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Energy Efficiency Ideas for Renters

Energy Efficiency Ideas for Renters

Just because you don’t own your home doesn’t mean that you can’t control your energy costs. Every little bit helps; some may not apply, but everyone can find one or two options. Here are some quick money and energy saving ideas:

  1. Use power strips. Even though they are turned off, many electronics still draw power. Turning off a power strip with a television, dvd player, and multiple video game consoles when not in use can save up to $20 a month just by itself. Consider also using power strips for various electronics chargers (phone, camera, etc.) as well, and turn them off when you’re not charging.
  2. Check your water heater settings. Turning the temperature to the lowest comfortable setting can help save money when heating water.
  3. Replace your air conditioner and/or furnace filters every 3 months. This ensures that the unit is receiving clean air (and so are you!) and improves their efficiency.
  4. Use ceiling fans instead of your air conditioner. If you have them, fans cost just pennies to run compared to air conditioners (both central and wall/window units). If your home doesn’t have good natural air flow, putting box fans in your windows (facing into the room) in the evenings can help draw cool air in from the outside to cool the room.
  5. Use energy efficient bulbs. They have improved drastically over the last few years, no longer requiring 5-10 minutes to come to full brightness. Some types even will operate in dimmable fixtures without flickering.
  6. Use blinds to help control the temperature of your home. During the hot summer months, keep blinds closed during the day to keep your home cooler. Do the opposite during the winter – open your blinds to allow the sun to warm it up. Using heavy curtains over your blinds will help keep the warm air in as well. If you have a room or two with bright West or South sun in the afternoon, consider investing in curtains with a thermal backing to help keep everything cooler.
  7. If you find that you have a draft coming in under your doors, use door snakes or rolled up towels to keep the air from coming in. Another, more permanent, option is installing weatherstripping around the door.
  8. Clean your refrigerator. Cleaning the coils on the back of your refrigerator every so often keeps the appliance running optimally. (How to)

What have you implemented in your rented apartment or home to help conserve energy?

Tips For An Easy Move

  1. Don’t move anything you don’t love. I’m sure it’s happened in the past – you open a box at your new home and wonder “Why the heck did I move this?” As soon as you know you’re moving, begin looking around your current home with a critical eye. Ask “Do I love this? Does it make me smile? Do I have more of this than I need?” This applies to clothing and shoes also. Fewer items to move means a faster (and quite possibly cheaper) moving experience.
  2. Measure the spaces in your new home before buying any new furniture or if you’re not sure your current furniture will fit. Especially if you are moving into an older home, be sure to take into account the width of the doorways and any tight corners that may make furniture moving a challenge.
  3. Beware of being too lax about moving if you’re “just moving across town.” I’ve been there – it doesn’t seem worth it to bother actually packing things up. Believe me, when you start to toss loose items or plastic bags full of your stuff into your vehicle, you’re just creating a larger mess to deal with on the other end (unless you’re ultra organized and putting things directly where they go as soon as you walk in the door at your new place!) Take the time to properly pack things in boxes and you won’t feel overwhelmed when wading through piles of your things at your new home. Boxes stack. Most loose things do not.
  4. Create a box (or two) of items that you will need just before you leave and immediately at your new home. Make sure this box is the last thing loaded and the first thing off. Things to include:
    – Cleaning supplies, including a trash bag or two
    – Rubber gloves
    – Paper towels and/or rags
    – Basic kitchen utensils (skillet, pot, spatula, sharp knife, dishwashing liquid, a dish towel)
    – Paper plates, napkins, plastic glasses and plastic ware (so you can still eat in if you don’t find or unpack your kitchen boxes right away)
    – A toiletry bag full of your basic bathroom items. Trust me, you do not want to be rummaging through boxes for your toothbrush at 2am after a long day of moving!
    – Sheets and blankets for each of the beds and an alarm clock
    – Toilet paper and hand soap for the bathroom
  5. Ask around for extra boxes before you purchase them. Chances are, someone you know (or someone they know!) has recently moved and will be happy to give them to you. In fact, keep the moving karma going and let people know you have boxes to give away when you’re done with them.
  6. Start packing as soon as you can. If you have room, designate an out-of-the-way space for packed boxes, both at your old place and your new one. If you have to delay unpacking at your new home, having the boxes mostly out of sight will minimize clutter and lessen the post-move stress.
  7. Mark room destination on top and box contents on all sides and the top with a Sharpie. This may seem like extra work, but if you have people helping you move, finding your boxes in their proper destination (and being able to see what’s inside no matter which side is facing out) will make your life so much easier. Regular pens aren’t dark enough to be seen from a distance, so using a Sharpie or similar marker matters. Packing an entire house or large apartment? Go ahead and pre-print sheets of file-folder sized labels with the destination rooms so you only have to slap a label on the top and write the contents. If someone is helping you pack, make sure they’re doing the same – especially if they’re mixing rooms in a single box.
  8. Tips for packing your boxes:
    – Lay plates and glass (like picture frames) on end instead of stacking them flat. They are less likely to break, but you’ll still need to be careful.
    – Pack boxes solid, even if you have to fill with packing paper or some other filler. The boxes will be less likely to crumple and either create a box avalanche or crush the contents inside.
    – If you have a lot of books, find or purchase the letter-sized banker’s boxes available from office supply stores. Even if you pack the box full of nothing but books, they won’t be too heavy to lift. (Better yet, pack partway with books and partway with other light items.)
    – Wrap breakable items in extra towels and linens to cut down on the amount of packing paper or bubble wrap that you have to purchase.
Those are our top moving tips – what are yours?