Winter brings cold temperatures and higher apartment heating bills. Whether your apartment utilities are included in the rent or you pay for them yourself, there are a few things you can do to cut costs and keep your bills stable.
Check that radiators and duct-connected vents are not blocked by furniture such as couches, beds or credenzas. You can also buy heat-resistant reflector sheets for your radiators to redirect the warmth into the room instead of up the wall.
1. Turn down the Thermostat
One of the easiest ways to lower your apartment’s heating costs is to turn down the thermostat. The U.S. Energy Department notes that turning down the temperature by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day can save up to 10% a year on your energy bill. This savings can be even more substantial in warmer climates.
In addition to lowering the thermostat, use ceiling fans in reverse on low settings to trap warm air in rooms with high ceilings. These simple steps can save pennies a week and help your landlord reduce energy bills, as well.
If the apartment has a wood-burning fireplace, close the damper when you aren’t using it. Opening it lets heat escape and wastes money.
Another way to save on heating costs is to use space heaters in rooms you occupy often. This prevents your landlord from using too much power to warm the entire apartment, and it also allows you to control the temperature in rooms that are rarely used.
Consider a programmable smart thermostat that adjusts automatically to fit your lifestyle. A 10-degree setback overnight cuts your apartment’s heating costs by up to 10%, and a programmable thermostat can help you remember to lower the temperature when you go to work or sleep.
If your apartment is older and has open-concept floor plans, consider adding a room divider or rearranging furniture to create wall boundaries between spaces. Converted warehouses, lofts and older apartments with tall, cathedral-style ceilings can have a harder time dispersing heat evenly throughout the whole space, which may increase your heating bills. If you live in an old building, ask your landlord about upgrading the heating system and thermostat.
2. Seal the Windows
If air is leaking out of your windows, your heating and cooling systems will have to work extra hard to keep up with your apartment’s heat demands. Sealing these gaps will lower energy costs by allowing your systems to operate more efficiently.
A little bit of caulking can do wonders when it comes to sealing leaky windows. The trick to doing this correctly is ensuring that the caulk you’re using doesn’t allow moisture into the apartment. If the caulk is letting moisture in, you’ll need to use a different kind of sealant or fill the gap with insulation.
You can also purchase and use thermal curtains to prevent hot air from escaping your window during the day. These thick curtains are available at department stores and they work as a thermal barrier to help your home retain warm air.
If your apartment has a forced air heating system, it’s important to regulate airflow as much as possible. This will help your heating system work more efficiently by ensuring that warmer air is circulated throughout your apartment and that your rooms don’t get too hot. To do this, you should place heat-resistant reflectors behind your radiators and on the adjacent walls. These will redirect warmth away from the wall and into the room, reducing heat loss by up to 20%.
It’s also a good idea to reach out to your landlord about getting an HVAC inspection before winter hits. This will ensure that your unit is in tip-top shape, which is key to saving on heating costs this season. They may even offer some tips on lowering your bill and keeping your apartment’s temperature in check throughout the winter.
3. Close the Curtains
Many people don’t realize that they lose a great deal of heating through their windows. This is why it’s important to seal your windows. There are several sealants available that you can purchase at most hardware stores. If you don’t want to invest in a sealant, you can also use weather tape. It’s inexpensive and works just as well as the more expensive products.
Another way to save money on your heating bill is to close your curtains at night. This will help to trap in the heat that you have accumulated throughout the day and prevent it from escaping. This is especially important for south-facing windows, as they tend to be the biggest culprits of heating loss.
Using thick curtains can also help to keep the heat in your apartment during the winter. You can even buy thermal curtains to add an extra layer of insulation. These heavy curtains are designed to keep the heat in your home, and they can be purchased at most department stores and online.
In addition to closing the curtains, you can also save on your heating costs by adding a rug to your floor. This will provide an additional layer of insulation and prevent heat from escaping through the floor.
Finally, if you have any leaky faucets, it’s important to fix them as soon as possible. A leaky faucet can lead to a lot of water waste, and it will cost you more money on your utility bill in the long run. In addition, you can try installing a low-flow showerhead to limit water waste.
4. Rearrange the Furniture
Using warm accessories to help keep your apartment cozy is one of the most effective ways to cut heating costs in the winter. Flannel sheets, rugs, and insulated curtains will all help your apartment stay warm without skyrocketing your energy bill. You can even tuck a rolled up blanket at the base of your door to keep cold drafts out and hot air in.
It’s important to remember that you can make your apartment more energy efficient by making simple changes, rather than investing in a full-scale remodel. Many apartments advertise “heat included” in their rental price, but this is often based on previous years’ bill totals and may not reflect the actual cost of heating your apartment in a given year.
One of the most obvious ways to reduce your energy bills is by rearranging the furniture. It’s common to put chairs, sofas and beds in front of radiators or air vents, but this can cause your heating system to work harder than it needs to. By moving the furniture away from the vents and radiators, your home can get the most out of its heating.
Another way to cut your heating costs is by closing off rooms that you don’t use. Keeping the doors open to unused rooms will force your heating system to work overtime, increasing your energy bill. You can also tuck a rolled up towel at the bottom of the door to block drafts.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to change your filter regularly. A dirty filter will make your heater work much harder to heat your apartment, causing your utility bills to rise. Additionally, if you have any leaky faucets or pipes, you can reduce your water usage by replacing them with more efficient fixtures. This will save you thousands of gallons each year that your landlord is paying for, while also protecting the environment.
5. Turn Off the Lights
Turning off the lights in rooms you’re not using is a simple, low-cost, energy-saving habit that can help with heating costs. Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use, too. Items like cell phone chargers and power strips can eat up electricity even when they’re turned off. These items are often referred to as vampire devices and can drain your apartment’s energy supplies, costing you money on your utility bill.
Although many people rely on utilities such as water and electricity to make their apartment comfortable, not all of them take the necessary steps to save on energy bills. Apartment residents have a unique set of challenges when it comes to lowering utility costs since they may not be able to install the types of energy efficiency innovations that are becoming popular with homeowners.
Fortunately, there are many things apartment dwellers can do to cut their heating bills. From managing the thermostat to bringing in extra rugs, these tips can make all the difference.
One of the most basic and effective ways to cut heating costs in an apartment is to keep the curtains closed. Opening the curtains during the day allows sunlight to enter a room, naturally warming it and cutting heating costs. Then, closing the curtains at night can trap in the warm air accumulated throughout the day.
Additionally, if your apartment has windows with cracks and gaps in them, these should be sealed to reduce heat loss. There are a number of window sealants available on the market, or you can simply apply weather tape to your windows’ frames. Also, check your outlets to see if cold drafts are coming in through the holes. If they are, you can purchase inexpensive plastic plugs called gaskets that easily fit into outlets to stop the drafts.