Many buy and hold real estate investors, especially owners of short-term rentals, pay utility bills. It goes without saying that the higher your utility bill, the less monthly cash flow you generate. Fortunately, there are many ways to save on utility bills, regardless of tenant habits. Here are five tenant-proof methods.
1. Set your refrigerator temperature to 38°F and your water heater to 120°F.
Austin Energy notes that the refrigerator is always on, consuming more energy than any other kitchen appliances. If you set the temperature to 38°F, it should be cool enough to keep food safe and reduce your annual electricity costs. Similarly, your water heater is a big energy user, and lowering the temperature can reduce your annual energy costs. Austin Energy advises, however, that some dishwashers require the water heater temperature to be 130-140°F, so it is important to check your owner’s manual.
2. Clean out your refrigerator’s coils twice per year.
Like keeping the temperature down, keeping the coils clean will improve the property’s refrigerator’s efficiency by 40%, according to Apartment List. GE Appliances has a guide to cleaning out coils on a refrigerator for reference.
3. Use LED light bulbs and LED-friendly light fixtures.
Not only do LED light bulbs use less energy, but they can also save you around $500 per year (Source: RentecDirect). Additionally, LED light bulbs are brighter twice p have a long bulb life. We like these Great Eagle, long lasting, energy efficient light bulbs. Keep in mind that if your light fixtures are not efficient, LED light bulbs will not function properly. So, look for Energy Start certified fixtures, which use 75% less energy. Check out these Paramida LED Technologies Energy Star Certified Recessed Light Fixtures.
4. Replace property air filters every three months.
First Choice Power says dirty air filers make your HVAC system work harder, which therefore increases your utility bill. Filters with higher MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) ratings work better.
HVAC Training shop says to aim for filters with a MERV rating of 8.
5. Install solar panels.
While solar panels aren’t for everyone, they are fantastic for the environment and can substantially decrease your electricity bill, sometimes even getting utility companies to pay you. (Learn more about the benefits of solar panels).
For more resources on managing your rental property, check out our Investor Resources.