How tenants can save on their electric and gas bills

The cost of a flat or a home is increasing at a rapid rate in the UK, and most rents are already unaffordable. Tenants face some serious challenges when it comes to paying their energy bills, including gas and fuel. While homeowners can install new energy-efficient appliances or heating units any time they want, there are fuel schemes for social housing, and older people can apply for the Winter Fuel Payment, renters in private housing are generally stuck with the stove, refrigerator and washer-dryer the landlord provides. While property owners can redo the ductwork and upgrade the airflow any time they wish, renters rarely enjoy that kind of flexibility.

That means tenants need to be a bit more flexible, and a lot more creative, with their energy savings in their flats. If you want to lower your electric or gas bills and keep more money in your pocket each month to pay the high rent on private housing, it pays to think small. You may not be able to replace those energy-hogging large appliances, but making a series of smaller changes could provide you with some big results. Here are seven smart ways to reduce the utility bills in your rented home or apartment.

First of all, before renting a property, determine who is responsible for paying the heating, water and electric bills. You or the landlord. Also determine the type of meter on the property, whether pre-payment (often most popular with property owners) or regular credit.

These tips below are most important if your tenancy agreements says that you are responsible for paying your energy bills on your own. But even if your landlord is paying them, it is also great to save electricity. Some tenants can reduce their monthly energy bills by 10 to 20% by following these tips and take other steps to save electricity.

1. Invest in smart power strips. Smart power strips can turn off your charger or other electronics when your smartphone or tablet battery is replenished, monitor energy usage and save you a ton of on your monthly electricity bill to your fuel supplier. They may cost a bit more up front, but smart power strips can sharply reduce your utility bills over time.

2. Adjust the temperature before you leave. If your landlord will not let you install a programmable thermostat in your home or flat you are renting, you can do the next best thing by setting the temperature before you leave for work or holiday. You may need to wait a few minutes for the heat or AC to kick on when you get home, but the monetary savings will make that momentary discomfort more than worthwhile.

3. Upgrade your light bulbs to more efficient ones, including LED. Replacing the landlord’s light bulbs with more energy-efficient versions is a great way to reduce your electric bills going forward. The cost of these energy-efficient light bulbs has fallen sharply, and the money you save will more than pay for the upgrade. If your tenancy agreements ends, take the LED bulbs with you.

4. Replace your small appliances such as a toaster. You may not be able to do anything about that inefficient oven or fridge, but you can make sure the small appliances you buy are as energy-efficient as possible. Check the energy usage on small appliances like toasters, blenders and microwave ovens – and choose the most efficient model you can find.

5. Make the most of your window coverings. From drawing the curtains during the hottest part of the day to opening the blinds to let the winter sun warm the room, there are plenty of things you can do to lower your utility bills all year long.

6. Keep the air circulating. Improving the amount of airflow throughout your home or apartment can have a big impact on your utility bills. Keep the registers clean and dust-free, keep furniture away from vents and use fans to move the air around.

7. Keep your showers short. Reducing the time you spend in the shower can greatly reduce your water bills, as can turning down the heat. It takes a lot of energy to heat all that water, so keep your showers short and sweet.

8. Call the Energy Saving Advice Service, which is a not for profit government schemes. The telephone number to ring is 0300 123 1234. Or try a local Citizens Advice centre.

Tenants may not have as much control over their utility bills as their home-owning counterparts as the landlord has appliances and other improvements in the home, but that does not mean they are totally powerless. Whether you rent a large house or a tiny apartment, there are things you can do to reduce your utility bills and keep more money in your pocket.