If you're renting an apartment, you can't do much to improve the efficiency of the actual HVAC system. You can't replace windows or add insulation or change to a programmable thermostat. So many of the tips for cost savings that apply to homeowners don't apply to you. However, there are some things you can do to save money on utilities. Here's what you need to know:
Choose the Right Rental
Some rentals are easier to keep warm or cool because of where they are in the building. Middle apartments (with people above and below you) have a buffer to prevent heat or cold from escaping. Top apartments may feel warmer because of the apartment below, and basement apartments are easier to cool. Depending on where you live, you can choose an apartment based on the typical climate of your area.
Cover Your Windows
Your windows might be drafty, but during the winter you can add plastic cellophane to the interior to help provide a better insulation barrier. You can also caulk cracks with removable rope caulk to reduce window leaks. Finally, if you can hang drapes, heavier fabric drapes can also provide a barrier to make climate control a bit easier on your budget.
Lower (or Raise) Your Temperature
If you can stand it, try lowering your apartment temperature by two or three degrees. The initial chill takes some time to get used to, but for every degree you lower your thermostat, you save 3% on your bill. That's nearly 10% if you go three degrees lower. Make up for the cold by dressing more warmly inside and by supplementing spaces with a space heater (a small heater in your office, for example, means the rest of the house can be cold, but you won't notice.
In summer, raising your thermostat to be hotter can save you even more. You could save 10-15% per degree!
You can also glean heat from other sources. For example, if you use the oven for making dinner, leave the oven door open after turning it off so the residual heat goes into your kitchen.
Take Advantage Where You Can
Some tenants do not pay for all utilities. You might be in charge of electric, but water and gas are paid for by the landlord. In this case, you can warm yourself for "free" by taking a warm bath or by boiling some water on your gas stove. It's not perfect, but it will take the edge off.
Contact a company like Miami Apartment Rentals for more information and assistance.