Renters Rejoice: Here’s 8 Ways to Reduce Your Heating Bill

Before buying a house last winter, I had rented several apartments in southwestern Ohio, which gets so cold in the winter (and fall and sometimes spring) that I may as well have lived in Alaska. The problem with every single apartment I lived in was the same: It was exorbitantly expensive to heat each one in the winter due to old systems, ancient windows and poor insulation.

Luckily, the house I purchased has great new windows, excellent insulation and doors that actually close properly. And any issues that have caused inefficient heating in my home, I’ve been able to fix cheaply.

It’s much more challenging to combat these issues in apartments because, as a renter, you can’t just invest in new windows or redo the insulation. In my eight years of renting, however, I discovered a number of ways to cut back on my apartment heating bills.

Close Off Unused Rooms

If you live in a two- or three-bedroom apartment but use one of the rooms for storage, exercise or an irregularly accessed workspace, close the door and shut the vents in that room when it is not in use. Otherwise, you will unnecessarily be heating an unused space.

And if the space is so infrequently used, consider downsizing to a smaller apartment the next time your lease is up for renewal. If you stay within the same apartment complex, you often will not have to offer up new deposits.

Turn Down the Heat

An easy way to reduce your electric or heating bill in the winter is to run your heat at a lower temperature.

Obviously, you need to keep your apartment warm enough to prevent your pipes from freezing, but if you can stand the chill, keep your apartment in the low- to mid-60s. Bundle up in sweatshirts, thick socks and blankets to stay warm — and don’t forget to cover up your pets, too.

Use a Space Heater

OK, so you’ve turned the heat down, closed off unused rooms and bundled up in blankets, but you’re still feeling chilly. A small space heater might do the trick. Rather than wasting the energy to heat the whole apartment to a warmer temperature, keep a space heater in the area that you plan to spend the day or evening. Running a little bit of heat in one small area is more affordable than heating your entire living space.

Insulate Your Windows

One apartment I lived in shortly after college had a living room with one wall that was entirely windows, overlooking a quaint pond. I toured the apartment in the springtime and was immediately sold. Little did I know that these single-pane windows would be the bane of my existence just nine months later when frost began forming on the inside.

Since renters can’t control whether their landlords install replacement windows (though I spent at least an hour a week in the main office demanding that mine do so, to no avail), finding temporary ways to keep heat from leaking out is crucial.

You can do this by hanging thick curtains in front of the windows, but an even better solution (or a solution to combine with the curtains) is purchasing a window insulation film kit. If it is your first time installing, I recommend asking an experienced friend or family member for assistance; when incorrectly installed, your window will look like it’s been covered in shrink wrap.

Stop Eating Out

Of course, you can save money on meals by eating at home instead of dining out, but in the winter, baking and cooking can have the added benefit of reducing your heating bill.

When you cook in your oven and on the stove top, heat emanates into your kitchen and surrounding rooms. Even after turning the oven off, the remaining heat will eventually filter out to into your home.

Block Out Drafts From Your Door

The bottoms of exterior doors are a major culprit for heat loss in the winter. If you can see daylight creeping in from beneath your door or feel a cool breeze, speak to your landlord about addressing this issue.

If that becomes a dead end or it will take maintenance a few days to get over, temporarily improve the situation by rolling up a towel and blocking the bottom of the door. The solution isn’t perfect, but it will prevent some heat loss for the time being.

Weatherstrip Like Crazy

Weatherstripping for doors and windows is key to retaining heat in the winter (and keeping it out in the summer). If your windows and doors are letting too much heat out, ask your landlord to replace the weatherstripping.

Unfortunately, not all landlords are created equal. If you encounter a landlord who dodges your requests, tell them in writing that you will be replacing the weatherstripping yourself. (Do not make it a question.) It’s a minor cost and will save you big-time on heating bills.

Leave a Review

If you are stuck in a lease at an apartment community that does not take your maintenance concerns seriously, remember that online reviews are your friend. Leave reviews on Google, social media and the Better Business Bureau site if your landlord ignores or refuses your reasonable requests. I’ve had to leave reviews more than once, and conveniently, the landlords took care of the issues the very next day.

Before you know it, winter will come and go. Reduce energy consumption year-round by also reading our tips for reducing utility bills in the summer.

Timothy Moore is a market research editor and freelance writer covering topics on personal finance, careers, education, pet care and automotive. He has worked in the field since 2012 and has been featured on sites like The Penny Hoarder, Debt.com, Ladders, Glassdoor and The News Wheel.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Kaiser Permanente Helps Oakland International Airport Passengers Reduce Stress and Maintain Good Mental Health

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated health care system, has introduced some practical and whimsical ways for passengers departing Terminal 2 at the Oakland International Airport to reduce the stress of air travel and encourage them to stay healthy this busy holiday travel season and beyond. This effort is part of nonprofit Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to the total health of body, mind and spirit of the communities it serves.

Portions of the security checkpoint at OAK Terminal 2 have been transformed to depict some of the most soothing aspects of nature, including the sights and sounds of a California redwood forest, a blue sky filled with clouds, and a 1,500-square foot “living wall” filled with plants that act as natural air filters.

“Our work with the Port of Oakland is a natural extension of our mission to improve the health of the communities we serve,” said Janet Liang, president, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “We understand people have an opportunity to experience good health habits where they live, work, play and in this case, travel. Our airport expression is another example of our commitment to creating positive environments throughout the Bay Area community Kaiser Permanente has called home for almost 75 years.”

The new features at OAK Terminal 2 include:

Living wall of plants with a sign that reads 'thrive - Kaiser Permanente'

Kaiser Permanente has installed a massive living wall at the Oakland International Airport that cleans the air naturally and helps reduce the stress of air travel for passengers.

The living wall: Taking up the entire west wall of the security checkpoint area, the wall contains 34 unique plant species, including 13 that, according to a NASA study, help clean indoor air naturally and improve the ambient environment. 

Bringing the outdoors in: Travelers are greeted by large white clouds suspended from the checkpoint and atrium ceiling. Soothing sounds of nature can be heard from speakers strategically placed near the checkpoint area. Messages on panels throughout the checkpoint encourage passengers to “breathe in,” “relax” and “thrive.”

H2O to go: Passengers will be able to refill their reusable bottles at new hydration stations, installed just past the security checkpoint. The stations dispense premium purified drinking water to help keep passengers hydrated before and during their flight.

These elements are all aimed at alleviating the anxiety, frustration and fear commonly felt by travelers, and they are part of a much broader effort by Kaiser Permanente to improve mental health and wellness in the communities it serves. This larger effort includes, but is not limited to, the Find Your Words public service campaign to de-stigmatize depression and Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools Program, which includes efforts to improve the emotional and social well-being of students and staff.

“Support for emotional health and well-being is built into Kaiser Permanente’s overall approach to total health,” said Don Mordecai, MD, the national leader for mental health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente. “Our goal with transforming Terminal 2 is to help improve the travel experience for people and to help them find a bit of calm in what can often be a stressful environment.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Kaiser Permanente’s contribution to the ongoing transformation of Terminal 2 at Oakland International Airport. This uplifting introduction at the screening checkpoint positively influences the early stages of the passenger experience,” said Bryant L. Francis, Port of Oakland director of aviation. “This addition at OAK creates a more relaxing environment for outbound travelers as well as the hundreds of employees based in Terminal 2.”

 

About Oakland International Airport
Oakland International is the fourth busiest airport in California and second busiest in the San Francisco Bay Area. Serving over 13 million travelers annually, OAK is the closest airport to the region’s top business and tourism venues. It is also the closest airport for most local residents. Oakland’s air service roster to over 60 nonstop destinations is offered on 12 different airline brands. The vision of Oakland International Airport is to offer customers a world-class experience and be the airport of choice for Bay Area residents and visitors alike. OAK is operated by the Port of Oakland, which also oversees the Oakland seaport and 20 miles of waterfront. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region and nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

 

The post Kaiser Permanente Helps Oakland International Airport Passengers Reduce Stress and Maintain Good Mental Health appeared first on Kaiser Permanente.

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