How do I save money on utilities for my apartment?

Photo of University House Central FloridaIf you can't be bothered taking short showers then consider student communities like University House which usually offer unlimited utilities.

When you're living in an Orlando apartment during the summer, air conditioning is a luxury. In fact, it's not so much a luxury as it is a necessity. You'll find it next to impossible to enjoy your time at home if the A/C isn't on full blast in the afternoon. While it's great virtually any apartment complex made in the past decade comes with an A/C, what does that mean for your utility bills? The expense is probably worth it but how can you save more when you move into your new unit?

Air conditioner
The most useful tool in any apartment's arsenal is the air conditioning system - It's also the biggest energy hog. If utilities aren't included in your rent (dorms and student communities usually do past a certain usage point) then you need to find out ways to conserve use and get the most out of your air

  • On cold days, leave the windows open and on warm days turn on the fan
  • Turn off the air conditioner if you're gone all day - you won't save energy by having the system run all day
  • Check the air filters as the filters need to be changed OFTEN, check with apartment manager to make sure your filters are tip top as this will not only affect your bills but you're quality of air
  • Don't invite any Canadian friends over as they will set it to the coldest temperature and kill your electric bill (true story)

Appliances and electronics
It's a good idea to take note of each of your appliances and identify which are the biggest energy hogs. Xbox 360's, for example run on very high power so don't leave it on all day. Tivo's are another example electronic device that takes up a major chunk of power.

  • Check appliances and use sparingly the biggest energy wasters
  • Leave appliances unplugged when gone as energy is still used by leaving them plugged in
  • Make sure the fridge and freezer are at the middle temperature setting (Goldilocks got it right)
  • Look out for high-usage devices and avoid using if at all possible – Do you really need a Tivo and cable? You'll save money with Netflix

Water use
Everyone loves just spacing out in the shower every now and but this is a big water waster. Unless your apartment offers unlimited water (some do - but not most) then keep the shower times to a minimum. If you care at all about the environment then you should be avoiding hour-long showers anyway!

  • Keep shower times under 10 minutes
  • Check your shower head and see if you can change the head to an energy saving version – Some apartments allow the heads to be changed
  • Don't leave the sink faucet on and other common sense usage considerations

Roommates
Keep each other in check by making sure no one leaves appliances on all day (like coffee warmers or the stovetop) or napping in the shower. Everyone needs to be on the same page and making sure that power doesn't go wasted. Especially when everyone is splitting the utility bills.

Are utilities included?
This is a major perk of student-run communities. Check if a prospective apartment offers utilities (usually set to a cap) by clicking here and going to the "Cable & Utilities" tab.  

Remember, utility bills are more expensive in Orlando than even high cost-of-living places like California due to the weather. You need to keep your air conditioner and water use in check if you want to save money on utilities and pay for other things... Like school… And bars.

Here are more ways to save energy from OUC: http://www.ouc.com/en/residential/ways_to_save/conservation_tips.aspx

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of 407apartments.com or any of our advertising partners.