Tips on lowering electricity bills

You have enough bills to worry about every month. While you can't do anything about the cost of rent or student loans, there are a few ways you can lower your electricity bills. Saving electricity will not only put money back into your pocket, it will also help the environment. If utilities are not included in your monthly rent, follow these tips to conserve energy:

Appliances: Unplug electric appliances such as chargers for your laptop or cell phone when they aren't in use. This is also true for video game consoles, coffee makers and hair dryers. While plugged into electrical outlets, these machines use a small amount of energy and increase your electricity bills. An easy way to do this is to plug into power strips, which feature an on-off switch.

Windows: Test your windows to make sure they close all the way, especially in an older apartment. If you notice any openings, purchase weather stripping to close in the gap so that air does not get through.

Flooring: If have wood floors and want extra warmth in the winter, purchase a few rugs. An added benefit of this feature? Rugs look great and add character to your apartment!

Washer: Try to use cold water when washing your clothes as much as possible. Power from the heat cycle will increase your electricity bill.

Space heaters and ceiling fans: Use space heaters in the winter months to reduce a drain on your heater. This also helps so you only heat the rooms that you are currently using. Efficient use of space heaters can save up to $1,023 on electricity bills throughout the year.

Similarly, a ceiling fan used in place of an air conditioner can save about $400 during the year.

Doors: On hot summer days, keep the bedroom open so the air conditioning flows freely throughout the space. This is especially helpful for small apartments where the air from the living room can quickly cool the bedroom or vice versa.

Au natural: Don't forget to use natural air to cool down an apartment. Using the air conditioner only on very hot days will have a big impact on your electricity bill.

When you are gone: Just as you would turn off the air conditioning or lower the heat when you are not home, close your blinds in the summer. The sun rays will warm your apartment and cause your AC to work even harder when you eventually turn it on.

Air conditioning: Move furniture like chairs or couches away from the air conditioning unit so cool air can quickly circulate throughout the apartment.

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