5 Ways to Make Your Rented Home More Energy Efficient

Upgrading your apartment to become more energy efficient may help lower your utility bills. Even small steps may help reduce your energy consumption. Consider these tips to help make your rented home more energy efficient.

1. Pay Attention to Windows

If your windows are drafty, consider buying a window insulation kit, suggests Popular Mechanics. These kits typically include sheets of plastic that you shrink-wrap over your entire window using a hair dryer to help keep cold air out.

You may be able to take other steps to help reduce your energy usage and keep your home comfortable. When it’s cold outside, opening your curtains or blinds can let sunlight in and help warm the room, EnergyStar.gov says. On the other hand, keeping your drapes closed on hot days can help block the sun, helping keep heat from the sun out of your home.

2. Conserve Energy While You’re Away

Devices plugged into your outlets can use energy even when they aren’t in use, according to EnergyStar.gov. The website suggests unplugging devices such as cellphone chargers and power adapters when they aren’t needed to help avoid wasting electricity.

Consider plugging larger electronics, such as computers, into power strips, the website recommends. Multiple devices can be plugged into a single strip. When you’re done using the equipment or you’re going to be away, simply switch off the power strip to disconnect them all and stop their energy use.

3. Change Your Light Bulbs

If you are using traditional incandescent bulbs in lamps and other light fixtures, consider replacing them with more energy-efficient light bulbs. You may save up to $45 per year by replacing old light bulbs with ENERGY STAR®-rated LED or compact fluorescent versions, Energy.gov says. In addition, these bulbs typically last longer than traditional bulbs, which may help you save a bit more.

4. Maintain Your Appliances

While your landlord may be responsible for choosing your appliances, you can take small steps to help them run more efficiently. Take a look at your refrigerator’s coils, which are typically located on the back side or underneath the appliance. Removing dust from the coils may help them work more efficiently, therefore helping reduce their energy usage, The Family Handyman says.

If you have a furnace in your rented home, it’s a good idea to make sure the filter is clean. EnergyStar.gov suggests checking the filter every month and replacing it whenever it looks dirty. You may want to check with your landlord to learn whether this is your responsibility or if you can arrange for it to be done for you. Clean filters help the system work more efficiently, which may lead to lower utility bills.

5. Warm the Room With Area Rugs and Tapestries

Before you crank up the heat to combat the chill from a cold floor, try using area rugs to create a barrier between you and the hardwood or tile, The Spruce recommends. If your walls feel cold to the touch during the winter, there may be insufficient insulation behind them, The Spruce says. For a quick fix, try hanging a quilt or heavy tapestry on the wall. In addition to providing a decorative touch, covering a cold wall with the fabric may help the room feel warmer.

As a renter, you likely have limited control over major energy efficiency improvements. A few small changes, though, can help provide a good start for saving energy, leaving you with lower utility bills and a more comfortable stay in your rented place.

Originally published on March 23, 2011.

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