You started investing in rental properties to generate positive cash flow. But inefficient heating and cooling equipment can end up costing you a sizable profit in the long run – especially if you’re footing the heating and cooling bill. Higher energy use also shortens the lifespan of your appliances, forcing you to replace them at a faster pace.
If all your savings are flying out the window due to inefficiencies, there are ways to change it. Here are three tips to help you decrease energy usage and save money as a landlord.
Did you know windows can account for more than a third of the energy loss in a home or apartment? The older the windows, the more energy is wasted through insufficient insulation and heat transfer.
Oftentimes with older properties, replacing windows with new, energy-efficient models gives you a faster return on your investment and improves the appearance of the house or apartment building. However, for newer properties constructed within the last 15 years, replacing weatherstripping or reapplying caulk to windows and around doors usually corrects the problem and results in substantial energy savings.
You can also add to the building’s energy efficiency and comfort by replacing or adding insulation in the attic space. Insufficient insulation requires your rental property thermostat to work harder and can cost hundreds of dollars in wasted energy each year.
Appliances – they don’t make them like they used to. And it’s a good thing. Today’s models are designed to be more energy efficient. According to energystar.gov, a refrigerator from the 90s, for example, costs more than $100 per year to operate than a new ENERGYSTAR model. The more appliances you switch out with ENERGYSTAR-rated models, the greater your savings will be.
If you’re planning a complete remodel for your rental property, update the HVAC system to realize substantial savings. Compared to older models, modern HVAC units can operate using less electricity, and they tend to last longer. New appliances and a remodeled space can also translate to higher rental rates, which helps recoup the cost of your investment even faster.
Did you know that overhead lights can drive up your energy bill in the blink of an eye? The easiest solution to save energy is to turn off lights in unoccupied rooms and use natural light from windows as much as possible. Another energy-saving solution is to replace incandescent lights with fluorescent or LED bulbs. This is a quick, inexpensive fix that can save lots of money. These bulbs use a fraction of the energy required for incandescent lighting, and most models last 10 years or longer when illuminated for 12 hours per day.
A final energy-saving tip is to install the Chicago Controls HC7372 Vacation Rental Thermostat in your vacation rental property. This tamper-resistant device is pre-programmed with a temperature limit of 73 degrees for heat and 72 degrees for AC. Since tenants are unable to change or adjust the temperature settings, a limiting thermostat can help you take control of the temperature in each unit, saving you as much as 305% on energy costs each month.