Utilities, part II


Well, after my tenants’ unusually large electric bill, and a little research, I sent them a long email, with a few pointers on how they can keep their bill down in the future. A big one: compact flourescent light bulbs. A big runner-up: turning off the lights in the stairway when they’re not using them.

But how to know exactly what the culprit is doesn’t have to be guesswork — a friend of mine recently came across this wonderful gadget, the P3 International Kill-a-Watt Electricity Usage Monitor To use it, you simply connect your appliances to the usage monitor and it will assess how efficient they are. The display counts consumption by the kilowatt-hour, the same as the utility company. You can calculate electrical expenses by the day, week, month, or year. For only $28.99, it’s worth having one on hand — you can prove to your tenants that it’s actually their air conditioner and big-screen TV using up all the power, not the appliances that you’ve furnished.


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One thought on “Utilities, part II

  1. Got hit this summer with high electric bills as well, although I was able to find a few tips that helped bring down the energy/gas consumption:

    * If your tenants have access to their hot water heater, they could turn down/off the hot water heater until they need to use hot water. Home depot also sells a device, much like a light timer, that will switch the hot water heater on and off at certain times (search for WH40D89 on homedepot.com).

    * Compact Flourescent lighting can be fairly expensive up front, however home depot (not to plug them again) has a contractor pack (I think of 16) CF bulbs for about $20.

    Aside from those two, everything else I found seemed to be fairly standard advice.

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