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Using Energy Wisely as a Renter

Reducing electricity use as a renter may seem tough when you have little control over the biggest energy users in your place like your refrigerator, dishwasher or heating and cooling system.

But there’s still plenty you can do to lower your energy bill without making permanent—or expensive—changes. Follow these tips to reduce energy use in your rented space:

  • If your home has an individual water heater, call your landlord or property manager and ask to have the temperature lowered to 120 degrees. Most water heaters are set at a default temperature of 140 degrees—which can be hot enough to scald your skin. The lower setting will still be hot enough to keep your showers steamy.
  • Look for an ENERGY STAR-qualified window air conditioner if you are responsible for purchasing it. An ENERGY STAR A/C uses about 10% less energy than others. In the winter, cover your window A/C with a tight-fitting sleeve to prevent the heat from escaping, or remove the unit from the window.
  • While blinds offer privacy, hanging heavier curtains will help shield out the heat in the summertime. In the winter, tape clear plastic sheeting around window frames to help insulate older, single-pane windows.
  • Install sink aerators on all faucets. They are inexpensive and non-permanent, but can significantly reduce your hot water use while offering the same water pressure.
  • Replace incandescent lightbulbs with more efficient LEDs. They use far less energy than incandescents, and last up to 10 years—so you can take them with you when you move.
  • If the windows and doors are drafty, ask your landlord about installing weatherstripping to seal off cracks. It’s an easy do-it-yourself task and inexpensive, too—so even if your landlord won’t cover the cost, you can pay for it yourself to increase the comfort of your home and reduce your heating bills.