Winter isn’t too far away, and with a new season comes new threats to your bank account in the form of expensive utilities, especially as a rental property owner.
While you won’t spend as much money on air conditioning as you do in the summer, you’ll end up replacing those costs with heating – which can be just as expensive. Plus, people tend to spend more time indoors during the winter, including your renters, which further increases the cost of electricity for your home.
Here are a few winter energy-saving tips you can share with your tenants to help you save on utilities this winter, or them, depending on who covers what.
Summers are not the only expensive months when it comes to utilities. Following some winter energy-saving tips, you can help to save this winter. Some popular options include:
With the turn of the season, you can anticipate a hike in your energy bills. Thankfully, here are a few tips to help cut some costs.
One of the more common ways to help with your energy consumption is by making sure to turn off any unnecessary lights throughout your home. You can save $15 over a year by turning off two 100-watt incandescent light bulbs for an extra two hours per day. If you’re looking for even further savings, consider switching out as many bulbs, if not all, in your home for LED alternatives.
Another quick and easy solution to help you save some money this winter is to unplug unused electronics. Similarly to turning off unnecessary lights, this can help save money over time. Many homeowners, and renters, are not aware, but standby power can account for up to 10% of your home’s annual electricity use. You can save $50 per year unplugging unused electronics.
One way to help heat your home naturally is to take advantage of Mother Nature. On sunny days, open your blinds and curtains. Let the sun’s rays come into your home. You’ll help warm your home for free if you take advantage of natural heating.
No one likes to hear it, but lowering your thermostat in the winter can save you a good amount of money on your heating bill. According to the Department of Energy, lowering your temperature by 10-15 degrees for eight hours can save 5% to 15% on your bill – which equals hundreds per year, not just in the wintertime.
If you have a programmable thermostat, the savings can be more easily obtained because you can program the temperature at a certain level for certain times of the day.
Contrary to what you may have heard, closing your doors can increase your utility bills by making it more difficult for air to flow through the house – which eventually pulls in outside air. Keep your doors open if you can, or see if you can install transfer grills in your entries.
While everyone knows that fans are a great addition to help keep you cool in the summer, not everyone knows that you can also use them to help keep you warm in winter. Typically, a ceiling fan rotates counterclockwise, which pushes air down and creates a chilling effect.
Most ceiling fans, though, have a reverse switch that will move the rotation clockwise. This opposite direction of airflow produces an updraft helping to push warm air that tends to stay closer to your ceiling. You can also use ceiling fans to transfer heat that radiates from your heating source throughout the room, much like they do in the summer with air conditioning.
Today, many cities across the country offer energy audits for free or at a minimal cost. If your city provides this service, you should be sure to take advantage of it right away. An energy audit will help to identify areas around your home that you might have potential saving opportunities. You can also try chatting with your local utility provider to see if they have tips and tricks that are more specific to your local area.
If you tend to stay in one area for most of the time in your home, space heaters can be a great alternative to heating your entire home. Electric space heaters are a much more efficient way to heat a small area of your home because no heat is lost in the process through combustion or ducting.
Consider using space heaters for closed-off areas of your home, such as a bathroom or garage. If you need to heat your entire home, make sure to utilize your natural gas furnace or heat pump heating option and save the space heater for another day.
These days you can get smart just about anything around your home. Not surprisingly, a thermostat is on the list of smart items to help improve your home. Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi-enabled devices that will automatically adjust your home’s temperature to help maximize your energy efficiency.
Essentially, smart thermostats will begin learning your habits and design a schedule that will adjust accordingly. Best of all, this schedule will have energy-saving temperatures in lull times, such as while you are sleeping or not in the home.
It’s important to note that some state and county governments also want to help incentivize homeowners to move towards smart thermostats and offer rebates. If you consider changing over to a smart thermostat, you’ll want to check to see what additional savings you might be eligible for.
Energy-saving tips don’t always have to be complicated or expensive changes to your home. With the help of this list, you can make some slight changes or advise your renters to do so to help make your winter utility bill a little bit more affordable this year.
Matthew is the CEO of Evernest. He is a student of the book Good to Great and is passionate about building the best property management company on the planet (and maybe even the universe if Elon Musk will hurry up). You can usually find Matthew at the baseball field with his son, at a dance recital with his daughter, or at his favorite restaurant with his wife, when he’s not in the office. And if you can’t find him in any of those places, it probably means he’s traveling.