Are you managing your rental property yourself? Whether you or your tenants are paying the heating bills, it’s a significant expense; In fact, heating accounts for about 42 percent of our energy consumption. Fall is here and with that comes cooler weather, especially in the evenings.
Here are five ways to lower rental property heating costs for everyone:
Number 1 – Turn Down the Temperature
It sounds simple, but you would be surprised how many tenants have the temperature set high and a few windows opened a bit. The U.S. Energy Department says that setting the thermostat to 68 degrees when tenants are home and awake, and lowering it when they are away or sleeping, saves money. This may be harder to do in the time of the pandemic, as many people are working from home.
Lowering the thermostat seven to 10 degrees for eight hours daily from its normal setting can save as much as 10 percent a year, on average, depending on your location.
Number 2 – Get Smart with Your Thermostat
The thermostat is a biggest tool you have for lower rental property heating costs. A programmable thermostat is an inexpensive investment that could pay itself off in just one winter. Honeywell makes several models under $50. You can usually install them yourself with just a few basic tools.
For every degree it is turned down, you use as much as two percent less heating energy. A 10-degree setback overnight cuts the heating bill by up to 10 percent. More importantly, when you switch to a programmable thermostat, you will save energy without you even thinking about it.
Adjust the settings to turn down the temperature to fit your lifestyle. When programming, keep in mind that it may take as little as 15 minutes to heat your home back up to a comfortable level.
BONUS TIP: Contact your power supplier. Many will offer discounted programmable thermostats to customers if you purchase through them.
Number 3 – Have Your Furnace Cleaned and Checked
Regular maintenance is a simple step that can lower energy needs and utility bills.
When your furnace is running at its best, it can save you money every month, and it will continue operating longer without needing expensive repairs. Check for soot, rust, and corrosion in, on and around the furnace and on the floor surrounding it and the flue. These indicate the system requires immediate service.
Getting tenants to change the air filter every month is a challenge, but it will save them money and save you maintenance costs. An HVAC repairman once told me half of all his repairs could have been avoided if the filter had been changed more often.
Number 4 – Stop the Drafts
Warm air leaking out of your rental property can be responsible for about 20 percent of heating costs, according to the Department of Energy.
The irony is that this problem could easily be fixed after a quick shopping trip to the local hardware store; weather stripping for doors can cost less than $15 and is easy to install.
Don’t forget the windows, which are another big source of drafts. There are a variety of solutions –from hot-air-sealed window plastic to window films and window shades – that could fit your needs. Be careful, though, because sunlight filtering through your windows can actually provide heating benefits.
Number 5 – Wrap the Water Heater
While you’re at it, give the water heater or water tank a quality wrapping insulation blanket.
An insulating blanket on the water heater and insulating wraps on your hot-water pipes prevents them from losing heat to the outside air. It helps you save energy and money, and you won’t have to wait as long for the water to get hot at the faucet.
If you are a real estate agent with a client that is managing their own property or you’re the property owner that’s managing the property yourself, give us a call. We are always here to help with advice on property management.
Sureway Property Management
Marlton – Robbinsville – Media
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