Save Money By Doing An Energy Audit And Seven Easy Fixes

A wad of cash.

As a property owner, you should always be looking for ways to save money and to maximize profits.

Raising the rent isn’t always an option. There lots of ways your profits vanish without you even knowing it, that’s why it’s a good idea to conduct an energy audit.

Most tenants pay the utilities in their rental homes, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about the energy efficiency of your rental properties.

Many tenants live paycheck-to-paycheck, so while they may not care specifically about energy efficiency, they do care about lowering their utility expenses. Knowledgeable renters may ask about utility costs before signing a lease.

The cost of utilities probably factors into your tenants’ lease renewal decisions. Upgrading your appliances and equipment combined with some easy fixes may not only save your tenants money but may also attract tenants who have adopted eco-friendly lifestyles.

The Biggest Wastes of Energy

Poor insulation, improperly sealed windows, doors, and trim are the leading causes of wasted energy, very common in older properties. Air leaks overwork the whole HVAC system. A properly sealed home will save money on maintenance, replacement costs, and prolong the life of the HVAC system. 

Energy Audits

Many utility companies will perform an energy audit for little cost or for free. Check with them before hiring a professional or trying to do it yourself. 

If you want to do an informal energy audit yourself, and check for major drafts, get a stick of incense that makes easily visible smoke. Then, close all doors, windows, and fireplace flues.

Turn off your furnace. Next, turn on any exhaust fans in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas to pull outside air inside. Finally, light the stick of incense and wave it in front of suspected problem areas. If you have an air leak, the smoke will flutter or be drawn inward by the outside air coming in through the leak.

7 Ways To Make Your Property More Efficient

1) Caulk or apply weather stripping to help reduce leaks around windows and doors.

2) Replace air filters on the furnace and keep the exhaust vent on the A/C unit clear of debris; this will allow the systems to work more efficiently.

3) Properly insulate your walls, attics, and crawl spaces. Here’s a little secret: Electrical outlets and switch plates are often a silent killer of energy bills. That’s because the insulation is usually removed during replacement or repairs. You can get plate insulators or spray-in foam.

4) Dial down the temperature setting on your water heater. An insulated blanket for your hot water tank will also help retain some its heat, it’s simple and a very inexpensive fix.

5) Upgrade to programmable thermostats and teach tenants how to use them.

6) Another silent killer of the energy bill is the refrigerator. Cleaning the cooling coils is one of those things that rarely if ever gets done. Kitchens accumulate lots of dust and grime, but how often do the stove and fridge get moved? The build-up on coils causes the fridge to work extra hard with less efficiency, which shortens its life span.

7) Swapping out incandescent light bulbs for new, more efficient CFL or LED bulbs will save money in the long run. They are more expensive to purchase, but use far less energy and last up to 25 times longer.

Conducting an energy audit will show you where the money is being wasted, you can then set a budget and a time frame for how best to address any issues. Energy efficiency will help you attract quality, like-minded tenants and save you money on maintenance and repairs.

Posted in: 1. Property Owner Blog Posts, Maintenance

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