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Renting an apartment for the first time can be an exciting thing, but if it’s your first experience paying for utilities like gas or electricity, you need to know what you’re signing up for when you initial your lease. While there are lots of ways to minimize your electric bill you need to be prepared to pay it every month and it can help to understand a bit about how it is calculated. A 2015 survey showed that the Average American living in a 1-2 bedroom apartment pays a monthly electric bill of between $60 and $91. That can be over $1,000 per year on top of your rent and other utility payments like gas and garbage.

Your electric bill is made up of a combination of energy reliant devices and appliances. Your HVAC unit and refrigerator make up the majority of your charges but smaller things like lights, hair dryers and televisions will begin to add up if you use them a lot. When you’re living in an apartment it may feel like you don’t have a lot of options for changing your electric bill. You can’t invest in Energy Star kitchen appliances and you likely can’t change the way your apartment is insulated. But, you can take some steps to keep your bill more manageable while remaining within the confines of your lease.

  • Use Smart Power Strips: Smart power strips like the ones offered by TrickleStar are a great way to reduce the phantom load’s impact on your electricity bill. These devices reduce wasteful standby power used by electrical devices that are left plugged in all the time. Plug in your TV, computer or other high energy use devices to lower your bill every month.

  • Use LED Light Bulbs: LED light bulbs are another great way to see long term savings on your energy bill. While there can be a large upfront cost, your electric bill will be lower every month and after a few years, they will more than pay for themselves.

  • Change Your Habits:  While no one really wants to have to change their habits to lower their bill, there are a couple of things that you can be conscious of in order to see some savings.

    • Take shorter showers. This will prevent you from using too much hot water and lower both your water and carbon footprints.

    • Maintain your air filters. Your HVAC system uses a ton of energy in your house and is a huge contributor to your monthly bill.  By maintaining its filters you’ll be helping it to run more efficiently.

    • Adjust your thermostat. If you can handle it, set your AC a bit warmer in the summer and your Heater a bit cooler in the winter.

    • Do chores like washing dishes and running your dryer during off-peak times of day when the price of electricity is lower.

    • Use your hotter appliances like the dryer or oven at times when it’s cooler outside. There’s no need to add more work to your AC by making your home warmer. Your wallet will thank you!

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