Rental hunting? Check these tips

That’s a great question. Thanks for asking.

Q. I’m looking for a new apartment or rental home. How can I find a place that won’t come with big electricity bills?

It’s a smart idea to consider energy costs in the mix when looking at rental homes or apartments. If you find an energy-efficient place, it could significantly lower your monthly expenses.

Consider these energy factors before signing a lease

  • Age: Newer houses or apartments built to newer building codes will generally cost less to heat or cool than older buildings. But if you’re looking at an older place, ask if it has any energy upgrades like replacement windows or weatherization.
  • Past bills: Ask if it’s possible to see past utility bills to get a rough idea of energy costs.
  • Location: In a multistory building, an apartment in the middle of the building is a little more insulated by the apartments above, below and on either side – and that may help save on heating and cooling
  • Appliances: Newer models are more efficient.
  • Showerhead: Saving hot water saves energy. Look for the small numbers on the showerhead — you want to see 2.5 g.p.m. or lower (that’s gallons per minute). The lower the number, the more you’ll save.
  • Light bulbs: Are they LEDs? If not, install you own to save up to 85 percent on lighting energy costs.

After you move

We’ve got you covered once you settle into your new place, too. Check our top 20 low-cost and no-cost ways to save.