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If you live in a rental unit, you may find that when it comes to energy usage, you’re stuck with high costs. Because you don’t own the dwelling where you reside, you likely can’t swap out large appliances, such as a stove or refrigerator, for more energy-efficient options. In some cases, you may not even have access to water settings or temperature controls. Before you know it, your energy bill arrives and high costs—and high anxiety—take over. Try these five renter-friendly fixes to decrease your energy usage and ultimately, lower those costly bills. 

  1. Swap Out Light Bulbs

Switching to LED or CFL light bulbs can help cut costs and save energy. If you swap each and every light bulb throughout your rental, you will likely see a pretty hefty impact. But even just a few lamps around your space can help. The best part? Instead of pouring money into swapping out the light bulbs in a rental, simply unscrew and take them with you when it comes time to move. 

  1. Seal Up Drafts

Air can easily seep through cracks in doors and windows throughout your rental. Thankfully, inexpensive options are available that can make a big difference. If you are handy, or know someone who is, consider sealing up casings with caulk or install renter-safe plastic coverings over windows that are especially drafty. For a more simple fix, use draft stoppers along the bottom of doors and windows to help keep your rental toasty in the cooler months.

  1. Utilize Ceiling Fans

If you’re lucky enough to have a rental equipped with ceiling fans, use them. With a counter-clockwise setting, fans circulate cool air and move warm air up towards the ceiling. For colder months, simply flick the switch on your fan to activate the clockwise setting, pushing the warmer air from above down towards the floor. For a warmer room, keep the rotation on a low-speed to avoid creating an unwanted breeze.

  1. Close or Open Curtains

Whether you have thick, light-blocking curtains or light and airy window treatments, this home decor feature can truly affect your utility bills. In colder months, open up your curtains to let in sunlight. This is a natural and often visually appealing way to let in warmth. In warmer months, keep your curtains closed to avoid letting in the warmth from the sun and keep in your cool air. However, when spring and summer are in full effect, opening up your curtains and windows at night can allow for lower A/C costs and a breath of fresh air.

  1. Unplug Electronics

Though it may not seem like it, small electronics and appliances can be the biggest drain on your energy bill, even when they aren’t in use. Encourage your family, and yourself, to develop a habit of unplugging these items once you are done using them. This even includes leaving a charging wire plugged into the outlet without it being connected to a device. For a simple and easy-to-remember strategy, utilize power strips that can be turned off with a quick flip of a switch.