When it comes to lowering your home electricity bill, we often focus on big ideas like smart thermostats. Unfortunately, some of these tips and suggestions are a problem for consumers who rent their homes. Property owners usually prohibit renters from making physical changes to their house or apartment. The good news is there are still some things you can do to lower your electricity bill.
Manage Your Refrigerator
Make sure your refrigerator and freezer temperatures are set properly. Your refrigerator should be 35° F and your freezer should be at 0° F. The fridge is the tricky part. At 32° F, your fresh food will begin to freeze while at 40° F it gets a little dangerous. Check the temperatures with a thermometer to make sure the settings are on target.
Also, keep in mind that how you stock your refrigerator and freezer also matters. Generally, keep items in the freezer packed tightly. When you open the freezer, warm air rushes in. This warm air has to be chilled which, in turn, requires electricity. Packing freezer items tightly minimizes how much warm air can enter the freezer. For the refrigerator, make sure there is space around the items for the cool air to flow. Fresh food needs even cooling so it is important to allow for air circulation. Also, it is more energy-efficient to keep a well-stocked refrigerator cool than one that is mostly empty.
Switch to LED Lights
Switching from incandescent to LED lights is a quick way to lower your electricity bill. Whoa! Why would you want to invest in LED lights that last for 10 to 15 years in an apartment where you might live only a year or two? First, upgrading to LED lights will save you money immediately. Just replace the lights in the areas you use the most and you will see a good return on your investment. Second, nobody said you have to leave the LED lights when you move. Simply store whatever incandescent lights were there when you moved in and put them back in place when you leave. It might sound silly to take your LED lights from place to place but it is a great hack for saving electricity wherever you move.
Optimize Your Appliances
In an apartment or rental home, you may have little control of major energy systems like heating, cooling, or water heating. However, you do have some control of how you use them. Remember that small steps can add up to big savings on your electricity bill. The U.S. Department of Energy is a great source of tips and suggestions on saving energy in rental homes. Think about things like your thermostat settings, microwaving instead of using the oven, and taking a shower instead of a bath. If you have a washer and dryer, use cold water to wash clothes and make sure your dryer is not over-drying. Shaking out clothes when transferring from the washer to the dryer can help reduce drying times.
You should also pay attention to the energy vampires in your apartment. These are usually associated with your electronics and home entertainment equipment. Eliminating or minimizing idle power consumption is a simple way to save on electricity costs.
Shop for Low Electricity Rates
If you live in an area with electric customer choice, be sure to shop for the lowest electricity rate. Sometimes the property owner will recommend an electricity company when you start your lease. This is especially true with apartment complex managers. Their recommendation might be a good one but you owe it to your wallet to shop around. Be sure to focus on both the rate and the term when comparing electricity rates for apartments.
While you might not be able to make big ticket changes to your home when renting, there are still plenty of opportunities for reducing electricity usage and taking control of your electricity bill.