There are few things like the joy of a new apartment—the fresh paint smell and the open space waiting for your things to fill it. Getting everything set up just the way you like it, settling in, and making it your own is very fulfilling. Then you get the first electric bill, and you may be surprised by your monthly usage. Here are a few energy saving tips that will help you make your apartment energy efficient.
Adjusting your thermostat a bit higher in summer and a bit cooler in winter will help save you a good amount. One of the biggest, if not the biggest, energy costs per month is heat or air conditioning. In some apartments A/C and heat can be 50% of your entire bill. That’s why we put this tip first on the list.
Another smart move can be to get a Nest thermostat or an Ecobee3. Their features help you save on costs by learning your preferences and adjusting the thermostat automatically at designated times of the day. Certain users have seen roughly 10% savings in heating costs and 17% savings in cooling costs. They’re easy to install and you can take them with you when you move.
A draft stopper is also known as a door snake. They look something like a rolled up towel and you put them along the bottom of exterior doors to block drafts and interior doors to rooms you aren’t heating or cooling. Places like Home Depot or Lowe’s carry these, as do other home supply stores. It may seem simple, but it can really help keep rooms isolated from one another and keep cold or heat out.
Let’s be candid, many people waste way too much time online. Often it’s under the guise of best intentions, but it’s time that would be better off doing something productive.
The solution? Read a book, or go outside for a walk if the weather permits. Catching up on cleaning the house or garage is also a good move for some folks. The point is to make certain evenings or even a whole day digital free. A digital detox is a good thing for many people, and setting up a weekly time to do it helps recharge your mental batteries as well as saving on electricity.
Closing the blinds can help insulate your apartment in both winter and summer. They act as an extra barrier from radiant heat or cold from your windows. Some people even go to the length of putting extra “blackout” curtains behind their blinds to keep light out, which doubles as good insulation.
In many states, energy is deregulated, and you have the ability to shop for energy. Give your local providers a call, and see what they can do for you. Of course, Ambit would love to have your business. Our company strives to provide great service, electricity rates and an amazing overall value.
Your local transmission and delivery utility (TDU) may offer no-cost or low-cost energy audits. If your usage is high, this is a great move. A real auditor will see things most people wouldn’t have considered and use tools not available to home owners in order to help them. There is a saying that “if you think a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur.” The same hold true with audits. Find a pro and reap the benefits.
Consolidated meal prep is a great way to save energy because heating up an oven once a week is better than every other day. This item is also beneficial for weight loss and overall fitness. You have a certain amount of willpower in a given day, and if you’re worn out, you may make bad food choices. Having meals prepped a few days in advance so you can grab and go will keep your diet on track and saving energy.
Despite conventional wisdom, many clothes get just as clean in cold water as hot water. With modern high-efficiency washers and detergents, needing to wash everything in hot water is no longer necessary. This is an easy way to save electricity.
A lot of apartments and homes still use incandescent bulbs. These are great at turning energy into heat, but not so efficient at producing light. The new compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs do have a higher up front cost than the old incandescents, but they generally last longer and use 75% less energy over the life of the bulb. Light emitting diode (LED) bulbs are an even better option. Many cities have been swapping out their street lights for LEDs, for more light and energy savings. LED bulbs can save up to 80% of energy usage compared to incandescent bulbs.
Cars need new air filters at regular intervals, and so does your home HVAC unit. Often these get neglected until something is really wrong. Filters get clogged over time with dust, dander, and other stuff you really don’t want to breathe, and the harder it is to pull air through the filter, the more energy they use. Filters should generally be changed every three months. Ask your apartment manager to change them or give you filters so you can do it.
Do you really need to record that rerun of Gilmore Girls at 3:00 a.m.? If you’re willing to give up a few things while you sleep or are not home, you can use a smart power strip on a timer. It can turn off certain “vampire devices”—which use energy even when they’re turned off—while you’re at work or sleeping. This is great for things like the TV or computer that draw energy at all times, because it actually ‘unplugs’ them rather than just putting them to sleep.
Water heaters are preinsulated, but HVAC companies can wrap water heaters to conserve heat even better. Many people have the water heater in a closet or central location, depending on how and when the apartments were built. If your water heater is in a garage, though, having extra insulation can really save energy.
How much ice do you need? Most people have an ice maker that runs and runs, and they wind up with a mini Arctic in their freezer. Consider leaving it off until you really need ice.
Everyone knows someone who is glued to the TV at all nonworking or sleeping hours. In fact, it may be on at all times even if nobody is watching it. If you know that person, send them a book to read. If you are that person, invest in an energy efficient TV. A newer LED TV will help save money over an older plasma or CRT TV. A 32” LED TV can use as little as $10 in electricity per year if watched 5 hours a day at an average of $0.11 per kilowatt hour for electricity. A 55-60” LED would use between $15-20 per year at that rate, compared to $45-55 for a similar-size plasma TV.
With these energy saving tips for your apartment, we hope you can spend your savings on fun things. If you’d like to discuss your energy rates and potential savings, contact Ambit Energy today.