In the summer, your A/C makes 90- and 100-degree weather bearable, and in the winter, thanks to your heating, there’s no need to walk around your apartment wearing woolens and gloves to keep from freezing. But your astronomical bill during the height of these seasons must have alerted you to the fact that HVAC usage “ain’t cheap”. What can be done? You are not about to sacrifice either your toasty warm gas or electric heat, and your delightful a/c.
Here’s the good news: you can keep ‘em both and STILL adhere to your shoestring budget with a little corner-cutting here and there. Let’s explore a few money-saving tips :
In the wintertime:
1. First, ascertain whether your apartment is heated by gas or electric. Electric has been estimated to cost at least four times as much as gas. This will help you gauge how serious you have to get about cutting corners by turning up your thermostat, sealing off gaps around your door frames and keeping windows closed (after making sure you do open windows briefly to allow stale air to escape and fresh air in).
2. Ascertain whether you’re paying for the hot water, too. That’s often the second-largest part of your bill. If so, turn the cool tap water on as much as possible, or mix cold and hot water when running the faucet. Avoid letting the water run. Turn the faucet off immediately after using it. Check for, and have your landlord or landlady repair, drips.
3. Do you have a clothes dryer? Gas water heaters and clothes dryers cost half as much as electrically-powered ones. If you’re drying your clothes with an electric dryer, be especially sure to keep the lint trap completely clear of lint by cleaning it after each usage, so the dryer doesn’t have to work as hard.
4. In the wintertime, you don’t have to worry about mold or mildew as much as you do in the summer. Tale advantage of this by half-drying your clothes in the dryer and by hanging them up to dry the rest of the way in an area with a functioning, open heat vent overhead. The heat will blow hot air into the apartment, anyway; take advantage of it to finish drying your clothes. Also, turn a fan on and direct it towards your damp clothes.
5. Rather than turning on central heating, consider using a portable gas heater to warm up the room in which you and your animals will be spending time. For safety and economy’s sake, don’t forget to turn it off right before leaving that room.
6. Consider unplugging fixtures when you retire for the evening. Studies have shown that a small amount of electricity is still being transmitted once the device has been shut off.
7. Watch for open doors! When you’re turning up the thermostat in one room, if you have more than one thermostat, or are moving the portable heater from room to room, avoid draft, which causes heat to escape and keeps the HVAC unit pumping unnecessarily..which, in turn, is adding dollars and cents to your heating bill!
In the summertime:
1. Make sure you keep your thermostat at 75, or even higher, and set a stand-up fan a few feet from where you’re sitting or working. If you direct the fan at you, it’ll do a better job of cooling off the immediate vicinity. To cool off even more, freeze juice bottles full of water and position them around you. When the air flow hits, it targets the evaporating ice…sort-of like a wet-air cooler does.
2. Do you keep the tea kettle on when you’re home? Make sure the kitchen vent fan is working, to suck the hot air out.
3. You never know until you ask, so give this one a shot: ask your landlord or landlady to plant a few shrubs or small trees around the windows that let in the most sun. If they are agreeable to the idea, they’ll likely hire a landscaper to do it The upkeep will be up to you, most likely, but it’ll be worth it in cost savings—and in enhanced eye appeal.
4. Are you gone most of the day? Even if you’ve got pets whose comfort you need to see to, it’s perfectly acceptable to leave your thermostat at 80 to 82 while you’re out. As a matter of fact, do an experiment and pay close attention to whether you feel comfortably cool coming in from the outside, with the temps at that range, on a sweltering summer’s day. You may decide to leave the a/c at that temperature…and walk around in a t-shirt and shorts.
5. Need to cook or bake? Wait until the coolest part of the day, and then run that kitchen fan
6. Ever hear of sunscreens for windows? These are shades which provide energy savings, prevent too much sun from coming in the through the windows (or screen doors) and afford a measure of privacy. They’re removable, so you and your landlord or landlady might decide to take them down in the winter.
7. Finally, take advantage of the sunny days to air dry your clothes. Hanging your clothes on a line will make them smell sun-dried fresh, cut down on mold and mildew in the apartment, and save you money when you don’t run your dryer. Stay cool…and