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Apartment living has lots of perks. There’s no mortgage to worry about. You get on-call maintenance services. You can enjoy a swimming pool without upkeep. And you don’t have to worry about lawn care.

But those benefits do come with some trade-offs, and complete control of your living space can feel like a big one in some ways. Like, if your utilities aren’t included in your monthly rent, but you’re wanting to lower expenses like your electric bill, how can you do it without the freedom to beef up insulation around your walls and windows or update older, energy-draining appliances?

There’s actually a lot you can do! Some changes may require the help or permission of your landlord or apartment management company, but there’s no harm is asking. It’s free to ask and worth that investment when the bottom line is your bank account.

Replace the Light Bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs started down the path toward being completely phased out in the U.S. in 2007, but that plan was suspended by the federal government in 2019. So, those heat-emitting, energy-sucking light bulbs are still out there. Sure, it’s cheaper to buy them on the front end, but they burn out significantly faster and cost a whole lot more to use. So, swap in halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs and you’ll use from 25% to 85% less energy and get 3 to 25 times more life from your light bulbs.

Adjust the Water Heater

If your apartment has its own water heater, it may be behind a locked door only your maintenance team can access. Ask them for help turning down the temperature of your water heater. Most of us are used to having the thermostat set at about 140 degrees Fahrenheit but, lowering that to 120 degrees is gentler on your skin and it can provide energy savings of up to 22% every year!

Check Air Filters and Ducts

Levels of meticulousness about household care and cleaning vary wildly among renters and air vents are commonly overlooked for cleaning by tenants and the teams who clean between residents. The air filters for your HVAC system are probably maintained by your landlord or maintenance staff, so you should be good to go there. But you can still boost the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning by cleaning the vents and intakes with a vacuum throughout your apartment from time to time.

It’s easy to be conscientiousness about energy use and utility costs no matter where you live. You don’t have to invest in renovations or slick new appliances to save cash on the back end. Small changes around your home – whether it’s rented or owned ­– can go a long way toward more budget-friendly living.