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Energy Saving And Safety Tips For Tenants And Renters

effToday, whether you rent or own, almost everyone is searching for ways to reduce their energy costs. Although the landlord or management company is ultimately responsible for a building’s energy efficiency and safety, there are many simple safety and energy conservation measures that anyone can take.

Apartment Safety

Power for electronics is a growing part of many people’s energy bill. Computers, televisions, and chargers for phones and portable devices start to add up. Consider plugging all your equipment into a power strip which, when switched off, will eliminate any standby draw from these devices. This also has the added benefit of protecting your equipment from possible power surges.

For computers, keep them in “sleep” mode when not in use or turn off completely. Contrary to popular beliefs, turning a computer on and off is not harmful. Depending on how you use these electronics, they could increase your energy bill by 20 percent.

Using new lighting technologies can reduce lighting energy use in homes by 50 to 75 percent. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are the most common energy efficient bulbs on the market. They only use about one-quarter of the electricity compared to standard incandescent bulbs. During daylight hours, take advantage of natural light instead of artificial light. You will feel better and you will save money too. You can also save money by installing timers to reduce the amount of time your lights are on.

Energy conservation can be simple and affordable:

  • Set refrigerator temperature to 36 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Set freezer to 0 to 5 degrees F.
  • Turn off water while shaving and brushing teeth.
  • Do not preheat your oven except for baking.
  • Cover pots/pans when cooking.
  • In the summer, open windows and use a fan for air circulation instead of air conditioning.
  • In the winter, turn down the thermostat 10 degrees at night and keep curtains open on the sunny side of your apartment during the day.
  • Maximize day lighting.

Apartment Energy Efficiency

When living on your own, you are ultimately responsible for your own safety. Safe Electricity wants you to know and follow electricity safety measures.

Never use extension cords as permanent wiring. They should only be used with portable appliances and plugged directly into an approved receptacle, power tap or multi-plug adapter. Remember that all extension cords need to be in good condition without splices, deterioration or damage. Use three-pronged extension cords and outlets for appliances with three-pronged plugs.

Older wiring in apartments and homes may not be able to handle the increased electrical demand of modern day appliances and electronics. If use of an appliance frequently causes power to trip off, or if its power cord or the outlet feels hot, the appliance should be disconnected immediately. Make sure that this condition is reported to your landlord as soon as possible so that it may be properly repaired.

Keep these simple safety tips in mind —a benefit to you and your landlord:

  • Pull electrical plugs out of the wall socket only by the plug and never by the cord
  • Make sure cords are in good condition, that they are not frayed or cracked.
  • Cords should not have any furniture resting on them.
  • If an outlet has loose-fitting plugs, contact the landlord/superintendent to have it replaced. Outlets with bad contact can overheat leading to fires.
  • Have any broken wall plates replaced.
  • Never cut the third prong (safety/ground connection) off of electric plugs. That third prong is to protect you if the outlets are properly grounded.
  • Use light bulbs with the correct wattage for lamps. If no indication is on the product, do not use a bulb with more than 60 watts.
  • Make sure outlets around sinks and tubs are GFCI equipped before use.