Your two biggest responsibilities when you’re in charge of California property management is providing your tenants with a pleasant place to live and maximizing the property’s earning potential. Reducing your utility expenses is one of the best ways to lower expenses while increasing the property’s annual revenue.
Reduce utility costs

Go Through your Rental Property and Change the Lightbulbs

One of the quickest and easiest ways to lower your operating costs is going through the entire rental property and replacing all of the current light bulbs with new, energy-efficient bulbs.

Instead of the traditional 40 or 60 watt lightbulb, one of the property management tips you should stick to is stocking your rental property with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) lightbulbs or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) lightbulbs. Yes, the lightbulbs cost a little more when you purchase them, but since you can expect to save about $37 each year per lightbulb, you’ll enjoy a quick return on your investment. There’s nothing like a little instant gratification to get you excited about embarking on even more money-saving projects.

Don’t stop once you’ve replaced the lightbulbs in the rental property. Once the interior lightbulbs are changed, it’s time to go to work changing the exterior lightbulbs.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat for your Rental Property

Now that you’ve updated all of the lightbulbs in the property you manage, it’s time to make another trip to your favorite DIY store and pick up a programmable thermostat. The great thing about a programmable thermostat is that not only does it keep your tenants happy and comfortable, but it also reduces your monthly heating and cooling bills.

Once you’ve installed the programmable thermostat, you want to feed it the information needed so that it keeps the rental property comfortable while people are home, and reduces the amount of energy used to heat/cool the space when no one is there. The times will be different for each property, so plan on spending a little time talking to each tenant so you know their schedule well enough to properly program the thermostat.

Making the change to a programmable thermostat can help you reduce your annual heating/cooling costs by as much as 10% per rental unit.

Replace Old Water Heaters and Appliances

The next step you need to take as a property manager who wants to reduce utility bills is replacing older water heaters and appliances. While replacing water heaters and appliances does lower the amount of money it takes to keep your rental properties comfortable, you don’t want to run out and purchase brand new units right away.

When it comes to water heaters, most energy experts recommend holding off on purchasing a new one until the current water heater is between 10 and 13 years old. At this point, there will likely be a considerably more energy-efficient model on the market that can reduce your yearly utility bill by as much as 10%, but you’ll also save yourself additional money that you would have spent trying to keep the old water heater operational.

A desire to lower your utility bills isn’t enough to prompt you to rush out and purchase new appliances. Like your water heater, the age and condition of the appliance dictates whether you need to replace each appliance.

The best time to replace the different appliances varies from one type of appliance to the next.

  • Refrigerators should be replaced every 13 years
  • Washing machines should be replaced every 10 years
  • Dryers should be replaced every 13 years
  • Air conditioners should be replaced every 15 years
  • Furnaces should be replaced every 15 years
  • Dish washers should be replaced every 9 years

The amount your utility bill decreases after you replace the appliances depends on how much power the old appliances use and the type of appliance you replace it with. Make sure you choose the most energy efficient appliances you can find.

Why Landlords Reduce Costs and Work Hard to Keep Monthly Utilities Low

If you’re the property manager of rental properties who is responsible for paying the monthly utility bills, the reason for being proactive about saving as much money on utilities is obvious. However, even if the tenants are responsible for the cost of utilities it’s still in your best interest to do all you can to save on utility costs.

The average renter is hyper-aware of the cost of living and will usually request information about the average cost of the various utilities for the rental unit they are considering. Showing them a reasonable monthly bill and also explaining what you do to keep the costs low is often the difference between them signing a contract with you instead of looking for additional landlords who reduce costs by striving to lower utility bills.

The sooner you take the steps need to lower your rental property’s utility bills, the sooner you can use these changes to attract your ideal tenant.