24 Ways to Lower Your Apartment’s Power Bill
Living in your own home gives you more control over your utility expenses, including your electric bill. But what if present circumstances dictate that you rent an apartment in the meantime? Does that mean you’re doomed to paying a high energy bill month after month? Not necessarily.
Fortunately, you can implement easy measures to lower your power consumption and save money even if you’re renting. What’s more, you can shave those kWhs without sacrificing your comfort.
What Is The Average Electric Bill In An Apartment?
Before you can begin thinking of how to save money on your energy bill, it’s best to determine what’s an average or normal electric bill for an apartment. Data from the Energy Information Administration show that apartment renters typically pay the following electricity costs:
- Single-family dwellers: $159.83 a month or $1,918 a year
- Cost per family member: $52.58 a month or $631 a year.
Aside from the number of family members, the apartment’s square footage is another factor to consider in computing the power expenses. The bigger the area, the higher the electricity consumption.
- Less than 500 square feet: $82.75 a month or $993 a year
- 500 to 999 square feet: $107.58 a month or $1,291 a year
- 1,000 to 1,499 square feet: $140.75/month or $1,689 a year
- 1,500 to 1,999 square feet: $174/month or $2,089 a year
What Uses The Most Electricity In An Apartment?
As you can see, the larger your living space, the higher your electricity bill. But which among your electronics and appliances use the most energy? If you want an estimate of how much you pay for your devices, head on to energy.gov. You can use their energy calculator to find out. In general, these are the top electricity guzzlers in your apartment. Using these electronics for longer periods tends to hike your electric bills.
- Heating system
- Air conditioning
- Water heater
- Washer and dryer
- Electric over
- TV and media equipment
- Desktop Computer
If you compare the electricity consumption of various devices, you’ll discover that a microwave oven uses 1,500 watts. Meanwhile, a space heater drains 1,320 of electric power. That makes running a microwave oven more expensive and adds more to your apartment electric bill.
How to Lower Electric Bill in Apartment?
Of course, curbing your energy consumption will lead to lower electricity bills. However, there’s another way of saving money on your utility payments. Renters may not usually have this option, but it’s an excellent means of reducing your monthly electric bill if you do.
Choose The Best Electric Plan For You
Different energy plans offer varying energy prices. Some also have perks that let you save on your electric bill depending on when you consume the most electricity. As such, choosing the electricity plan that best fits your power usage level and pattern can lead to energy savings.
Unfortunately, your landlord may have already chosen the provider or plan for the apartment. But don’t worry. There are still some things you can do to reduce your utility bill. Call your power provider and determine the following:
- The time of the day or night when electricity use is cheapest: Some power companies have lower rates during certain hours. You can then schedule the tasks that consume the most energy at those hours. Examples of these are running the dishwasher or doing the laundry.
- If the company offers free electricity: Certain energy plans have a free nights and weekends electricity feature. If your current plan has such an offer, find out the specific times when electricity use is free.
- If a free energy audit comes with the electricity plan: Take advantage of the audit to determine your apartment’s power usage and how to make it more energy-efficient.
You may want to save energy but don’t know where to begin. Don’t fret. You don’t have to create drastic changes in your lifestyle to reduce your apartment’s power consumption. Even making minor adjustments in how you use your electronics and devices can reduce your monthly energy bill. Let’s discuss some of them.
1. Unplug Appliances When Not In Use
Appliances continue to consume electricity even when turned off if they remain plugged in. That’s because the standby mode function requires a minuscule amount of electric power. But that small amount adds up and can drive up your electricity bills. You can plug your devices into a smart power strip for greater convenience.
2. Raise Your Refrigerator Temperature
The chances are high that your fridge’s temperature is set lower than necessary. If you want to save energy, raise your refrigerator’s temperature. Setting it to 37 degrees Fahrenheit will inhibit bacterial growth without hiking your power usage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that you can set your fridge as high as 40 degrees Fahrenheit without risking food spoilage.
3. Wash Your Laundry In Cold Water
About 90% of the electricity consumed by the washing machine goes into heating water. That means washing your clothes in cold water dramatically reduces your power consumption. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also help save the planet. Studies show that doing the laundry using cold water can prevent the release of around 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
4. Save Electricity When Cooking
Electric stovetops and ovens require a lot of power. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to resort to take-out food to save electricity. The secret is in knowing what appliance to use. For example, crock pots and microwave ovens consume less electricity than stoves and ovens. So relying more on your microwave or crockpot to cook your food can help you reduce your energy usage.
Use Refrigerator Thawing
Do you use your microwave for thawing your food? Stop the habit if you aim to save energy. Instead, plan your meals and thaw frozen meat, poultry, and other food items inside your fridge ahead of time. In that way, you’ll avoid wasting around 1,500 watts that a microwave oven uses.
Cook Once For Multiple Meals
Electric stoves and ovens take between 2,000 to 5,000 watts to operate. As such, using them less will save energy significantly. One trick is to cook less often. You can keep the cooked food in the fridge and reheat it before eating.
5. Use Dryer Racks
Dryer racks are perfect for drying your clothes without using electricity. You can place the racks on your apartment balcony (if the apartment complex rules allow you) or any convenient place in your living area. Electric dryers are among the top appliances that use the most electricity so think of the kWh you’ll save using dryer racks.
6. Adjust Your Furniture
Something as simple as rearranging your furniture can help make your apartment more energy efficient. For example, if any bulky furniture is positioned in front of your radiator, it can block the flow of hot air and absorb the heat. Thus, it takes more time to warm up the room, which means more energy gets consumed. Moving the furniture just a little bit away from the radiator can save on your power expenses.
7. Maintain Your Appliances
Cleaning and maintaining your appliances help make them more energy efficient. For example, a dirty air filter in your air conditioning unit will restrict the flow of cold air and lead to higher power consumption. Meanwhile, dirty refrigerators coils make the compressor work harder and longer, hiking its energy usage. Thus, make it a habit to check your appliances to ensure they remain energy efficient.
8. Turn Your Water Heater Down
Water heaters rank among the top energy users in an apartment. The higher the temperature setting of this appliance, the more electricity it uses for heating. The water you use doesn’t need to be scalding hot. By turning the thermostat down a few degrees, you will shave significant kWh off your power bill.
9. Purchase A Water Heater Cover
Your water tank holds a steady reserve of water at a set temperature. That’s so you’ll have hot water each time you turn on the shower or faucet. However, heat can escape from the tank, making the heater expend energy to keep the water warm. A water heater cover can help keep the water at the right temperature without driving up your kWh consumption. Feel your tank if you want to find out if a cover will help reduce your electricity usage. If it’s warm, that means heat is escaping, and your heater will benefit from a water heater cover.
For the Highly Committed
If you’re determined to curb your electricity consumption, you can invest time and money to employ the following energy-saving solutions. The good news is that you easily recoup the money you spent on the money you save on your bill.
10. Replace Your HVAC and furnace filters
The maintenance staff should be doing this chore if you’re a renter. However, you can be proactive if they skip or forget the said task. To clean the filters, remove each vent cover and vacuum the vent and filter. Sometimes, however, vacuuming won’t be enough. If the filters look as if they need replacing, purchase new ones. Regularly changing the filters could save you around $7-10 a month.
11. Install Solar Panels
A solar power system may be a hefty investment. However, financial incentives and financing options can make installing solar panels worthwhile. Not only is it a step towards green living but it can save you a significant amount as well. Using solar panels to power your home can lower or eliminate your electricity bill. You also earn tax credits, rebates, and incentives, which softens the solar system’s upfront costs. Using solar panels can give you around $20,000 on your power bills.
12. Install Green Roof
Green roofs act as insulation. They absorb the sun’s heat on hot days and keep the warmth in during winter. Green roofs may cost more than conventional roofs, but they can save you money over time, sometimes by as much as $200,000. That’s over their life span of around 40 years. They not only insulate your home, but they also help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions coming from the use of HVAC systems. This allows you to do your share for the environment.
13. Use Reflective Roofing Materials
Reflective roofing materials bounce the sun’s rays away from the roof surface. This lowers the temperature inside your home, allowing your living space to remain cool without the use of air conditioning units. Utilizing reflective roofing materials lets you cut back the amount you spend on keeping your home comfortable.
14. Purchase Smart Power Strips
Devices that remain plugged in consumes electricity even if they’re not running. That’s why we recommend unplugging your electronics when they’re not in use. Smart power strips let you avoid the inconvenience of pulling the plug out of the sockets one by one. The smart power strip switches off power to electronics when they’re not in use, thus eliminating the need to pull each plug from the outlets individually. Using these devices can cut down your energy losses by 20-48 percent.
15. Try To Use Less Light
Opening your windows and drapes will let in natural light. This lessens your reliance on artificial lighting, which consumes electricity. Even if you use energy-saving LED light bulbs, the amount of power they consume adds up and can impact your power bill. Clean your windows to remove dirt and allow more sunlight to enter your home. This offers the added advantage of keeping your home warm naturally during winter.
Summer is one of the seasons when electricity usage increases. Due to the warm weather, you tend to keep your air conditioner running for extended periods. The cool air that brings you comfort comes at a price, though. It comes in the form of higher electricity bills. You can still stay cool and comfy despite the heat without jacking up your kWh consumption. Here are some tricks and tips.
16. Circulate Air With Your Ceiling Fan
Don’t rely mainly on your air conditioner to stay cool. Ceiling fans are handy tools that produce decent air circulation. Turning on your fan for several minutes can lower the temperature in your apartment by several degrees. During summer nights, keeping your windows open while using your ceiling fan may be enough to keep you comfortable.
17. Close Your Binds
Keeping your blinds open lets in natural light and lessens your dependence on artificial lighting. However, during summer, open blinds can heat up your apartment. When the sun’s rays are particularly intense, closing the blinds can help keep the temperature in your living space at a reasonable level. That means you won’t have to turn on your air conditioning unit, or if you do, you can keep it at a higher setting.
18. Keep Sun At Bay
Blinds and shades help lower the temperature inside your apartment. Before you leave for work, make it a habit to close those blinds to keep out the sun’s heat during summer. Another alternative is to use black-out curtains. Meanwhile, closing the blinds at night on cold winter days helps keep the warmth in.
Upgrading Your Tools and Appliances
Fortunately, plenty of tools and appliances that help cut down your power consumption exist in the market. They’re relatively inexpensive, too, so purchasing some won’t hurt your budget. You can also quickly get back the money you spend from the savings on your power bills.
19. Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
LED light bulbs use around 80% less electricity than incandescent ones. They’re also cheaper and tend to last longer. Thus, swapping your traditional bulbs for LEDs will save you money on your utility bills.
20. Energy Star Certified Appliances
The Energy Star Certificate guarantees that the appliance is more energy-efficient than its conventional counterpart. Energy Star-rated electronics and devices use around 9% less energy, which can curb your power expenses. They may cost more upfront, but you can get back your investment through the savings on your utilities.
21. Purchase A Draft Guard
Draft guards prevent heat or cold air from escaping from leakage points in your apartment. As such, your HVAC system won’t have to work extra hard to maintain the internal temperature at a comfortable level. Plugging leakage areas keeps air inside, which helps lower your bill significantly.
22. Convert Your Toilet To Low Flush
Low flush toilets need less water. They may be a bit pricey but, as with other energy-efficient products, you can easily get back the money you spent. In fact, you can recoup around $20 a year by using this type of toilet.
23. Buy A Low-Flow Showerhead
A low-flow showerhead saves you money in two ways. One, it lessens your water consumption by as much as 40%, which reduces your water bill significantly. Two, it cuts down your energy usage because you decrease the amount of water that needs heating. You can save as much as $50 a year on heating costs by switching to this product.
24. Install a Low-Flow Aerator on Your Faucets
Low-flow aerators cut down the amount of water coming out of the faucet. Installing one will help lower your water consumption as well as the energy used to heat the water. If the faucets in your apartment are already equipped with aerators, check if they’re 2.75 gallons per minute (GPM) or less. You can find the GPM imprinted on the device. If the aerators are over 2.75 GMP, replace them with newer models.
Are Heat and Electricity the Same Bill?
Electric and heating costs are usually the same bill for most people. However, it will still depend on how you heat your home, whether you use electricity or natural gas. If you heat your home using natural gas, you may get a separate bill.
Do LED Lights Raise Electric Bill?
LED lights use less energy than incandescent bulbs. You may even get lower electric bills if you swap your old bulbs with more energy-efficient LED lights. That’s if the consumption of your other appliances and devices remains the same.
Should I Unplug My Internet at Night?
If you won’t be using your modem, unplugging it at night would be wise. Not only will you save electricity, but you can also protect the device from unexpected power surges.
What Is the Cheapest Way to Heat My Apartment?
Using an energy-efficient space heater is the least expensive way to heat your apartment. It can quickly produce a substantial amount of heat, and you can position it where you want. Just take the necessary precautions to avoid the risks posed by such devices.
Plenty of ways to conserve energy exist. Depending on your determination to curb power usage, you can pick among the tips and tricks we’ve outlined in the article. Fortunately, you can easily incorporate some of those tips into your daily routine. You can also purchase some tools and devices that will ease the task.
Lowering your electricity expenses doesn’t just help your pocket, but it gives the planet a boost, too. Every watt you save adds up over time, which lessens the demand for electricity.