From leaky faucets, to drafty windows and doors, to “vampire” devices, there are hidden energy thieves all over your apartment. Along with the energy, these thieves are taking your money as you have to pay more for monthly utilities. Stopping this thievery is easier than you may think, and even if you only take 2 or 3 of these 10 tips for energy efficiency your monthly utility bill is sure to go down.
1. Optimize Cleaning Loads: This goes for clothes in the washer and dryer as well as dishes in the dishwasher. If you wait until you have a full load you’ll end up running the appliances less and saving more energy and money.
2. Choose Cold Over Hot: While this is mainly for washing clothes in cold water rather than hot water, you can also apply this to showers if you choose. In addition to using more energy, scorching hot showers can dry out your skin and hair.
3. Never Let the Water Run: This tip comes from a certain purple dinosaur and it true for children and adults. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and scrubbing the dishes, and alert property management to any leaky faucets or running toilets.
4. Unplug Regularly: Just like “unplugging” from electronics and getting outside is good for your brain, literally unplugging devices when not in use is good for your bank account. Electronics like TVs, entertainment systems, and gaming systems run on standby while not in use, which means they’re never fully off unless unplugged or the power strip is turned off.
5. Keep Dust Away: It’s easy to see dust accumulate on surfaces, but it collects even quicker in dryer vents, refrigerator coils and fans, and air filters. This dust can cause motors to run harder and prevent airflow, which overall brings down efficiency.
6. Keep Your Fridge (and Freezer) Full: If you think back to grade school science and the Law of Thermodynamics you can see how this tip works. If you keep a lot of items in your fridge or freezer they’ll stay cold and help keep everything else cold without the appliance having to work as hard. If you live alone or have a hard time keeping your fridge and freezer full you can put some water or ice in the back then put the groceries up front for accessibility.
7. (Re)arrange Your Furniture: Take a look at your furniture and where it’s placed in the room. Is it covering or blocking any air vents? If it is, see how you may be able to rearrange things to better promote airflow and allow your furnace and A/C to work more effectively and efficiently.
8. Keep the Sun in Mind: As we’re all aware, the sun produces heat. If you keep that in mind and think logically you can use that knowledge to your advantage and save some energy cost along the way. During summer days keep your drapes closed to avoid having the sun shine in and heat up your rooms, and alternatively during the winter keep the drapes wide open to have the sun provide some natural heating to help your furnace.
9. Eliminate Drafts: To a certain extent drafts are inevitable, but you can keep them at a minimum to keep the inside temperature as controlled as possible without having to constantly run your heat or A/C. If there are major cracks or it seems like the doors or windows weren’t installed properly it’s a good idea to contact your property management, but otherwise some inexpensive draft stoppers or rolled up towels should do the trick.
10. Upgrade Your Lights: On average, about 5% of energy budgets are lighting. One way to save on energy and electric bills is to turn off the lights as soon as you leave a room. You can also upgrade your light bulbs to a more energy efficient type, which use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs.