If you’re renting your home, small changes can still add up to big savings on your energy bill.
Try going room to room looking at everything that uses energy. Just be sure to check with your landlord before you do anything significant or permanent.
Start with the lights. Install LED bulbs in all of the fixtures.
For devices on all the time, like cable TV boxes and video gaming consoles, enable all of the energy savings settings. The factory settings aren’t always the most efficient. Also consider smart power strips for your computer and TV. Unplug phone and laptop chargers when you are not actually charging something because they still draw electricity.
In the kitchen, set your refrigerator to between 36 and 39 degrees and your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees. Dishwashers are more energy efficient than hand washing, and full loads reduce the number of cycles. Microwaves and slow cookers are efficient ways to prepare a meal and won’t heat up the whole kitchen like the oven does.
If you have access to the water heater, make sure it’s set to a maximum of 120 degrees. Anything more wastes energy and risks scalding.
Even though you may not own your furnace, changing the filters twice a year is inexpensive and keeps it running at peak efficiency and can save both electricity and natural gas, as can adjusting the thermostat down a few degrees in winter, and up a few degrees in summer.
Window film installation kits and draft stoppers under doors can help stop heat loss in the winter. If you have electric baseboard heat in certain rooms, try to remember to turn down the heat when you’re out of the room. Space heaters should always be turned off when you leave the room, as should fans in the summer.
If you’re buying a new window air conditioner, shop for an Energy Star unit. When you install it, be sure to seal gaps to keep the hot and humid air—and bugs—out. And remove the unit during the winter to reduce drafts.
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Small things add up in an apartment or rental home, so keep after the details to save on your energy bills.