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Task of the Month for Renters


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Looking for a place to rent next year? Keep these questions in mind before signing a lease. 


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Share info about your rental on www.RentRocket.org to help future occupants save energy and money.


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Conserving water saves energy too! Take shorter showers. Report any leaks to your landlord. Don't flush after every use. Ask your landlord about low-flow showerheads
and faucet aerators.


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Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs. Duke Energy offers free LEDs to eligible customers and reduced prices in the Duke Savings Store. You can take them to your next rental. And be sure to turn out lights when you leave a room!


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Keep your curtains closed on very cold days. 


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Wash clothes in cold water; air dry clothes outside or on racks & hangers indoors.


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Lower your water heater temperature to 120°F.*


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Keep your thermostat at 68° or lower when home during the day, 65° or lower at night, and ask your landlord if you can set it as low as 55° degrees when away from home.


Estimated cost: $10 - $15 per surge protector

Cut phantom energy loads by half or more. Easily shut off your computer and A/V equipment with surge protectors when not in use.


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Use fans instead of AC if you can. Set AC to 75 or higher when at home, and 78 or higher when away. Ask your landlord to professionally service your AC unit.


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Make sure your refrigerator isn't set too cold! The U.S. FDA recommends freezers be set at 0°F, and the fridge at 40°F. Recycle your 2nd fridge if you have one.


Estimated cost: $3 - $10

Use caulk, removable rope caulk, plastic sheeting, draft stoppers, and other methods to
stop drafts and keep the heat indoors.

*Be sure to check with your landlord or property manager before making changes. 

Before You Rent

Questions to ask the landlord or property manager:
  • Do they know about the Monroe County Energy Challenge?

  • How is the space heated & cooled? Who pays the electric and (if applicable) natural gas bills?

  • What were the heating bills for the past few winters?

    • If the tenant pays utilities, see if you can get that information before they move out.

    • And ask them how warm they kept the space last winter, day and night.

  • Is there a programmable thermostat? If so, ask how to use it before you move in.

For apartments:
  • Who pays the water bills? Are there low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators?

  • Can the tenant control the water heater temperature? Is it OK to change the setting?

    • Ask if the landlord would set it to 120°F before you move in.

    • Ask how to shut off water if there is a problem (like a backed-up toilet running over).

  • Is there a recycling program for the building?


For older houses:
  • Ask to see the basement, crawl space or furnace room:

    • Is the house heated by natural gas, electricity or something else?

    • Does the furnace have filters?

      • Who is responsible for changing them, if so?

    • Who services the HVAC equipment?

      • When was it last serviced?

  • Ask to see the attic:

    • Is the attic insulated?

      • Does the insulation look even?

      • Is it at least a foot thick?

    • Is there an attic hatch? If so, are there cobwebs around it? That’s a pretty good sign that there is a draft, and it needs to be insulated.

      • A piece of rigid insulation board, cut to fit, is an easy and inexpensive fix.

  • Windows & doors:

    • Do all the windows open and lock? Do they have screens?

    • Are there storm windows? If not, ask if you may install plastic window film on them.

    • Are there blinds or shades, or hardware for curtains?

      • If not, ask if you can add them.

    • Is there a storm door?

Check what City or Campus bus lines run nearby:
  • Do they run less on Sundays? In the summer? Do they go places you need to get to regularly?



For more tips, see http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes/renterschecklist.htm