I have been reminded recently of the frustrations that apartment owners deal with when it comes to high utility bills since my daughter moved into an apartment complex. Rather than feeling helpless, we have to take a look at what the primary causes of high electricity bills are and what we can do about it.
There are four main causes of a high electricity bill in an apartment:
- Age and Condition of Major Appliances
- Poor Insulation and Air-Sealing
- Utility Rate Increases
- Energy Usage and Waste Patterns
While you may not have complete control over all of these factors, there are certain things you can do to ensure more efficient energy use within your apartment.
Let’s have a look at each of these and see what steps we can take to reduce your apartment electric bill.
Age and Condition of Major Appliances
Unless the apartment complex you live in is relatively new, chances are you are dependent on an older, less efficient appliances. While upgrades may be out of the question, there are some specific actions you can take to ensure that the appliances are running as efficiently as possible.
Central Air And Heat
An HVAC system is responsible for a large portion of the energy use in an apartment. According to Energy Star, about 43% of a household’s energy use goes directly to heating and cooling (source). This is an excellent place to begin your energy savings quest. Here are a few things that you can do to offset those high electric bills in your apartment.
Replace Air Filters Every Single Month
It’s easy to take this for granted but the truth is, running your central air system with dirty filters costs more money. Dirty air filters result in reduced air flow. This means your apartment does not heat or cool as quickly, resulting in the system working harder and longer.
Set a calendar reminder on your phone right now to change your air filter every single month. You can order replacement filters directly from Amazon and have them shipped right to you.
Have your HVAC System Serviced Annually
You will incur a cost to have a professional service your HVAC system, but you will more than likely save more in electricity costs each year than the cost to keep the system running efficiently.
Condenser, evaporator coils, and fan motors need to be cleaned and maintained. Refrigerant levels need to be checked. These type of system quality maintenance checks will ensure that the system is running as efficiently as possible.
Check with the apartment owner to find out if their maintenance department handles this or if it is hired out. Either way, make sure that these service checks are performed annually.
Keep Vents Open
There is a myth that closing vents in a house or apartment will save energy. The idea seems to make sense on the surface. Close the vents in unused rooms and reduce the amount of heating or cooling needed.
But it doesn’t work.
Central heating and cooling systems are designed to control temperatures in specific square footage. Closing vents can actually result in higher electricity bills!
Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air’s website has an excellent article detailing this if you’d like to read more on it but the bottom line is this: don’t close vents.
For simple ideas on saving money on your electric bill read 20 Tips To Reduce Your Electric Bill – #16 Is Amazing!
Poor Insulation and Air-Sealing
There’s very little that you can do about the insulation in the walls and ceiling of your apartment, but two excellent places to reduce air-infiltration and energy loss is your windows and door.
This article outlines the process for properly air-sealing your windows. It’s a simple process but taking the time to do this can significantly improve the energy efficiency of your apartment.
Your door should be checked for proper weatherstripping. If there is evidence of deterioration or missing weatherstripping, contact maintenance and find out if they will fix it. If not, you can get weatherstripping very inexpensively on Amazon at this link.
Utility Rate Increases
If you have noticed a sudden increase in your electric bill, it is possible that your utility company has raised its rates. Compare rates on previous bills to your current one. If you do notice an increase, contact the utility company to find out if there are any special offers available.
If not, ask if they offer off-peak rates. These rates are usually less expensive rates that are offered throughout the night when fewer people are consuming electricity. If the utility company does offer off-peak rates, read strategy number two in my article Why Is My Electric Bill So High? Here’s The Answer!
Energy Use And Waste Patterns
The one area where we have the most influence over our electric bill is in how we consume energy. Energy is wasted is so many ways and we often overlook the opportunities to simply consume smarter.
One of the simplest ways to reduce your electric bill is to get control of phantom energy. This is energy that is wasted by electronic devices that consume energy when not in use. Take the time to really understand the impact of phantom energy’s impact and what you can do to reduce it by reading Phantom Energy: Facts, Examples, And Real Solutions!
There’s no magic bullet to reducing the electric bill in your apartment. The solution is a combination of reducing the amount of energy consumed and increasing the efficiency of your apartment. With a little effort, however, you really can reduce the electric bill in your apartment.
The following articles will help you to learn more about saving money on energy costs: