Ways to Reduce Your Vacation Rental Energy Bill
Running a vacation rental is like running a business. There are expenses, revenue streams, customer satisfaction, scalability, marketing, accounting, and a whole range of other things to consider when managing rental properties. In this post, we’re focusing on cutting costs through sustainability — something that often goes overlooked. Imploring guests to save water and turn the lights off only goes so far, so we recommend getting proactive about reducing your vacation rental energy bill. Here are some easy steps hosts can take to make their home(s) more sustainable and save a few dollars in the process.
Change the Air Filter Every 6 Months
Your home’s air filter (or furnace filter) is the material that keeps the air quality clean. After a few months, many filters fill up with dust and other debris, which not only lowers the air quality, but also means the HVAC system is working harder than it needs to. Many utility companies suggest changing the filter every month. If this feels like too much, just make sure you’re not going more than three months without changing the filter.
Set the Hot Water to a Lower Temperature
Go into your bathroom, turn on the hot water as high as it will go, and then wait a few minutes to let it reach maximum temperature. If you’re unable to stick your hand in, your water temperature is set too high. Many tanks and appliances come with a default setting of 140 degrees, but the U.S Department of Energy only recommends 120 degrees. While it’s important to ensure guests are comfortable, it’s unlikely anyone is going to shower with 140-degree water.
Review Appliances Every 6 Months
Even for vacation homeowners who wouldn’t consider themselves handy, it’s easy to spot potential issues. Twice a year, we recommend doing a walkthrough to review the functionality of your home’s most valuable items. See if there are any gaps or holes around pipes, scan the perimeters of windows looking for drafts, check for failing light bulbs, and give your house a generally thorough review. Hopping on YouTube and getting up to speed on house management basics is great for preventing future problems.
Use a Smart Device for Air Conditioners
For vacation rental owners in warm climates, air conditioners are undoubtedly one of the top hogs of energy and money. Guests are more inclined to splurge on vacation, and that mentality often carries over to their operation of the home. Hosts sometimes take measures to post polite flyers reminding guests to be energy-conscious, but that strategy can only go so far.
Devices like the Sensibo Sky allow vacation rental owners to control their air conditioner from anywhere in the world. It’s easy to install — just attach it to the outside of the appliance — and it immediately converts any run-of-the-mill air conditioner into a smart device. Sensibo Sky synchronizes with Google Calendar, and it even tracks local weather to keep your house at the perfect temperature. Something like this adds a great “wow” factor to your home, and it also means guests won’t have to worry about touching the thermostat.
Use a Device for Heating
For hosts in colder climates, heating demands all the attention. One easy step to reducing energy bills in vacation homes is to install a smart thermostat. Similar to the Sensibo device, Tado is a small device that packs a big punch.
Tado turns the heating off when guests leave, and back on before they return home. Additionally, Tado detects open windows and automatically turns the heating off. It also knows the weather forecast and heats less when the sun warms the home. The company claims the device can drop energy bills by up to 31%, which can amount to significant savings.
Upgrade Your Lighting System
Changing your home’s light bulbs has been the go-to energy-saving technique for decades. Making a small investment in halogen incandescent bulbs, LEDs, and compact fluorescent lamps is a great first step to reducing your vacation rental energy bill. These bulbs last 25 times longer than traditional bulbs and they save up to 80% more energy.
That said, smart home technology has officially outgrown this strategy (here are 7 Ways Tech is Disrupting the Vacation Rental Market). The Philips Hue is one of the industry leaders when it comes to revolutionary lighting technology. With a line of bulbs, sensors, and switches, the application allows hosts to control an entire home’s lighting system from the convenience of their phone. While many of the products are designed for mood lighting and changing a room’s atmosphere, it also has features that reduce your vacation rental energy bill.
Clean Your Refrigerator’s Coils
When it comes to the kitchen, the refrigerator consumes the most energy. One simple way to increase the efficiency of refrigerators is to clean their coils. These coils tend to gather lots of dust, and if not tended to, the buildup can reduce efficiency by up to 30%. Cleaning the coils is super simple. Just pull the fridge back from the wall and use the hose of a vacuum to get rid of all the dust. Once you’re done, be sure to not push the fridge back so it’s flush with the wall — leaving a little space for air to circulate will ensure the dust doesn’t accumulate too fast.
Use an LED Television
The average television uses about 9.5% of an entire home’s energy, which is more significant than many hosts think. A final useful tip is to equip your home with an LED television, rather than a plasma television. On average, plasma televisions use close to 140 watts, while the newer LED televisions use around 90 watts. LEDs are significantly more expensive, but for good reason — they’re also extremely light, thin, and bright enough for overly-lit environments.