Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Snuggie Camoflauge

Staying warm while saving money might sound like a contradiction, but all you have to do is "winterize" your apartment to make this concept work.

So, you've found the perfect deal on a place. For most renters, this happened during the peak moving season of June-September. But, as you have probably figured out by now, all was good with the housing section of your finances until winter started to roll around and that utility bill of yours continued to just keep creeping higher and higher.... Top it off with that holiday bill blow to your wallet, you're ready to cut back on your expenses NOW and for CHEAP.

Here's how:

The name may sound funny, but you can laugh all the way to the bank. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, you waste 5-30% of energy from that cold draft you feel from your exterior doors. So, start cutting these costs right now by making a homemade draft snake. Simply roll up a towel and place it under your door. If you want to keep it classy, they sell plain or decorative draft snakes at the store that you can buy by simply clicking here.


Drafty windows are said to increase your heating bill by 30%--that's a lot of wasted money. One Illinois woman wrote about saving $150/mo with a $30 investment! So for a very reasonable price, pick up a window insulation kit at your local hardware store or get one delivered to your house by clicking here. No need to worry, if it’s propery installed (it’s actually very easy), it’s practically invisible.


An alternative to snakes and plastic: weather stripping. If you can notice light, air, or snow making its way around your doors or windows and into your apartment, you’ve got some weather stripping to do. This is one of the easiest "fixes" out there. Just be sure to pay attention to how large the gap is between the door or window and its frame because weather stripping comes in a few different sizes. For less than $10 at a hardware store, you can pick up a box or buy some by clicking here to have it delivered right to your house. When applying, expose the sticky side of the stripping and stick it where needed… done.


Sure it’s easy to turn up the heat in your apartment, but know that every degrees you do, that's money spent out of your pocket. Keep in mind that for every degree you turn your thermostat down, you’ll save between 1-3% off your heating bill! In order to do this, you're going to have to keep warm other ways, so FYI: a light sweater is worth 2 degrees of warmth, a heavy sweater is worth 4 degrees, and a Snuggie is priceless... And one more tip, if you've got a programmable thermostat, try kicking on the heat an hour before you get up, and then let it go back down during the day while you’re at work.


Did you know that 25% of your energy bill goes to heating water? Landlords have the option of upgrading to tankless water heaters that last at least a decade longer than traditional heaters. Renters still have some ability to control this expense, even with older units. If you run your hot water and it comes out of the tap scalding hot, you’re in luck. Just walk yourself to the utility closet and turn the dial down on the base of the water heater. The next step is to buy a $15 water heater insulation ‘jacket’ (click here to buy one). Simply wrap this around the tank, tape it in place, and start saving. If you're in an apartment that does not have an accessible water heater unit, make these suggestions to the management (it never hurts) or make nice with maintenance.


Fighting air leaks is the biggest part of saving heat energy. Most people would never consider the outlets on their exterior walls as possible air leaks, but they are definitely a contributor to heat loss. Next time you're at the hardware store (or you can buy here online), don’t forget to pick up foam outlet insulation gaskets. Sounds complex, but it's really easy--simply remove the face plate for your outlets or switches, place the gasket in, and replace the face plate. Congratulations, you’re handy.


Having a window air conditioner still installed in the dead of winter is one of the silliest ways to waste money, and yet, you see it all winter long. There is no good reason to leave one in after fall, but if you don’t have the ability to remove your window unit, ask management or buy an insulated cover (click here to buy one online). These units are an open door to the outside...


If you’re lucky enough to have an extra room that generally goes unused, close the heat register in that room and keep the door closed. The less space you heat, the less you spend. You can also close off entry ways by hanging fabric in doorways (click here to purchase online)... may sound tacky, but I've seen some rather cute looks. A couple I knew (who lived on the 2nd floor) hung decorative curtains in the doorway on the top of the stairs, so they didn't spend money heating a large (uninhabited) stairwell.
Hopefully these tips prove helpful to you this winter, especially in the face of the ongoing economic slump we’ve all found ourselves in. If you have any tips, tricks, or success stories you wish to share, please feel free to use the comments below. Happy New Year, Renters!

Article by RentalsGoneWild.com