14 Tips to Save Energy & Money on Apartment Air Conditioning

There are a lot of homeowner headaches that apartment dwellers don’t have to worry about, such as maintaining and replacing the central air conditioning system. But unless utilities are included in the rent, there’s still the matter of paying for all that cool air — and in a steamy climate like Texas, that can make for some expensive energy bills.

If you’re on the hunt for energy saving tips, air conditioner strategy is the perfect place to start. Space cooling is one of the largest energy expenses for the average renter, and there are lots of ways you can cut back without sacrificing too much comfort. Learn how to save energy with air conditioner tips from First Choice Power — these 14 tactics make savings very cool indeed:

14 Tips to Save Money on Apartment Air Conditioning | The Light Lab

  1. Upgrade the thermostat. This isn’t always an option, and it’s not something you should do without consulting your landlord. But a programmable thermostat — or better yet, a smart thermostat — is the key to automating your AC savings. Ask your landlord if they’re willing to make this upgrade, and if not, consider offering to share the cost. If you plan on staying in the apartment for a long time, you might recoup your share and then some.
  2. Keep the thermostat at the highest reasonable temperature. This is much easier with a programmable thermostat, because your personal limit may be 78 degrees while you’re home, but you can get away with 85 degrees while you’re away. Experiment with higher temperatures and challenge yourself to find other ways of keeping cool when you’re tempted to dial down the thermostat.
  3. Alert your landlord if you think something is wrong. If your electric bill seems unusually high given your thermostat habits, it could be that a mechanical problem is robbing the system of its efficiency. You should also talk to your landlord if the air coming from the vents doesn’t feel sufficiently cold, another sign of poor efficiency.
  4. Keep the air filter clean. Sometimes this is the job of the landlord, other times it’s the job of the tenant. Make sure you know if this is your responsibility, and if it is, replace the filter on schedule. Failure to do so will make your air conditioner work harder, driving your bills higher. 

    14 Tips to Save Money on Apartment Air Conditioning | The Light Lab

  5. Use energy-efficient window treatments. In a well-insulated apartment, the biggest source of unwanted heat may be the sunlight coming through the windows. Reflective shades or heavy drapes that completely block out the sun are the most effective choices, but lighter options like honeycomb blinds are also better than the metal slatted blinds that are so common in apartments. Learn more ways to make windows more energy efficient.
  6. Make sure your vents are clear. You should keep every HVAC vent in your apartment free of dust, but more importantly, you must ensure that they’re not blocked by furniture or plants. If your vents are adjustable, use the handle to direct the airflow toward the center of the room.
  7. Use fans. They don’t lower the temperature, but their breeze creates a cooling sensation on your skin. So they’re only energy-efficient if you use them in combination with higher thermostat settings, and you shouldn’t waste energy by running fans in empty rooms. When using ceiling fans, make sure they’re spinning counterclockwise to create a cooling downdraft.
  8. Take cool showers. If you’ve just come home from being out in the heat and want to cool your body down fast, this is both quicker and cheaper than cranking up the AC. It’s also a good way to make your body cool before bedtime.
  9. Stick your bed sheets and PJs in the freezer. It seems odd, but this old trick won’t cost you anything and can make jumping into bed a much more soothing experience in a warm apartment. 

    14 Tips to Save Money on Apartment Air Conditioning | The Light Lab

  10. Avoid generating indoor heat, especially during the day. Use your oven less and your microwave more when it’s hot out, and if you can’t resist the urge to bake, get a small toaster oven. When using other heat-producing appliances like your clothes dryer and dishwasher, try to wait until after dark, when your air conditioner’s job is easier.
  11. Make a DIY swamp cooler. If fans alone aren’t giving you the cooling power you need, fill a shallow dish with ice cubes and place it in front of a fan that’s blowing directly on you. You’ll feel the difference that evaporative cooling can make.
  12. Dress lightly and in breathable fabrics. This is a no-brainer, but it makes living in a warmer apartment much more bearable.
  13. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. LEDs remain cool to the touch, so they won’t expel unwanted heat into your apartment.
  14. Get out. As long as you raise the thermostat when you leave (or you have a smart thermostat, which you can control from anywhere with your smartphone), time spent out of your apartment equals air conditioner savings.

There’s no need to swelter for savings. Put some of these tips to work today and watch for the difference in your next electric bill!

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Josh Crank is a freelance writer with a background in legal journalism, travel writing and marketing. He's found his perfect fit in writing about home maintenance and repairs, energy efficiency, smart home technology and other topics to help readers make home life green and comfortable. Josh lives with his wife, two sons and endlessly howling beagle-basset hound mix in New Orleans.