You don't need to own your home to save on energy

Winter Energy Saving Ideas for Renters

by Veronica Bowman

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Renting a house or apartment often means that you do not have some of the same options a homeowner has when it comes to winterizing your home to reduce your heating cost. However, that doesn't mean you have to resign yourself to budget-breaking energy bills. There are several things you can do to reduce your electric bill without compromising your lease agreement.

Rugs can visually and physically warm up your home. They can function as insulation and make vinyl, hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring warmer. Decorative rugs placed on top of carpet can be an attractive addition to your decor. Rugs give you added warmth, beauty, and comfort in a room.

Quilts, blankets and tapestries can be used as wall art. This type of wall decor will help keep your interior space warmer. You can find these items in textures and designs to accommodate whatever type of decor scheme you have chosen for your home.

Check sale prices for Insulated Curtains and Shades on Amazon.

Door and window draft stoppers or draft guards can be functional and decorative. You can find instructions for making your own draft stopper here. Ideas for creating a more decorative draft stopper can be found here.

Insulated curtains or shades can reduce your heating cost. You can find some information regarding insulated curtains here.

Many homeowners replace drafty windows with energy efficient windows to reduce their heating and cooling cost. As a renter, that is not likely to be an option for you. Therefore, you will need to find alternative ways to deal with drafty windows. Some of the options to consider may require that you consult with your landlord before moving forward with them. One option is to add weather stripping around the edges of your ill-fitting windows. A second option would be to purchase inexpensive window film for your drafty windows.

In a rental situation, installing a programmable thermostat may not be permissible. Therefore, you will need to devise your own thermostat control system. Lowering your thermostat just before you leave home and lowering it at night are good money-saving habits to develop. You can keep your thermostat at a lower setting while you are at home by adding an additional layer of clothing. According to the information found on, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill by lowering your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day. This site has some additional statistics and tips regarding the benefits of lowering your thermostat.

As a renter, you can rely on your personal frugality to keep your utility bills manageable. The following list includes tips that are easy and inexpensive to implement, yet they can make a significant difference in your energy bill. Better yet, you don't need your landlord's permission to put these ideas into practice.

  • Wash clothes in cold water.
  • Use indoor drying racks instead of the dryer as much as possible.
  • Be sure to wash full loads when running the washing machine and dishwasher.
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs and turn off lights when they aren't needed.
  • Develop the habit of unplugging electronics when you aren't using them.
  • Make sure the vents in your home are clean and open. 
  • Arrange your furniture so that is doesn't block the vent or obstruct the flow of air.
  • Eat out less. Cooking meals at home during the winter will help warm your house.
  • Ceiling fans and standing fans can help move the warm air through your house.
  • Install a low flow shower head.

Don't feel that, as a renter, you have no choice but to pay high energy bills in the winter. Not all winterizing ideas require some type of permanent alteration to your home. A lot of the things you can do to reduce high energy bills involve developing frugal living habits. The few things that do involve some out-of-pocket expense can actually be money-saving investments over the winter months.

Reviewed September 2017

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