When you’re running a rental property business in Howard County, even the smallest savings can add up to a significant amount over time. That’s why it’s important for you to make sure that all of your rental properties are as energy-efficient as possible.
You might think that energy efficiency requires a lot of effort or a huge upfront investment, but fortunately, that’s not the case at all. Keep reading to discover 5 easy ways you can start lowering your utility costs.
How Landlords Can Reduce Utility Costs
1. Use energy-efficient light bulbs.
Lighting can tell you a lot about a room, just as it can affect your overall mood and sense of well-being.
If you choose to use dim, ancient-style lightbulbs that have barely evolved since the days of Edison, you won’t just affect your tenants – you’ll also suffer from higher utility costs.
Your best option to save money is to install halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps, and LEDs. While the initial cost of halogen incandescent bulbs may be higher than what you’d pay for the older alternative, they could last up to three times longer than traditional bulbs.
The new bulbs are also extremely versatile. LED lights, which can last an incredible 25 times longer than traditional bulbs, can be color and brightness controlled, offering you a variety of options for creating the perfect atmosphere for your outdoor lighting.
If you’re a landlord and want to establish the perfect mood lighting for the hallways or courtyards around your property, you could see a boost in profits and more positive tenant feedback.
At this point, there’s no excuse for using old incandescent light bulbs that put out more heat than they do light. So get with the times, and change your lights.
2. Install showerheads that save water.
While just about everyone knows that you can cut energy costs by choosing better light bulbs, not many people realize that they have the option to change their showerheads to save money. So, when you’re preparing a rental property for new tenants, switch to low-flow showerheads.
Low-flow showerheads use significantly less water than conventional showerheads, so it’s easy to understand how they can help you cut utility costs. The small upfront investment is worth the savings you’ll see on your water bill.
Some landlords may be hesitant to install them, assuming that low-flow showerheads will decrease the appeal of the property. After all, nobody likes weak water pressure in the shower! However, that’s actually not the case.
Because low-flow showerheads force water out fast, they provide the user with the same positive showering experience as a standard shower head.
3. Choose energy-efficient appliances.
While you may not be supplying all of the appliances your tenants will be using, the ones you do choose should be specifically chosen for their efficiency.
You want to look for appliances that have been rated high for energy savings and can be set to modes of maximum efficiency. For instance, hot water heaters can be set to a temperature of 120°F so they aren’t putting out unnecessary amounts of energy heating water to a scalding temperature.
The best appliances on the market are those that have received the ENERGY STAR rating. They can be up to 50 percent more efficient than standard appliances, meaning you’ll be saving bundles of cash in the long run. Not only that – you’ll make eco-conscious tenants happy to live in your property!
4. Lower heating and cooling costs.
Let’s say you want to save money on your utility bills, but for some reason they just keep climbing higher and higher as the year goes by. What could be causing this?
The likely answer: heating and cooling costs. Since heating and cooling properties makes up around 48 percent of the average utility bill, it’s important that you stay as modern as possible when it comes to your equipment and use every available strategy for increased efficiency.
Here are some great ways to save money on heating and cooling:
- Replace exhaust fans in kitchens, bathrooms, and utility closets with low-noise, high-efficiency models.
- Seal and insulate all heating ducts.
- Clean and replace AC and furnace air filters as often as recommended.
- Use heat-resistant radiator reflectors between radiators and exterior walls.
- Use caulk to seal all potential gaps in windows and doors.
- Opt for light-blocking curtains (also known as “blackout curtains”) to help avoid extra heat circulation in the property.
When you combine these tips with well-installed insulation and regular maintenance, you can save around 30 percent on your energy bill. And, after all is said and done, your efficiency will even contribute to a better environment.
5. Monitor your utility bills over time.
Now that you’re able to better understand and implement several techniques for reducing your utility costs, you should also be mindful of your bills from month to month, and eventually from year to year.
Usually, your utility bill will show what you are charged for the kilowatt-hours used during a billing cycle. On average, the residential rate is 11.88 cents per kilowatt-hour. According to Energy.gov, a typical US household consumes around 11,280 kWh per year, costing around $1,340 annually.
By keeping track of your averages and how your bill fluctuates in different seasons, you can identify potential problem areas and figure out where you should be making adjustments.
If your properties have crazy energy spikes during the winter months, you may need to perform inspections on your insulation and heating equipment.
That might sound like a lot of trouble, but you’ll be happy to learn that the state of Maryland actually offers energy efficiency incentives for landlords and property owners who demonstrate a drive to maintain high standards of efficiency year after year. Those incentives combined with the utility cost savings and decreased environmental impact will make your efforts well worth it.
If you can’t implement the energy-saving strategies here all at once, try to at least implement a couple of them at a time. From there, you can make your properties more energy-efficient as your schedule and budget allows. You’ll be saving loads of money on your utility costs every month before you know it!