5 Ways Renters Can Cut Utility Costs

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When renting a home, it may feel like your options are limited as to what you can do to keep utility bills low. However, here are a few tips that can help make your home feel a little less expensive every month.

1. Keep Your Utility Devices Clean and Unobstructed

A homeowner checking the air filter in a vent.

Even though you may not own your apartment, you can do some basic maintenance to make sure that your utilities aren’t working harder than they have to. One such project is to make sure that things like your heater or your air conditioning units are clean of dirt and grime. Another important task is to clean out the filters of your devices. This will keep your utility bills low and keep your unit from working harder than it has to.

Another important thing is to make sure that the vents where you're renting are unobstructed. To do this, you obviously have to locate where your vents are. Some are on the floor, some are on the bottom of walls, and some may be near the ceiling. Wherever they are, make sure they're unobstructed. Pieces of furniture, rugs, and artwork that even partially block a vent can not only be wasting your money, but can also be a hazard. So make sure that everything leaves a clear path for either your heat or your air conditioning.

2. Find Energy Efficient Options

When renting a place to live, you usually don’t get to choose what kind of appliances are in the home. However, if you're planning on taking something like a refrigerator, washer/dryer, or dishwasher into your rental, try to choose the most energy-efficient option you can. Using appliances that are energy-efficient not only helps the environment, but keeps money in your pocket when the utility bill comes due. Choosing to use the dishwasher and washing machine on different days can also help keep your energy (and water) use low.

3. Keep Electronics Off Unless Needed

A laptop open on a desk surrounded by a coffee cup and a smartphone.

Another thing that can keep the bills down is to refrain from running multiple appliances and energy-sucking electronics at the same time. If you're running the dishwasher, don't also take a shower and run the laundry at the time. Leave windows open when the weather is nice so that your home can be naturally temperate.Turn off lights in the rooms or areas of the house you're not using. (To really take this idea to the next level, spend a couple evenings a week by candlelight!)

It's important to note that most newer televisions and computers use less energy when they stay on rather than when they're repeatedly turned off and on. So in most cases, it’s better to leave your computer on rather than turn it off.

4. Use Tech to Keep Costs Low

A great way to monitor your utility usage is with technology that keeps you from wasting time and money. A digital thermometer will let you know when your food is done so you don’t overcook it and therefore waste energy. If it's approved by the building owner, install a programmable thermostat that can help reduce your energy bills by up to 30 percent.

5. Control the Flow of Your Water

A landscape design of succulents and white rocks.

Water flow is an important utility in any home, so making sure that you're in control of it is an important part of lowering your utility bills. One way you can do this while not disrupting anything major in the home is to install a low-flow shower head in your bathroom. You can also place a brick in your toilet tank to displace the normal amount of water used there. Outside, replace the lawn with drought-tolerant plants if your landlord approves of the change.