Renting a home has many perks—you usually don’t need to worry about paying for repairs, since your landlord or property management team cover that. And renting a house can be a lot cheaper than paying a mortgage. Plus, you have the flexibility and option to move once your lease is up, which is something that isn’t so simple when you own a house.
But whether you rent or own, monthly expenses like utilities can add up. Thankfully there are simple practices you can incorporate into your daily routine to decrease your utility bill and do your part to conserve energy. Check out our collection of energy saving strategies designed to save money and decrease your energy consumption.
Switch to cold water for washing clothes
An estimated 90% of the energy required to wash clothes is used to heat the water. By switching to cold water to wash your clothes, you not only save on your electric bill, but you reduce your energy use as well. Additionally, front-load washers use less water than top-loading washers, so if you’re in a position to upgrade your appliances, you stand to save even more over time.
Check out some additional money and energy saving tips to incorporate into your laundry routine:
Run full loads of laundry whenever possible, as a washing machines use the same amount of energy on small loads as it does on a large load. Get the most from your money and wait until you have a big load to wash.
Hang-dry clothes when possible to reduce your need for the dryer, and also to protect the condition of your clothes. Skip the dryer, and you can save up to 50 percent in energy usage.
Use all-natural wool dryer balls when you have to run your clothes dryer to cut down on time needed to dry things like sheets and towels. An awesome bonus is they naturally make clothes softer, eliminating the need to buy dryer sheets or fabric softener.
Clean the lint trap after every dryer cycle to improve efficiency, increase air flow, and prevent a potential fire hazard.
Making the change from hot water to cold when you do your washing can save money, water, and energy. Don’t worry—you can still take a hot shower, just limit the use of hot water when washing your clothes. Speaking of hot showers: lowering the hot water temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees can translate into a savings of $2 to $4 per month, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The best part? You won’t notice the lowered temp, but you will notice saving $50 a year.
Choose the appropriately sized appliances
Bigger is not always better, especially when it comes to energy-sucking appliances like air conditioners. Save money and energy with an air conditioning unit designed for the size and space of your home.
Why does this matter? An AC system that’s too big for a home will over-cool the dwelling quickly and shut off quickly, then repeat the cycle frequently throughout the day. The constant starting and stopping uses more energy and costs you more money. By understanding how your AC system functions you can make adjustments that keep your home cooler and keeps cash in your pocket. Get the most from your air conditioner by:
• Adding a ceiling fan. Remove body heat with the help of a ceiling fan, so you cool down faster and don’t need to set your AC as high.
• Keeping lights off. A dark room is easier to cool than a room full of hot lights. Plus, you’re saving extra money and energy by not turning on light.
• Sealing off drafts. The more cold air you can keep inside your home, the less your AC has to work to replenish lost cold air. The same principles go for the heat in the winter months.
• Embracing technology. Invest in a smart thermostat to program climate control setting that kick in automatically throughout the day. Choose a setting that lowers your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for the eight hours you are at work can save you up to 15 percent a year in heating costs.
If you’re living in a rental that already has a central AC unit do some experimenting to see how efficient the unit is and how well it does its job. Get to know the settings and play around with temperature levels to find what works for your space.
Unplug when and where you can
Many of us have a habit of plugging our phones at night to charge. And it makes sense: while we rest and recharge so does our most used device. But in reality, your phone only takes a few (not a full eight) hours to recharge, and chargers for things like phones and laptops continuously draw power even when they aren’t actively charging a device. Make it a habit of unplugging your chargers from the outlet once you’ve finished charging your tablet or smartphone.
If you have a hard time remembering to unplug individual chargers switch to a multi-socket power strip with a central power button: when not in use, flip the power button to completely cut off power and eliminate that slow energy drain. Conduct a room-by-room audit of your home to find ways to cut back on energy use and in turn save money on your monthly utilities. For example, putting your computer in hibernate or sleep mode when you’re not using it you could save you an estimated $30 annually.
Additional opportunities to unplug around the home:
• Turn off lights and fans in rooms you aren’t using
• Unplug your coffee machine and toaster when not in use
• Only plug in gaming consoles when you want to play
• Remove unused docking stations for things like iPods and tablets
Something, doing things differently really pays off. Here’s a collection of random, yet impactful, energy-saving hacks:
• Pack your freezer! No ice cream left behind. Hitting up a sale on frozen food can have last energy-saving effects since a tightly packed freezer uses less energy than a sparsely-filled one to stay cool when the door is open.
• Let the dishes pile up in the sink. Dishwashers are more efficient when fully loaded with dishes, so wait until your dishwasher is full before running it. Skip the drying cycle and let your dishes air dry to save even more energy and money.
• Keep your home’s inside temperature as close to the outside temperature as is comfortably possible during the summer months. Your home will still feel cool, and your HVAC won’t have to work as hard, saving money and energy.
• Turn off your oven 10-15 minutes before your done cooking—your food will keep cooking, and you won’t use any extra electricity.
Practice makes perfect
There are many different habits and practices you can employ to cut down on your utility bill while doing your part to conserve energy. Take things one step at a time and find small ways to reduce your dependency on energy, since even small acts add up in the long run.
What are some of your favorite energy and money saving tricks? Let us know in the comments below!