Money Saving Tips For Renters
EFFICIENCY AND MONEY-SAVING TIPS FOR RENTERS
Though it may seem that renters are often at odds with their landlords, there are certain common matters that both parties should be concerned with. Some leases include certain utilities while others don’t, but regardless, it is still wise to take some basic steps to optimize efficiency.
Here are a few tips that can benefit both tenant and landlord:
Whether it’s the chilly season or the hot, humid one approaching, maintaining comfort in a rental unit that may be poorly insulated poses a real challenge. Apply weather-stripping around doors and windows to keep the out-of-doors separated from the indoors and substantially reduce energy consumption.
Replace heating and air conditioning filters regularly. Changing the air filters is as vital to your HVAC system as frequent oil changes are to the life of your car.
Choose a temperature you can live comfortably with and let it remain constant. Raising and lowering the temperature can significantly increase your electricity bill.
As the price of energy-efficient LED light bulbs has dropped dramatically in recent years, and many local utility companies simply give them out with a free home energy audit, switching to energy-efficient bulbs can lower your electric bills.
Make sure all computers, TVs, and major appliances, have surge protection to reduce the possibility of electrical fires in the case of a storm or power-line accident. Surge protection also may save your electronic investments.
Be careful not to overload washers, dryers, and dishwashers, as this could cause clogging, leakage, excessive wear and tear, and limits the effectiveness and efficiency of the appliance.
Set your hot water heater control to the lowest setting that is adequate for your use. Many water heaters have timers to control the water temperature at various times of the day. This can significantly reduce your electric bill.
Check all water hookups to dishwashers, washing machines, and ice-makers, to ensure a secure connection in order to prevent any leaking. Even if a leak is small, it can potentially lead to a costly repair.
Check the caulking around all windows sills and doors jambs, especially outside, to make sure no water is getting inside which can cause damage to the interior.
Make sure caulking around tubs and sinks are in good shape. Water seeping in between cracks repeatedly after use can rot out the floor or deteriorate tile resulting in expensive repairs.
Listen for leaking faucets. The smallest of drips can escalate water bills. Report any leaks to your landlord immediately.
Listen to the toilet for any continuous water running which would indicate access water being consumed resulting in escalating water bills. It’s likely that the problem is either the flapper or the float which can be easily repaired.
Check for leaks on the floor around the toilet. If the toilet is leaking, it should be reseated. A toilet that leaks over a long period of time will rot the floor around the toilet and cause the toilet to rock. The repair can be expensive as subflooring may need replacing as well as floor covering.
Never flush objects such as tampons or paper towels. If drains are slow or clogged, try using a plunger, If unsuccessful, repeat two to three consecutive applications of a clog remover or drain opener. Keeping drains open is typically the responsibility of the tenant and any service calls may result in a charge by the landlord to the tenant.
If your home has a septic tank system, use bleach and de-clogging chemicals sparingly. Never flush grease, diapers, plastics, tampons or any other non-biodegradable objects.
In regard to garbage disposals, common sense is really all that’s required to keep your disposal working properly. Avoid items like bone, pieces of tough fat, heavy grease, mashed potatoes, and especially rice, as rice can literally lock-up a disposal unit. Be careful about allowing drink tabs or coins to fall into the disposal or attempting to grind up coarse food. It will lodge in the disposal and may require a service call to repair which the landlord may charge back to the tenant.
To avoid frozen water pipes in the rare event of extreme cold weather, leave cabinet doors open to expose pipes to the temperature of the unit and keep a faucet or two turned on to a slow drip. If leaving for an extended period of time, keep the thermostat set to at least 50 to 55 degrees and ensure that areas that conceal pipes are open to allow for warm airflow.
Look for stains on the ceiling as this usually indicates a roof leak and should be reported. Extensive damage may occur if a leak continues, resulting in costly repairs.
Check that air conditioning drains are clear. Near the exterior units, two PVC pipes run out of the wall. To locate this on your outside unit, look for a small white pipe. These pipes can become stopped up from grass, dirt or debris. Make sure they remain clear to allow condensation to drain from the unit, otherwise, condensation can back up at the interior unit or the unit can freeze up.
If your system is not working, go to the breaker box and flip each switch off and back on again. The breaker may have tripped and by flipping it back on, you can avoid a needless service call. However, if the problem occurs frequently, a service call should be made as the breaker itself could be going bad or some other problem may exist.
Heat pumps, which are efficient and commonly used in the coastal areas, are only able to handle certain loads. In extremely hot weather, the system may be constantly running and providing all it can provide. In extremely cold weather, electric heat strips may come on. Keep the limitations of heat pumps in extreme temperatures in mind before making an unnecessary service call.
Tenants are responsible for their own pest control, however, if you experience a bug problem such as roaches, ants, fleas, or spiders, upon move-in, report it to the landlord immediately. The property owner may provide a one-time extermination. Quarterly exterminations are recommended in addition to the application of regular over-the-counter treatments.
It is a good idea to look around the exterior for any wasp nests. These can be easily killed and removed with wasp and hornet spray available at your local grocery or hardware store.
Taking out the trash and cleaning the rental unit to prevent ants and roaches is important for sanitary reasons as well as for general peace of mind. Also, keep recyclables separated from other refuse to help in keeping your community “green.”
Should you have any “handy-person” skills, you can perform some maintenance yourself, if permitted by the landlord,
By following a few of these simple suggestions, it’s easy to create a win-win situation for all!