Have you noticed your heating and gas bills are running a little bit high? The minor adjustments always make the big difference! Here's some fun tips we've collected below that Landlords have shared with us over the years;
- NEVER TURN YOUR THERMOSTAT ALL THE WAY OFF THEN ALL THE WAY ON AGAIN. You will use more energy firing and turning off the boiler rather than moving the temperature up/down 5 degrees. It's also dangerous to do that in winter - you'll risk freezing the pipes if your heat isn't on! A steady 65 when your out and 68 when you're home should keep the price manageable. You can also refer to BOSTON CODE for heating temperature requirements.
- ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO COMPLETELY LOCK YOUR WINDOWS AND DOORS. If unlocked you are probably leaking in air!
- IF YOU HAVE WHITE VINYL WINDOWS CHECK THE TOPS. They warp a bit in spring and fall, so they commonly drop a little when windows are unlocked and then opened. You'll know that it's open if your window's not locking. To secure it properly, push the top ALL the way up while pushing the bottom ALL the way down, and THEN lock it tight. Trust me, it'll make a big difference!
- IF YOU HAVE OLD WINDOWS, get insulation tape. It makes a handy dandy vacuum seal. You can also get plastic window seals. If it's a window you barely use, a piece of aluminum insulation can help keep the heat inside too (though keep in mind it'll darken the room).
- IF YOU HAVE RADIATORS, buy aluminum foil insulation on Amazon for $20, cut into pieces and stick behind them. The foil expands the heat outwards, heating the room better and helping your system work more efficiently. You can also technically make your own using tin foil from the store and wrapping around cardboard or pieces of wood. You can also use aluminum foil tape for reflecting too.
In addition YOUR DIALS ON THE RADIATORS SHOULD NEVER BE TURNED ALL THE WAY OFF. Steam has to escape for the heat to work properly. You'll consume even more energy if the dial's closed instead of open.
- IF YOU HAVE OIL HEAT, research local companies for the best possible pricing! Not every provider has the same price or services, and there's different kinds of plans you are able to choose from. There's co-ops, annual plans and some companies even offer price-caps or incentives! (i.e. Alliance Express give you $100 off for every new customer that's a referall from you! Cool right?).
Also keep in mind the better you maintain your system (purchasing a maintenance contract and making sure the boiler's cleaned every year), the more efficient your heat will run and the less money you will spend.
- IF YOU HAVE LAUNDRY IN UNIT, check the dryer's label to find out if it's using gas hookups or electric and if your water heat's gas or electric too. If the dryer is gas, find out if it's energy star efficient! If not, your dryer could be using more energy than necessary. If your water heater is gas, stick to cold water for washing your clothes (better for colors anyway).
- INSULATE YOUR OUTLETS AND LIGHT SWITCHES (if allowed to), once those located closest to the exterior of the house. It's an easy place for air to escape. Outlet/Switch insulation's very cheap on AMAZON.COM (I think the Duck brand has a good multi-pack). And if your Landlord says 'no', air seal insulation tape's a great temporary solution too. Just tape over your outlets and presto! It's sealed.
- PUT DOOR STOPS/LEAK GUARDS UNDER THE ENTRANCES TO THE UNIT. It'll prevent air from leaking in under the door.
- CALL MASSSAVE AND SCHEDULE AN ENERGY AUDIT. Keep in mind they'll need the Landlord's permission to look at your home, but they're a great resource and can help with your bill!
- CONTACT YOUR LOCAL ABCD (ACTION FOR BOSTON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT) IF YOUR BILL IS OUTSTANDING. If eligible, they might be able to help you pay your bill.
Have any other tips? Let us know and we'll add it to our list!