There are plenty of ways to bring down your energy costs, whether you own or rent your home. While some of these tips are specific to the summer season, many of them may be helpful year-round.
- If you own your home, consider installing solar panels and upgrading your thermostat or HVAC system. If you rent, set your thermostat lower in winter and higher in summer.
- Switch to energy saving LED light bulbs. Not only do they cut back on energy usage, but they last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Also, make it a habit to turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Wash most loads of clothes on the “cold” or “tap cold” setting. Hold off on running a load until the washing machine is full. When replacing a unit, look for energy-saving features that will decrease water consumption.
- Unplug small electronics that are rarely used or only used for a few minutes a day. Electronic devices draw energy even when they are not on, so unplugging your toaster or coffee maker will shave a surprising amount off your electric bill.
- Fix water leaks. Even a slow drip will increase your water usage. If you rent and are unable to repair a water leak quickly, keep a plastic carton beneath the drip. Use the water that drips into the carton to water plants.
- Set your water heater (or ask for it to be set) to a moderate temperature. Water that is hotter than needed not only wastes energy, but is a safety risk as well.
- Dishwashers use far less water than washing by hand, so if you have one, use it. Fill as close to capacity as possible before running a load.
- Installing new windows may save thousands over time. If you can’t afford new windows, consider replacing old caulk or weatherstripping. Window kits, solar shades, or blackout curtains may help renters minimize energy loss due to windows.
- If you rent or live in a condominium, suggest energy-saving improvements. Adopting even one or two could benefit everyone who lives in your building.