Home Hacks & Tips

Today Is National Cut Energy Costs Day – Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill in the Winter

Energy Savings for Apartments & Rental Townhomes

The cold weather is upon us and there are many ways to heat up your home without burning a hole in your wallet.  Here are a few ways you can cut your energy costs this winter.

Energy Savings

As the temperatures begin to drop, heating bills can go up.  You can reduce energy consumption by making simple adjustments within your apartment or townhome. 

·        Schedule an energy audit through the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program.  One of BGE’s Smart Energy inspectors will provide a one-time walk through of your home and find ways you can save money and reduce energy consumption. 

·        Reduce your hot water temperature to 120-degrees Fahrenheit.  If you need assistance with this, contact the service team.

·        Replace lightbulbs around your home with new, energy efficient LED bulbs. 

·        During the day, allow sunlight to illuminate your home so you can keep the lights off.  Be sure to close your curtains and lower blinds as the sun goes down to keep heat in your home.

·        Change your air filters seasonally. Our teams are out for regular air filter changes throughout the year. Contact our service department if you require an additional filter change. 

·        Turn off all electronics when not in use including computers, printers, cable boxes, and phone chargers.  Easily shift everything off by plugging items into a surge protector and shutting the surge protector off. 

·        Clean the coils behind your refrigerator (they can get quite dusty) to increase efficiency and keep your refrigerator running smoothly.

·        Lower the temperature when you’re heading out for the day and raise it when you return. 

 

Reduce Your Water Usage

·        If you notice any water leaks, contact our service department immediately or submit an online service request.

·        Take showers instead of baths and keep them to about 5 minutes.

·        Turn the water off while brushing your teeth.  Two minutes of running water is gallons wasted.

·        Run the dishwasher and laundry machines only when the loads are full.  If you must run a half-load of laundry, be sure to adjust any settings on your washing machine accordingly.

·        When thawing frozen food, avoid using running water.  Plan to thaw food in the refrigerator instead.

·        Use bath towels more than once.  Fewer laundry results in water and energy savings.

 

Other Fun Ways to Save

·        Cook large dinners and take leftovers to lunch for work.  Warming winter soups are perfect for this as you can make a large pot and have enough left over for several days.  Many soups taste better the next day, too!

·        Download the GasBuddy app for your smartphone to scout out the lowest gas prices in the area.

Saving Money in the Cooler Months

Fall is upon us and the holidays aren’t far behind.  This time of year is a great time to start thinking about ways to put away money for holidays, winter vacations, and to boost your savings account.  Here are a few ways you can keep more money in your bank account this fall.

Keep Your Apartment Cool While Saving Money this Summer

Keep Your Apartment Cool While Saving Money this Summer

Keep your apartment or rental townhome cool this summer with a few simple life hacks.

How to Childproof Your Apartment

How to Childproof Your Apartment

Whether you’re welcoming a new bundle of joy to your home or a small friend is coming to visit, you want to be certain your home is safe and ready.  Use this checklist to make sure your apartment is ready for any little ones.

 

Throughout the Home

·        Be sure blind cords are safely secured to the wall.  A blind cord safety cleat (such as this one from Prime-Line products) or cord shorteners (such as these) will do the trick.

·        Rid the apartment of any odors including cigarette smoke, paint fumes, or harsh chemicals.  Cigarette smoke has been linked to SIDS deaths.

·        Invest in one or more pressure-mounted baby gates to block off areas of the apartment that are unsafe.  Be sure to put the baby gate up at night to keep the little one safely in their room.

·        Block off outlets with outlet protectors.  Be sure they fit securely and tightly so prying fingers can’t easily get them off.  A safe & aesthetically pleasing option is the KidCo Universal Outlet Covers ($9 for three from Amazon.com)

·        Move furniture away from windows where a child could climb up and potentially fall from the window.  Keep windows locked.

·        If you have stairs in your home, use baby gates at the top and bottom of the staircase.

·        Regularly check your smoke and CO detectors to ensure proper function and working batteries.

·        Create and memorize your family’s fire escape plan.

·        Secure any furniture that is a topple-hazard (such as bookshelves, entertainment centers, dressers, etc.).  Most furniture that poses such a threat will come with a wall attachment strap that can be mounted to the wall.  Store heavier items on the bottom shelves/drawers of such furniture and lighter objects at the top for extra stability.

·        Fasten your TV to the wall to prevent it from toppling over.

·        Crawl around the floor of your home to make sure there are no small objects such as food, coins, small toys, etc. that can present a choking hazard.

 

Entryway

·        Make sure your front door is locked and deadbolted, especially once the child is tall enough to reach the door handle. 

·        Keep the patio/balcony sliding doors locked and shut, as well.  Never allow a little one to play on the balcony or patio without adult supervision.

·        Store purses and bags high in the closet, out of reach of children.

 

Kitchen

·        Use cabinet locks & drawer locks to keep children out of cabinets and drawers – especially those that contain chemicals and cleaning products or breakable objects.  Try the Magnetic Cabinet & Drawer Latch System from Safety 1st ($35 for 4 from Amazon.com)

·        Keep hot foods and beverages away from the edges of counters & tables and well out of reach of children.

·        Install a stove guard or knob guards to keep hands away from knobs and burners.

·        Point sharp items downwards when loading in the dishwasher.  Keep your dishwasher latched at all times when it’s not being emptied or reloaded.

·        Lock the oven door while it’s in use or hot.

 

Bathroom

·        Use cabinet locks & drawer locks to keep children out of cabinets and drawers – especially those that contain chemicals and cleaning products or breakable objects. 

·        Place non-slip shower mats in the bathtub.

·        Store razors out of reach from the child and be sure it’s not in a place where it may fall during his/her bath.

·        Install a spout cover on the bathtub.  These protect against head injuries during bath time.  A cute option is the Moby Bath Spout Cover that looks like a blue whale ($13 from Amazon).

·        Keep trash cans out of reach.

·        Install a toilet lock on your toilets to prevent strangulation and/or drowning.  Check out the Mommy’s Little Helper Toilet Lid-Lok ($8 from Amazon.com)

·        Lock up medicines using a medicine safe, such as the Dreambaby Kiddy Lock Guard Child Safe Container ($34 from WalMart).

 

Bedroom

·        Keep all small objects, jewelry, and toiletries out of reach from little hands.  If these items are kept in a drawer, use a drawer lock to prevent access.

·        Never place a baby in a crib with fluffy pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals.  Keep the crib as clean and free of items as possible for safest sleep.

 

 

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of childproofing and additional steps may need to be taken in your individual circumstances.  Be sure to contact childcare experts such as your pediatrician as well as other online resources such as BabyCenter, Mayo Clinic, and WebMD for additional information. 

 

Helpful Apps that Can Help You Save Money

Helpful Apps that Can Help You Save Money

Your smart phone can help you be smarter with money.  From budgeting to coupons, there's an app for that.  #GoodLivingStartsHere