Even if you don’t own your home, there are still easy ways to increase your energy savings that won’t require any major handiwork or cost you your security deposit. Here are four simple steps to make your rental home more comfortable and energy efficient.
- Upgrade your light bulbs: Switching out old light bulbs is an easy way to save energy and money. You could save as much as $65 per year by replacing your five most frequently used incandescent lights with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). These energy-efficient bulbs last longer and use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, making saving easy. To maximize your energy savings, switch all of your bulbs with CFLs or LEDs, and be sure to turn off all lights whenever a room is unoccupied.
- Manage your thermostat: Heating and cooling is a huge expense for homeowners and renters alike. On average, it makes up 54 percent of Americans’ energy spending. The easiest way to start saving is to keep your home a few degrees warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. You can save even more by turning off your heating or cooling system when your home is unoccupied. If the outdoor temperature is below freezing, leave your heater at 50 degrees to prevent damage to your water pipes.
- Unplug battery chargers not being used: Most battery chargers consume energy simply by being plugged in. In order to avoid spending money on phantom electricity, unplug all types of chargers once you’re done using them. If a charger is warm to the touch, it’s a telltale sign that it is consuming electricity even though it’s not plugged into a device.
- Shop for a new energy plan: Several U.S. states have deregulated their electricity and/or natural gas markets, meaning residents can choose from a number of retail energy providers and compare rates to find the best deals. If you live in a deregulated state, and your landlord lets you choose an energy provider, this is a great way to save on your monthly bills. If you want to learn more about deregulation and whether it’s available in your area, electricompanies.com is one resource to try.
While you don’t have the flexibility of a homeowner for major renovations when renting, making your home comfortable and energy efficient is still in your best interest. If your rented space needs major upgrades, you can always bring it up with your landlord, but it’s best to frame the discussion as a way to boost the property’s value. Lastly, before you make any major changes to your home be sure to review the terms and conditions of your lease.