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Help reducing energy bills in rented house? Answered


I have lived in the same house for the past two years, and in the winter our energy bills get ridiculous. It is an old house, the main part being built in 1902. We plan on doing the bubble-wrap window insulation on every window in the house and adding some weather stripping, wearing layers ourselves, and I plan on getting an electric blanket in my room to turn on just before I go to bed, and turn off once the bed is heated up. (My room is the only room on the 2nd floor and gets very cold. The previous tenant of this room used a space heater, but I think they are pretty inefficient.) Are there any other cheap ways to lower heating costs? They guy that owns our house is really stingy, and I highly doubt any requests for better insulation or a newer thermostat will be answered.

Thanks in advance!



5 years ago

I'll be posting this in it's own thread - but seems like a good idea to start here to answer your question. Build or buy a portable solar generator to help reduce your energy bill.

Make sure the power pack has a 12 volt outlet. You can then use 12 volt appliances, including 12 volt electric blankets with free energy from the sun.

I'm currently providing DIY solar generator plans as a Perk on IndieGoGo to provide emergency solar generators for families suffering from Super Storm Sandy: 

Solar for Sandy

A big plus for 12vdc appliances: Just about every RV uses 12v lighting, 12v motors (for water pumps, etc). Since RVs don't last very long on the road (20-30 years, give or take) there are always parts available, like light fixtures, that can be salvaged for cheap. There are also 12vdc led lighting available, but not for cheap. Check out RV accessories if you want to go low-voltage.

Another solution to your room heating problems guys ..http://youtu.be/1l4jg_FJ5Yc. Hope it helps

I have 1 one idea of saving bill of saving , light (bulb) bill
switch 1 bulb in 1 room and spread it by installing mirror at accordingly direction and angle . hope this works

I have 1 one idea of saving bill of saving , light (bulb) bill
switch 1 bulb in 1 room and spread it by installing mirror at accordingly direction and angle . hope this works

Use Solar charged cells.

Flannel sheets don't feel as cold.

If you have radiators, put a layer of kitchen foil behind them to reflect heat back into the room.

The number one thing to do is to stop draughts - draught excluders, close curtains (have floor-length curtains, and tuck them behind radiators).

Totally agree on drafts.

I lived in a rental house in Vermont, had very similar problems. Heating oil bill one January was more than month's rent! The house was an old, hardwood structure, leaning, leaking and creaking.

So- stopping drafts: I insulated windows, even used second layer of bubble-wrap trick. Then I hunted around the interior walls and sealed all cracks I could find. However, the exterior walls had all sorts of leaks. Essentially, the outer house layer did not act to create a dead space between outside and interior.

Filling with insulation would have been the solution. But as a renter, I was in the same position as you, so that was out of question. An approximate solution was to turn the inside of the house into zones of dead air space. I.E. :
  • Closed off rooms that were not used, and highly exposed to exterior.  Stopped using some rooms until spring.
  • Hung blankets like a curtain against doors in rooms not used, to add dead space on other side of door. Even hung a canvas on inside of garage door.
  • Hung decorative quilts on walls, almost like tapestries, to create some dead space.
  • Pushed couches and chairs against walls, to create dead space.  Also created a very large book shelving setup, the books were facing out, essentially layering the wall with my books.
  • Layered cardboard in attic and on cellar ceiling (be careful to remove after winter, lots of vermin issues).
  • Bought straw bales and placed around outside of house, along ground (one layer only, 2" gap from wall) to restrict air flow into cellar and wall space (be careful of vermin issue).
  • Layered extra throw rugs on floor to create some insulation.
  • Piled snow against house to stop drafts.
  • Stacked boxes in the attic in "walls", trying to break the space up into smaller sections of more restricted air flow.
  • Our bedroom was an upstairs room. Kept shut all day and only opened a little while before bed, so warm air would only go up to room when it was useful.
  • Made a canopy for bed to keep warmer at night.
  • Lifted bed up from floor with cinder blocks, getting it closer to the warmer air.
  • Spent some $ on a good 24 hour timer / thermostat for heater, to lower use at night and during midday.  Was good to have heat come on 1/2 hour before morning shower...
By the way, sleeping with a nightcap / hat is a great way to be warmer at night.

Hello all,

I have similar problem but after reading "CrLz" reply, i found best solution for my problem. And i completely agree with CrLz and thanks a lot for share very useful tips with us...i am doing these.


Where do you live? By law landlords are obligated to maintain their properties in the right conditions for human habitation. Check with your city or state agency in charge of landlord-tenant mediation. Why should you put up with living in such conditions and pay for your landlord's greed?

we had that issue when we first moved into our rental house. There was a 1/2 inch gap under the door (that we didn't noticed until we moved in ) that let a 3 foot drift of snow into our living room one ice storm. We also had a pipe bust and $800 bill. ($200 from water company and 600 from plumber)
I had to threaten the rental company with legal action in order for them to fix the door and windows that were drafty.
And my wife made sure they came out winterized the crawl space before last winter so the pipe wouldn't bust again.

Look over your lease to see who is responsible. you might have to talk to a lawyer who deals with rental issues.

Your there to maintain his house, if he wants to let it fall apart then you need to find another place to live (if you can) and he can let the house fall apart.