Energy Savings

Energy Saving Tips

Energy costs for lighting, heating, cooking and bathing are a major monthly expense for apartment and home dwellers. Most energy savings literature is directed toward the homeowner, but renters can also save money by 1) monitoring energy usage, 2) making inexpensive energy savings improvements, and 3) developing energy saving habits.

Energy savings means money saving as well as conserving our natural resources. The following information will give you some helpful tips on easy-to-do energy saving. Also, learning how to read electric and gas meters will help you in learning your energy-use habits. This information is also provided.

The savings suggestions in these pages cost very little to implement, and some involve NO COST AT ALL!

Keeping the Heat Where You Want It

Obviously, it is up to the landlord to correct conditions of extreme draftiness caused by loose window panes, open spaces around doors, missing caulking, and holes in exterior walls. But to correct slight drafts, it is up to the discretion of the individual. You should approach the landlord about providing the additional protective measures described below. He or she may at least be willing to supply materials. However you arrange to get it done, following these suggestions can save you up to 10% on both your heating bill in the winter and air conditioning bill in the summer.

  • Weather strip around the edge of doors and windows. Weather stripping is available in flexible vinyl, felt, spring bronze metal, and adhesive backed foam rubber. It should be used around all exterior windows and doors, as well as around interior doors that separate heated and unheated rooms (i.e., the basement and the attic). The weather stripping best suited to your unit depends on the type of construction of your doors and windows. It is probably a good idea to consult your landlord before starting this job. You can make temporary weather stripping by rolling up a throw rug, towel, or even newspaper and placing it around the door or windowsill.

  • Saving Heat
    • Close drapes, blinds, and shades when the sun is not shining. Keeping window coverings closed acts as insulation against cold outside air.

    • Open drapes, blinds, and shades on sunny days and let the warmth of the sun help heat your apartment.

    • Shut heating and air conditioning off in unused rooms if possible and be sure to close all closet doors.

    • Open doors to rooms that are used.

    • Do not block heating or cooling outlets with furniture, drapes, or pictures. This includes cold air return registers.

    • If you have a fireplace, close the damper when not in use or block the opening with a removable cover.

    • Avoid unnecessary loss of energy to the outside by not opening outside doors and windows more than necessary.

    • Inspect the furnace and air conditioner filter monthly and change it when it is dirty.

    • Clean warm air registers and return grills regularly during the heating season.

    • Do not use electric space heaters in the bathroom while showering.

    • During the winter, set your thermostat at the lowest setting that is sweater comfortable. A maximum daytime setting that is recommended is 65º F, with 55º F at night. EACH DEGREE HIGHER CAN ADD 3% TO YOUR HEATING BILL!

    • Avoid frequent changes of your thermostat setting—it can add to your heating and cooling costs.

    • Place the fan selector switch on your thermostat to automatic.

  • Saving Hot Water

    • Take shorter and cooler showers. A shower uses less hot water than a bath.

    • When shaving, partially fill the basin with hot water rather than letting the water run continuously.

    • If you have a dishwasher, wash only full loads.

    • If you are washing dishes by hand, turn the hot water faucet off between rinses or use a pan of hot water as a dip rinse.

    • Promptly replace worn-out washers in a leaky faucet. Leaks can be very costly. When you turn off a faucet, turn it off completely.

    • Set water heater thermostat at the lowest possible temperature. Start it at 110º F if the dial is graduated in degrees or at “normal” if it is divided cool-normal-hot and then adjust it based on your needs. A water heater insulation blanket (cost around $25) can pay for itself in three or four months through reduced water heating bill.

  • Saving on Lighting

    • Turn off lights when leaving a room.

    • Provide “task” lighting (over desks, tool benches, etc.) so the activities can be performed without illuminating the entire room.

    • Use fluorescent lamps whenever possible. They produce about four times as much light per watt as do incandescent bulbs.

    • Clean lighting fixtures regularly.

  • Saving on Refrigeration

    • Check to be sure that dirt has not accumulated on coils and condenser, located in the back and underneath the refrigerator. Vacuum to remove dirt.

    • Cover everything in the refrigerator. Warm or hot foods should be covered and allowed to cool 20 minutes before refrigeration.

    • Open and close the refrigerator and freezer doors only when necessary. Do not stand with the door open.

    • Refrigerate only foods that require it.

    • Keep refrigerator temperature at 30º to 40º F and freezer temperature at 0º F for best operation.

    • Defrost the freezer when the ice is thick.

  • Saving while Cooking

    • Use a medium or low flame. Cooking seldom requires a high flame and then only for a short time.

    • Tailor the size of the flame to the size of your pan. If the flame is yellow/orange instead of blue, your burner needs adjusting, cleaning, or both. Talk to your landlord.

    • Preheat the oven only when it is necessary, and then set it to the temperature you intend to use. When preheating is necessary, allow the oven to warm up no more than 5 to 7 minutes.

    • When cooking vegetables, use as little water as possible and cover the sauce pan to speed cooking.

    • Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator or on top of a counter, not in a warm oven or boiling water.

    • Foods cook faster in flat, smooth-bottomed pans; and there is less of a chance of burning the food.

    • Cook in quantity and freeze the extra for later use.

    • When food reaches the boiling point, turn the flame down to a lower setting or simmer.

    • Avoid opening the oven door repeatedly to check on food.

    • Plan meals so that more than one dish can cook in the oven at one time.