How to Save on Your Utilities in Your Apartment Home

How to Save on Your Utilities in Your Apartment Home

Harness the Power of the Sun

Open blinds and curtains during the winter months to take advantage of the natural heating effects of the sun. Sun power can raise the temperature of the room by a few degrees, allowing you to turn down the thermostat. Be sure to close blinds and curtains again as soon as the sun begins to set.

When the temperatures begin to soar, reverse your window strategy. Keep the blinds and curtains closed during the day and open at night. All of the apartments at Fairway 28 feature Andersen® sliding glass doors in the living room, which include blinds built in between the glass. This feature allows residents to easily open and close their blinds and manage the amount of sun that flows into their apartments all year round.

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How Much is a Normal Electric Bill for an Apartment?

Before we dive into how to save money on electric bill in apartment, you should probably know what to shoot for.

How much is a normal electric bill for an apartment about your size, and in your area of the country?

According to the Energy Information Administration, here’s what apartment dwellers are paying in electricity costs:

  • Rented, Single Family: $1,918/year (or $159.83/month).
  • Per Family Member in an Apartment: $631/year (or $52.58/month).

Square footage also plays a major part in figuring out your monthly electric bill. Here’s their estimates on what people are paying, based on amount of square feet:

  • Less than 500 Square Feet: $993/year (or $82.75/month).
  • 500 to 999 Square Feet: $1,291/year (or $107.58/month).
  • 1,000 to 1,499 Square Feet: $1,689/year (or $140.75/month).
  • 1,500 to 1,999 Square Feet: $2,089/year (or or $174/month).
  • Etc.

So, how does your own bill stack up to these?

No matter if you’re ahead of the game, or spending way more than normal…keep reading for some awesome tips.

Note: your apartment might lump your water bill in with your electric bill, or something like that. If so, try calling the water company or the electric provider to ask how much their particular bill was for your apartment unit (you could also try asking your landlord for a breakdown).

And the winter?

Maybe your energy yardstick assessment shows that, during the winter months, most of your bill is made up of heating charges. While that’s probably not a surprise, you can still make these simple changes and save some cash in the colder months:

  • Make sure your attic has proper air sealing, ventilation, and insulation to prevent any drafts from coming in through the roof
  • Install window film insulator to seal off gaps in the windows and window frames; these are really cheap options that make a big difference
  • Set your water heater to around 120 degrees to conserve energy
  • If you’re traveling or going on vacation, turn off electric heaters and turn down gas heaters — you won’t need them while you’re gone and can easily switch them back on when you get home

What makes your electric bill high?

One of the main reasons your electric bill may be high is that you leave your appliances or electronics plugged in whether you’re using them or not. The problem is, these devices are sitting idle, sucking electricity out of your home while waiting for a command from you, or waiting for a scheduled task to run.

Electricity

Average cost: $30-50

Electricity usually accounts for the largest portion of your utility bill. The average cost mentioned above discounts any air conditioning or heating. If you include heating and cooling in your electricity bills, it can increase by up to 32%.

There are a number of factors that can affect your electricity bill, such as the number of people living in the apartment and the amount of appliances and gadgets you use on a regular basis. The size of the apartment also matters as well; a larger apartment will consume more electricity to cool and heat.

Money-Saving Ideas

  • Beware of “energy vampires” a.k.a. Appliances and gadgets that consume electricity even when turned off as long as they are plugged in. Things such as gaming consoles, coffee makers, and phone chargers still consume electricity when not in use. They can account for as much as 20% of your total energy consumption.
  • Check with your provider. If you have multiple providers in your area, shop around to see if you can get services for cheaper. Switching is quick and easy, and you can save up to 40% on your bill.
  • Keep an eye on your monthly usage. If you notice that your electricity bills are higher than normal, check with your provider to see where the increased consumption is coming from. It might be something you can cut down on.
  • Invest in energy-efficient LED light bulbs, or better yet, use solar-powered bulbs when possible. Switch to solar-powered outdoor lighting if you live in a sunny area.

11. Turn Off Lights and Fans When You Leave

The next time that you are leaving your apartment, stop and take a quick walk through your unit and turn off all the lights and fans.

Running lights and fans when you away provide no benefit and only increase your electric bill.

Seriously, if you make this a consistent part of your daily routine, you can save quite a bit of money on your electricity bill in an apartment.

4. Request New Seals Around Doors And Windows

If you live in an older or drafty apartment, you might request that your landlord seal or install weather stripping around all the windows and doors.

Doing so will help maintain the temperature of your apartment and require you to spend less money to heat or cool it.

This is a great item to request as a condition of moving into the unit.

Variable vs. Fixed Rates and How to Choose a Plan

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the average household spends around $115 on their average electric bill which is about $1,400 per year. As a result, electricity is normally the priciest utility, leaving many people wondering how to lower their electric bill. The good news is: you have a few plan options that could help lower your monthly energy bill.

One option is a fixed rate. This plan is when the price per kilowatt-hour stays the same through the duration of your contract. When the market price changes, your rate will not be affected. While it might make your bill more consistent, a fixed rate doesn’t mean that your bill will be the same each month. You’re still charged based on usage, but the rate you’re charged stays the same. The downside to this plan is that sometimes the market prices dip, so your fixed rate won’t allow you to benefit from this.

Another option is a variable rate. A variable rate is when the rate of kilowatt-hours are based on the market price and your electric company, so unlike the fixed rate, a variable rate will fluctuate. Sometimes it may drop lower than the fixed rate price, but it could also raise above it during peak times, creating a disadvantage.

The final choice is an indexed rate. An indexed rate is similar to a variable rate, but the prices are solely determined by a publicly available index. The benefits and downfall to this plan are similar to the variable rate. You’ll benefit when the index price drops, but your bill will be higher when the index price rises.

Each of these plans come with pros and cons. Look around and choose the one you think will help you lower your power bill. 

Don’t Touch It Unless It’s Full

Do you run your dishwasher after every meal, whether it’s full or not? This habit could be increasing your electric bill. You’ll use less energy running one full washer or dishwasher load than several small ones. Using the cold water setting for laundry can save you money, as it takes energy to heat the water. Luckily, today’s detergents are designed to work just as efficiently in cold water as hot.

Cleaning out your dryer’s lint trap can also help reduce your utility bills. When the trap is full, the dryer must run longer to completely dry your clothing. Full lint traps also increase the risk of a dryer fire.

3. Go green with eco-friendly light bulbs

If you use a lot of lights, try replacing them with eco-friendly light bulbs. There are many types available, and they’re much more durable, longer-lasting and environmentally-conscious.

In particular, fluorescent light bulbs are better for the environment and your bank account. Switch out your regular bulbs for fluorescent ones, then reduce their usage as much as possible. Consider trying different fluorescent bulbs to find just the right color for your home (some can be very bright).

Electricity Plan Tips How to Save on Electric Bill in Apartment

If you live in an apartment, then chances are, you have to go with the electricity plan/provider that your landlord already chose.

Don’t fret.

Psst: Find out how do you shop for electricity right here. You’ll be surprised with the free tools available to make finding the cheapest plan a cinch.   

What you’ll want to do is make sure you are using that plan in a way that gets you any perks available.

Call your electricity provider (you’ll find the number on any electric bill you can find), and ask them the following questions:

  • Cheapest Times of Day/Night: Is there a cheaper time of day/night when I can use electricity? You want to use the most electricity (such as doing your laundry/running your dryer/running your dishwasher) during non-peak energy times, which might save you extra money.
  • Are There Free Times to Use Electricity?: Some electric plans now have promotions where something like nights and weekends are free. This is good info to know, as well as what hour this free time starts. You’ll want to schedule any electric-using tasks during those hours, like running the dishwasher, using the water heater (showering), etc.
  • Are There any Extra Plan Perks?: Find out if there are any plan perks you might not be aware of. For example, do you get reward points to use towards gift cards for paying your bill on time, or for setting up automatic payments?
  • Do they offer a Free Energy Audit?: Ask if they conduct free apartment audits to reduce energy consumption.

Pssst: are you able to choose your own electricity plan? Awesome. You’ll find more tips for how to save money on electricity by choosing the best one here. 

What Affects the Costs of Utilities?

Location

The location of your apartment will greatly affect your utility bill, especially your electricity and gas consumption. If you’re living in a city with a temperate climate, you won’t need to spend as much compared to living in a city with extreme weather conditions.

The location also refers to where your apartment is located within a building. Top floor apartments generally have higher heating and cooling bills because they are more exposed to the elements.

Energy Efficiency

Check the energy efficiency of the apartment before moving in. An apartment with lots of windows and a high ceiling such as a loft will let in more sunlight and air, so you won’t need to heat the apartment as much. However, during colder months, this can also mean a higher heating bill.

Size of your Rental

Obviously, a larger apartment will be more expensive when it comes to power, heating, and cooling. Even the unit’s layout can play a part; it can be more expensive to heat and cool an apartment with an open floor plan than one with delineated rooms. You only need to heat and cool the areas where you’re staying.

Invest in smart home technology

With so many Smart Home gadgets on the market today, there are many ways to use them to save money. The two categories that we’ll focus on is Smart Climate Control and Smart Lighting.

Smart Climate Control

Using Smart Climate Control is a great way to save on apartment utilities because it can learn your routine. It can be programmed to know when you’re home and need to utilize the heater, and when you’re not home, allowing you to save energy. You might also consider adjusting your thermostat settings when you sleep. Since you’ll be covered with blankets, you may not need the temperature as high.

Smart Lighting

Smart Lighting is also essential to energy saving. Using LED lights and other energy-saving light bulbs can significantly reduce energy costs and help you save on apartment utilities.  When you also use Smart Lighting, you can control when lights are turned on and off. Gone are the days when forgetting to turn off the lights becomes a problem. Now you can set your lighting preferences to turn on and off automatically. This is especially helpful around the holidays!

Because we’re writing this blog for apartment renters, we made sure to do our research! There are some smart gadgets that you may need to get approval for, but most can be removed easily and taken with you when you move! Philips Hue is a great brand to look into, as you may not need permission at all. 

How can I save money on my bills?

10 ways to save on utility bills Shop around. Control your thermostat. Cool down your hot water heater. Run appliances late at night. Don’t forget about filters. Lower lighting costs. Do use ceiling fans. Unplug when offline.

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