Gas bills in an apartment can be very frustrating because you have no control over many of the factors that impact your bill. You can’t, for example, just go out and buy a more efficient water heater or furnace. And you probably can’t shop around for a more competitive gas provider.
At the same time, there are ways you can be creative and frugal to save a little each month on that gas bill.
Here’s a list of tried-and-true ways that you can lower your gas bill in an apartment:
- Turn Back The Furnace Thermostat
- Seal air leaks
- Make use of natural sunlight
- Request to have your furnace serviced
- Wash Clothes In Cold Water
- Dry Clothes Less and Hang
- Make sure vents are open
- Clean or replace filters
- Look into automatic payment price reduction options
Let’s take a brief look at each of these and how they may be useful in helping you to save money each month on your apartment’s gas bill.
First Things First: Take Inventory!
Before we begin looking for places to save money on your gas bill, let’s first take account of what appliances in your apartment use gas. Here are the most likely possiblities:
- Water Heater
- Oven and Stove
Your washing machine uses hot water but likely pulls that water from your water heater. Your dishwasher should have a heating element and that is likely electric but it also uses hot water. So for our purposes let’s focus on cutting back on gas use from the big four. We’ll also explore ways to make sure that the energy you are using from gas is not wasted.
Turn Back The Furnace Thermostat
Keeping your apartment slightly cool instead of warm during the winter can result in savings on your monthly gas bill. Don’t suffer but ease it back a couple of degrees. My wife and I made it habit of cozying up in bed under the covers and watching TV during the winter months when we lived in an apartment. Save a little each month here and let it add up.
When you are leaving for work, by all means, turn back the heat! You can save a significant amount of money each month by getting in this habit. Reducing the amount of gas used to keep the apartment warm and cozy when you aren’t even there not only makes sense, it saves money.
Bonus Tip: If your apartment has a programmable thermostat you can take advantage of scheduling your energy usage. Reduce costs when you are away. Read this guide from Energy Star.
Seal Air Leaks
Depending on the situation, this may require approval or servicing by your maintenance manager.
Windows and doors allow a lot of cold air in during the winter if they are not properly insulated and air sealed.
Weatherstripping around external doors makes a huge difference in the temperatures in an apartment. It stops all of that cold air from coming in. Also, don’t forget to check for air leakage under the door.
If there is visible evidence of air space around the windows themselves or the framing, that needs to be sealed. The framing should be sealed with caulk and the windows themselves can be sealed using inexpensive window weatherstripping. It only takes a few minutes to install and can make a big difference.
One more thing you can do is apply an insulation film to the windows. These are clear sheets can be cut to size and sealed to the inside of the window by applying heat with a hairdryer. You don’t even notice its there when looking at it but it helps to hold the warm air in and keep that cold air out.
For further details on air-sealing windows, read Drafty Windows In Apartment? Do This And Save Money!
Make Use of Natural Sunlight
If it is dreary outside, close the curtains to keep as much cold air out as possible. If the sun is shining, however, you may be able to open them up and let the sunshine help warm the apartment. You get the bonus of saving a little on electrical costs too by not needing to turn on lights in the apartment.
Request To Have Your Furnace Serviced
If you have any reason to believe that your mechanical systems are not operating properly and efficiently, request they be checked and serviced. That is your right as an apartment renter. Do should not be expected to pay exorbitant energy costs due to faulty equipment.
This goes for any appliance or serviceable area of your apartment. If you believe that there is a problem, have the maintenance person check it out. Mechanical systems that are serviced regularly tend to run more efficiently and that means they do their job with less energy use.
Wash Clothes In Cold Water
Heating water takes energy. In fact, Energy Star reports that heating the water is where 90% of the energy use goes when washing clothes. If your water heater is a gas system, here’s an easy and effective way to save money.
Most of us are conditioning into thinking that we need to use hot water to effectively clean our clothes. The truth, however, is that not only does cold water work just fine, but it’s also actually easier on the materials in your clothing. Not only that, Consumer Reports discovered that laundry detergents are actually more effective in cold water.
Don’t over look this. It’s a simple way to save money.
Dry Clothes Less and Hang
This tip saved my wife and I a surprising amount on our gas bill when we lived in an apartment.
If your Dryer is a gas appliance, this will save you quite a bit. A clothes dryer is the largest energy consumption household appliance in a home, according to the Department of Energy.
The strategy here is simple. Instead of drying clothes until they are fully dry, run them through the dryer just long enough to keep water from dripping off them and then hang them up. They shouldn’t be hung wet but if they are partially dry they will air dry just fine. You will be surprised just how big of a difference this makes.
We started this years ago and still do it. We hang the clothes in the utility room and run the ceiling fan to help them dry. Works perfectly and saves money!
Only Use Dishwasher For Full Loads
The goal here is to wash more at a time and wash less often. If you are in the habit of turning on the dishwasher for partial loads, you can reduce the gas used by this appliance easily.
Just wait until the dishwasher is full before turning it on. It takes the same amount of hot water to was a full load as it does a partial load.
Bonus Tip: You can also save money on your electric bill by adjusting usage patterns of your dishwasher. See this article for details.
Make Sure Vents Are Open
Contrary to popular belief, it is not more energy efficient to close off vents. Your central air and heat system is designed to heat and cool
Make sure past tenants didn’t close these off. Go through the apartment and ensure that all vents are completely open.
If you only want to heat part of your apartment, consider an energy efficient space heater like this one on Amazon. You could likely turn the furnace back quite a bit at night and just heat your bedroom with this to really save on gas costs.
Clean Or Replace Filters
This one gets overlooked so often. Don’t skim over this just because you’ve seen it before. It can really make a difference!
Gas furnaces and gas dryers have filters to catch impurities, right? Well, when those impurities add up over time they can actually restrict the movement of air through the filter. This means that your appliance has to work much harder to do the same amount of work.
So your dryer takes longer to dry clothes, your furnace takes longer to heat the apartment, and all of that extra time adds up to more money spent on your monthly gas bill.
Take a moment right now and make certain that those filters are clean. If they need replaced, replace them. The cost of a filter will quickly be recouped in energy savings. And don’t forget to set a monthly calendar reminder to check these in the future.
Bonus: You also stand to reduce allergy problems by replacing your furnace filter frequently as outlined in this report from the Department of Energy.
Automatic Payment Price Reductions
This one may or not be available to you, but it’s worth checking with your gas company to find out.
Some energy providers will allow deductions on your monthly bill just for signing up for automatic payment with your credit card or through automatic bank debit. They get the assurance that they will get paid and in return offer you a small discount each month. It will likely only be a few percent savings, but why not take it if it’s available.
Note: There are caveats to setting up auto payment for utility bills as this article from Kiplinger explains. Make sure it works for your situation.
Small savings add up. Each of these tips offer at least a small amount of savings on your gas bill. Once you begin combining them though, you stand to save a significant amount.
Take the steps today to begin saving on your apartment’s monthly gas bill and see just how much you can save. I’m willing to bet that if you are diligent and really put these tips into action, you stand to save more than you may realize.
Now that you have a firm grasp of how to cut your gas bill, let’s take your energy savings to the next level! Read Save Money On Your Water Bill In An Apartment Or Dorm.