Try these renter-friendly, low- to no-cost tips to help conserve energy and cut back on costs:
Adjust appliance temperature settings
Here are the optimal temperature settings to keep your appliances running as efficiently as possible:
- Refrigerator: 36°-38°F
- Freezer: 0°F
- Water heater: 120°F
- Washer: cold setting (this can cut a load’s energy use in half)
Switch to energy-efficient LED lightbulbs
Choose LED lightbulbs, especially for fixtures and lamps you use most often. Energy.gov says lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home’s electricity use, and the average household saves about $225 in energy costs per year by using LED lighting. Make sure to turn off lights when not in use for extra savings.
Save energy when you’re cooking
Cover pots and pans while cooking on the stovetop.
- Match the size of the pot or pan to the heating element.
- Keep range-top burners clean.
- Cook in the microwave or on top of the range instead of in the oven. Microwave ovens use up to 70% less energy than conventional ovens.
Pull the plug on energy vampires
An increasing number of devices draw power even when turned off. Be sure to unplug electronics when not in use to reduce the amount of wasted energy. Common culprits are printers, gaming consoles and desktop computers. Smart power strips can further reduce energy waste by cutting power to unused devices.
Adjust your thermostat
Your air conditioner and heater are likely your biggest energy wasters. Keep the thermostat at the highest comfortable setting during hotter months and the lowest comfortable level during colder months. When you leave, bump your thermostat up or down a few degrees so you aren’t paying to heat or cool an empty apartment or home. If you don’t already have a programmable (smart) thermostat, check with your landlord to see if they’re willing to install one to adjust the temperature automatically and save even more.
Report leaks or malfunctioning appliances
A leaky faucet or constantly running toilet can cost you big when it comes to your bill. As a renter, be sure to report any leaky faucets, toilets or broken appliances – appliances not working efficiently can drive up your energy bill.
Use curtains and shades for efficiency
In the summer, close blinds during the day to help keep the sun’s heat out. During winter, open curtains or blinds during the day to capture the sun’s heat and close them at night to keep the warm air inside. This will help your home stay at a more comfortable temperature, and you’ll need less AC or heat.
Keep air vents and radiators clear
Putting furniture or rugs in front or over air vents blocks airflow and forces your HVAC system to work harder to cool or heat your home, driving up your energy bill. Make sure vents are clear to help keep your heating and cooling system running efficiently.