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Energy-Saving Upgrades to Improve Rental Property Efficiency


As costs of everyday goods and services continue to rise, many tenants and landlords seek to trim expenses anywhere they can. For landlords, making your rental property more energy efficient does not have to be an expensive overhaul. In fact, small changes can make a significant impact on utility costs. So, join us below as we reveal some simple energy-saving upgrades that reduce utility consumption and save money.

Energy-Saving Upgrades for Your Rental

As a landlord, investing in energy-saving upgrades helps boost property value as well as rental appeal. Check out some of our top tips for property owners, as well as a few ways that tenants can help boost their own energy savings.

  1. Seal Around Windows and Doors
  2. Swap Out Inefficient Bulbs
  3. Give You’re A/C Some Shade
  4. Install Exhaust Fan Covers
  5. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
  6. Bulk Up the Landscaping
  7. Invest in a Tankless Water Heater
  8. Add a Few Ceiling Fans
  9. Maintain the Refrigerator Coils

Seal Around Windows and DoorsSeal Around Windows and Doors

Any opening in your rental property is an opportunity for inefficiency. So, it is no surprise that windows and doors are a prime culprit. As a landlord, regular maintenance should include checking these entry points for damage or signs of leaks. Also, especially in older homes with single-pane windows, take the time to caulk areas in the sashes and window frames.

Older doors can also cause warm or cold air to infiltrate and hinder energy efficiency. Therefore, take a look at adding some new door sweeps to any points leading outside. This includes the front door as well as doors leading to the garage area. When it comes to effective energy-efficient upgrades, keeping the air in is just as important as keeping it out.

Swap Out Inefficient BulbsSwap Out Inefficient Bulbs

Something as simple as swapping out old incandescent lightbulbs is one of the best energy-efficient upgrades for landlords. Although LED bulbs cost more initially, they last exponentially longer and save on electricity costs. For larger homes, consider buying in bulk or swapping out bulbs slowly as old ones require replacement. Either way, using cleaner, energy-efficient LED bulbs are the way to go.

Give You’re A/C Some Shade

Many apartments utilize window A/C units for cooling. However, this method is not always the most energy-efficient. So, ensure that the unit fits securely into the window and seal up gaps to avoid warm outside air from getting in. Additionally, try and keep the unit in a shaded area or install a window awning if needed. Finally, keeping the unit out of direct sunlight stops it from heating up and losing valuable efficiency. That way, it should only run when the apartment heats up, not the unit itself.

Install Exhaust Fan Covers

It may surprise you, but the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are a prime place to lose efficiency. These openings allow outside air in, thus bogging down your rental’s HVAC system. Installation of an inexpensive exhaust fan cover can help lessen cold drafts and keep warm air in. These energy-saving upgrades are readily available at most home improvement stores and typically cost between $10 and $30.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Did you know that heating and cooling accounts for around 40% of a home’s utility bill? Therefore, a list of energy-efficient upgrades would not be complete without mentioning a programable thermostat. Although this is a considered investment averaging a few hundred dollars, a new thermostat can reduce energy costs as easily as the touch of a button. Programmable thermostats allow tenants to set the unit’s temperature related to their schedule and comfort level. So, for example, the A/C does not constantly run all day while the tenant is at work.

Bulk Up the LandscapingBulk Up the Landscaping

Although landscaping might not be your go-to thought when considering energy-efficient upgrades, adding trees and shrubs around the home can help. In fact, strategically placed trees and shrubbery can block wind, provide shade, and help retain heat. Not to mention, a well-landscaped home offers added privacy and appeals to prospective renters. That said, be sure to prune trees each year of any dead or rotting limbs that could fall and threaten the safety of people or the property.

Invest in a Tankless Water Heater

If adding energy-saving upgrades is part of your long-term plan as a landlord, installing a tankless water heater is an excellent investment. Tankless water heaters save energy by only heating the water based on demand. In addition, these types of units typically last longer than a traditional holding tank heater. While models and vendors will vary, adding this energy-efficient upgrade will cost between $1,700 and $4,000. So, take some time to get estimates and compare quotes before making a final decision.

Add a Few Ceiling Fans

Fans can help make rooms feel cooler, but air circulation during warm and cool months is their real benefit. Especially in a home with vaulted ceilings, fans can force warm air back into the room during winter to increase energy efficiency. Depending on your skill level as a landlord, this could be an easy DIY project. If not, installing a ceiling fan will average between $250 and $600 but is well worth the investment.

Maintain the Refrigerator Coils

Appliances account for some of the most significant energy consumption on any rental property. Of those appliances, an inefficient refrigerator can run too often and inflate energy bills. So, as part of a regular maintenance schedule, ensure refrigerator coils remain free of dust and debris. Thus, allowing the appliance to save energy but also extend the life of the appliance.

How Can Tenants Help Improve Energy Efficiency?

  1. Install Window Treatments – Window treatments provide privacy and security for a rental, but they also assist with energy efficiency. By blocking light in warm months, curtains help maintain the homes cooler temperatures without the HVAC system working as hard.
  2. Avoid Phantom Energy Consumers – Power strips are a great way to avoid so many devices continuously drawing power when not in use. So, by keeping a power strip in areas where multiple devices or chargers remain plugged in, tenants can easily switch these off and save power.

Maximize Your Rental Investment Property

For landlords, the cost of maintaining a rental property can drastically affect overall profit. That said, any potential energy-efficient upgrades are considered investments, even small ones. However, investing in these valuable changes can save money in the long run and make the property more appealing to renters already on a tight budget.

Our Bay Property Management Group team helps property owners focus efforts on preventive maintenance to keep their rental operating at peak efficiency. We understand that cutting costs is essential and our experienced team of managers works diligently to balance tenant wants with owner needs. So, if you would like to learn more about maximizing efficiency or profits in your rental, give us a call today.