With winter weather in full swing, now is a time many anxiously worry about the slow creeping of increased energy costs.
With cold weather here to stay for a while your tenants might be noticing a spike in their heating or electric bill. Stand out to your renters and make a great impression as a landlord or manager who cares about your tenants, by helping them troubleshoot some common energy drains. Share these tips with your tenants to ensure that everyone stays warm and saves funds this season, and don’t forget to check out the ways you can help ensure that you have a winter-ready rental property.
If you are a renter in need of some tips to keep your home or apartment warm, without breaking the bank– or you simply want some energy-efficient ideas that you can use all year round, look no further.
STAY WARM AND SAVE MONEY WITH THESE EFFICIENT HEATING TIPS FOR COLD WEATHER
TURN DOWN THE TEMPERATURE
Experts recommend setting your thermostat to 68 degrees, noting that for every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up 5 percent on heating costs. While this trick won’t necessarily warm you up, but you can ensure that you are saving energy when you don’t need that extra heat. For sleeping hours or when leaving the home, setting the thermostat down to 55 degrees or off for an extended time, saving 5-20 percent of your heating costs.
CHANGE YOUR HVAC FILTERS
Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Changing the air filters at least every three months can save your renters 4 to 6 percent on heating costs. If you have a pet or a particularly dusty environment, changing filters every month is recommended. This tip will help not only help you save money, but it will prolong the life of the furnace. Many leases require that renters do this simple tenant maintenance task, meaning not changing your filters could leave you paying for repair costs due to negligence and unnecessary wear and tear.
GET WINTERTIME CURTAINS
According to AARP, insulated curtains or window quilts, can reduce an estimated 25 percent of an older home’s heating costs associated with window heat loss. Even regular curtains made from a heavy fabric can reduce heating costs; Energy.gov recommends hanging curtains as close to windows as possible and letting them fall to the floor for maximum effectiveness.
KEEP YOUR CHIMNEY CLOSED
For homes with a fireplace, remind your tenants to keep the damper closed when not in use. Another solution to keep the cold air out and the warm air from escaping up the chimney when a fireplace is not in use is a chimney balloon. These inflatable devices claim to decrease heat loss more than just closing the damper and sell for around 50 dollars.
USE YOUR FAN YEAR-ROUND
While ceiling fans are excellent tools for staying cool in the summer, they can be adjusted to help you keep warm in the winter. Many fan models have a switch that allows blades to spin clockwise, which will push warm air that rose to the ceiling back down into the room.
HEATED MATTRESS PAD OR ELECTRIC BLANKET
If your landlord allows the use of electric blankets or mattress pads, this simple trick can help you stay warmer at night while keeping overall heating costs down. Instead of heating an entire house during the late-night hours, a renter who keeps the thermostat programmed at 55 degrees or lower, can stay warm with an electric blanket or mattress. According to Go Green In Your Home, a 90watt electric blanket used for 8 hours a day will cost your renters only $2.20/month.
WINTER HEATING EFFICIENCY TIPS FOR RENTAL OWNERS
To truly go above and beyond for your tenants to keep them warm this season and help lower their heating bills, consider these updates to improve the insulation of your property from Energy.gov.
- Seal Up Any Cracks: Install weather-stripping or caulk leaky doors and windows which can save up to 10 percent on energy costs.
- Install a Smart or Programmable Thermostat: If your property has a heat pump, select a model designed for heat pumps. Programmable thermostats help regulate the interior temperature for your tenants. Set-back thermostats can save up to 15 percent on energy costs.
- Increase Ceiling insulation: If your ceiling is insulated or scantily insulated, consider increasing your insulation to up to R-38 to reduce heating costs by 5-25 percent.
- Seal Ducts: Leaking ductwork accounts for more than 25 top 30 percent of heating costs in an average California home. Consider hiring a contractor to test the tightness of your ducts and repair leaks and restrictions in your duct.
- High-Efficiency Windows: If you are planning to replace your windows, choosing ENERGY STAR windows can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15 percent.
- Check Your Furnace: Servicing your property’s furnace can help it run more efficiently for your tenants and will prolong the life of the appliance.
Printing a flyer or emailing a newsletter with helpful tips can also be a valuable way to connect with your tenants and remind them about helpful advice or clever tips throughout the year. Consider setting a calendar reminder within your property management software to send out reminders seasonally to your tenants. This can ensure that your tenants get additional helpful advice and even take better care of the property during their tenancy.