches. Once you find a leak, use caulk or weatherstripping to seal it. Generally, these small repairs can be done affordably on your own, but let your landlord know your plans before making any significant repairs.
Turn down the water heater
Setting your water heater to 120 degrees or lower can help you save energy and money. Taking short showers and using the efficiency settings on your laundry and dishwasher will also lessen the demand on your water heater.
No-cook and microwave meals
In the hotter months, cooking with the stove or oven can add heat to your home and make the air conditioner work harder to keep you cool. Consider no-cook meals such as sandwiches or salads, or warming food in the microwave instead.
Talk to your landlord
There may be impactful energy-efficient upgrades that you won’t be able to complete on your own as a renter. If you feel that items such as insulation, windows, appliances, the thermostat, or the HVAC system are out of date and driving up energy costs, talk to your landlord. Point out the issues and explain your concerns. You may be surprised at their willingness to invest in their property by making upgrades.