Everyone wants to be able to save as much as possible on their utility bills, naturally the less you pay for utilities the more money you have for other expenses or savings on a monthly basis. People who rent often feel that they are paying for more than their fair share of utilities, so I read an article on Reddit recently which gave some very valuable tips on what to ask about before signing your rental agreement, some of which are listed below.
- Included utilities – some landlords will include some of the utilities into your monthly rental, if you can find a property where your monthly rental includes your electricity, gas or water then you will be saving a little already.
- Average Utility costs – utility companies should be able to provide you with an estimate bill based on the previous tenant’s usage, make sure that when you inquire with the utility company that they are taking into consideration any time period where the property stood vacant.
- Windows & Doors – Check that the windows and doors do not look like they fell off the first production line of windows and doors. Ancient windows often have leaks where cold air will fly in during the winter months and your air conditioning will have to work harder to keep the rooms cool enough during the summer months. Although doors do not have as much area for air leakages it can still be a huge problem if your doors are warped causing large gaps where air can enter or escape.
- Light Exposure – Consider your lifestyle and where your windows are situated. If you spend a lot of time out of the house then you might not worry about how your home is naturally heated up during the day, but if you spend time at home then you do not want to walk in on a hot summer afternoon and feel like you have just walked into a boiler room! West facing windows attract more heat during the summer months.
- Insulated Units – Where you want your apartment to be located is personal choice, but for cheaper utility bills the best place to be is in the middle of the block! Apartments that have another apartment on either side, above and below spend less money on heating because the adjacent apartments heating will heat up your apartment too. The same works for air conditioning. Windows that are well fitting and have double pane glass also help to keep the desired temperature consistent.
- Multiple Thermostats – An apartment that has multiple thermostats makes it easier for you to control your heating bill, as you can turn off the heat in rooms that are not being used. Apartments where there is one thermostat for the whole apartment can become expensive as you have the whole area to heat, including rooms that are not being used. Try closing the doors of rooms that are not being used to minimize the area that needs to be heated.
- Dryer Usage – Although it might sound out dated in today’s age of technology, the use of a clothes line means that you are saving a large amount on your electricity bill! Whenever possible (when it is not raining or snowing) hang your clothing on the clothes line to be air dried! If you still want to save money but do not have a clothes line you can also buy a portable clothes hanger which works the same way and is perfect for indoor use.
- Toilet Tip – To save some money on your water bill, place a plastic 2 liter bottle filled with air into the tank of the toilet, this makes your toilet a low – flow toilet and saves you money.
- Appliances – Properties that come with a stove or refrigerator are great, just check that the refrigerator is not out dated, also move the refrigerator away from the wall and wipe off or blow the accumulated dust off the coils to ensure that the refrigerator is able to do its job as energy efficiently as possible. Stoves that look like they are about to fall apart could also be huge energy guzzlers so try to use crock pots or microwaves more often.
With the above tips you should be able to cut down on your current utility bill and ensure that the next place you rent works out cheaper for you, with each penny you save on the utility bill you have managed to make your monthly income stretch a little further!