How can I make my apartment more energy efficient?

I’m getting some energy efficient light bulbs. I try to ration heat but I have some expensive instruments in my apartment and it worries me to fluctuate the temperature too much. Besides turning off appliances etc is there anything else I can do?

How much exterior and interior wall space does your apartment have? How much window area? What temperature do your interior-wall neighbors keep their apartments at, and what temperature is the hallway and other common areas? Does the building already have insulation in the exterior walls? In the interior ones? What’s the minimum temperature you (and your instruments) would be comfortable at?

BUy a window insulation kit from your local hardware store. For around $10 you should be able to do 4-6 average windows. Its a plastic sheeting that sticks on with special tape, and it really, really works. The downside is that your windows will be closed for the duration of the season (sticking and unsticking the plastic doesn’t work). If this is a big deal, you might choose to leave 1 window uninsulated for fresh air.

The window insulation kits are good. Even better are insulated windows with heavy curtains. Sounds old fashioned, but heavy curtains will help keep the warmth from leaving in the winter and getting in during the summer.

Keeping your air at about 45% humidity means you can turn down your heat by 5 degrees or more to maintain the same temperature feel in your apartment. Use humidifiers in the winter to help keep it humid. The most energy efficient humidifier is a disposable aluminum lasagna pan filled halfway with water and placed on your radiator. Even when I had forced air heat, though, I found leaving out dishes with water did a whole lot of humidifying with no heat source. I also plug up the tub when I shower, so it collects all the hot water. Voila! Free humidifier! Just keep your bathroom door open so it can get out.

Ceiling fans are more energy efficient than air conditioners. A swamp cooler it also nice, if you’re in a very dry place. And again, those heavy curtains, especially if they’re dark, will keep your place a lot cooler than you think in the summertime.

The simplest way to save money in winter is with space heaters.
Turn the main building thermostat really low (50°F) and heat each bedroom separately. While electric space heaters are twice the cost per room volume as your gas furnace, you will be heating less that a quarter of the volume of the house, so the savings are significant.

While you’re at it, leave that water in there for a few hours before draining it. That way, it’ll give up its heat to the apartment, rather than to the sewer.

Good advice in general, but the OP is in Saskatoon. I suspect that keeping the place cool enough is seldom a problem.

That’s what I do, sorry I didn’t phrase it more clearly.

[dumb 'Merican] Where’s Saskatoon? :smack:

Don’t operate one refrigerator inside another.

When I think of heavy curtains, I think of thick fabric. But even better are curtains made of rubber-backed fabric.

Electric blankets and electric mattress pads are great. You can turn the thermostat down quite low and they will keep you toasty. An electric mattress pad, while more expensive, is better than the electric blankets because its heat will heat the top of the mattress, then rise, heating you and the lower density sheets and blanket above. An electric blanket will at first only heat your topside, leaving the other half of you against the chilly mattress. Then again, why not both? :cool:

Are the instruments you refer to musical or scientific instruments? Depending on what they are, the fluctuation in humidity caused by some of the suggestions in earlier posts (which I endorse) could also be a problem.

It was not mentioned earlier that some space heaters now come with their own thermostats. So if all your instruments are in one room, you could set the space heater there to always keep the temperature above say 20°. Whether it’s wise to leave the space heater on for long periods when you’re not there is a different matter, which you should think hard about.

And more importantly, the humidity.

From my experience most people could most easily save money by learning how to shower quickly. My brother lives on a farm and due to the drought has to buy water. When I was there last week I showed him how I wash my hair in the morning - stick head under laundry tap, turn on, wet hair, turn tap off, lather hair, put under tap, turn on, rinse. We caught the water I used in the sink, it was about 1 1/2 litres.