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February 2023

How Renters Can Fight the Winter Chill

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According to statistics, around 35 percent of Americans rent or lease their homes. Many lease agreements forbid major alterations to rental properties but renters can consider using these low-cost, energy-efficient tips from West Florida Electric Cooperative (WFEC) to improve the efficiency of their homes this winter.

One of the simplest things a renter can do to save energy and money is to set thermostats as low as comfortable in the winter – your WFEC energy experts recommend 68 degrees to boost energy efficiency. Another thing you can do is take advantage of heat from sunlight. Open draperies and shades during the day to allow natural light to heat your home. Remember to close them in the evenings as the temperature drops and windowpanes become chilly.

Does your rental have window air conditioning units? This winter, remember to insulate the units from the outside with a tight-fitting cover, which are available at your local home improvement center or hardware store. This prevents heated air from escaping outside. You can also remove window units during winter months to prevent energy loss.

Yet another way to save on heating is to make sure your water heater is set at the lowest comfortable setting. Have you experienced scalding hot water while showering? If so, it’s likely that your water heater is set too high – a waste of energy. Older models of water tanks are often not well-insulated, which can be easily remedied by covering them with an insulating blanket which can be purchased at a home improvement store.

Lighting is another of the easiest places to start saving energy. These savings are not strictly limited to  winter months. Try replacing a few of your most frequently used light bulbs with more energy-efficient lighting and save. LED light bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy and last several times longer, saving money on energy bills and replacement costs. Practicing energy-efficient habits is another great way to reduce energy use - always turn off your lights when leaving a room.

Other ways to save
Leasing an older home or apartment? Odds are you have single-pane windows and old or missing caulk. Don’t let the winter chill seep indoors! Apply caulk or weather sealing around window frames, sashes, and door panels to combat air leaks. Also, be mindful when using electronics at home. Unplug devices when not in use, and use smart power strips to save on energy use. To learn more ways to be energy efficient around the home, visit