As the owner of a rental property, you have very limited control over your electricity consumption when your property is being rented. There’s nothing more annoying than knowing that your air conditioning units are running full blast while your tenants are lying by the pool with the doors and windows wide open.
You are also very limited as there is only one choice of electricity supplier so you can’t exactly shop around for a cheaper deal. If you want electricity you just have to pay the price.
I am very fortunate to live in Cyprus, but when I opened my electric bill last year in the post office queue I had to apologise to everyone around me for the expletive that fell out of my mouth. Bearing in mind I am out at work all day, and the weekends are spent at the beach, how could my electricity bill possibly be so high?
The electric bills in Cyprus are generated from actual meter readings, not estimates, so I was certain my meter was faulty.
I was not prepared to accept I had consumed this ridiculous amount, so I paid to have my meter changed and checked – and the result was, gulp ….. I really had used this amount of electricity. Now if I can ‘waste’ so much electricity when I think I’m being really careful, imagine the cost to an owner who rents their property out to people who have little interest in keeping costs down. I’m sure you all suffer with this problem.
Well, here’s the good news. With some very small adjustments to how your property functions, you as a property owner can massively reduce your electric bill each quarter. Here’s how:
- If you need to replace any appliances always look for grade A appliances, these will save you money in the future. For example, a freezer with a 5mm layer of ice will use a massive 30% more electricity, whilst an A grade appliance will auto defrost itself and save you a lot money. Over the life of the appliance, those savings are huge, for just a small extra outlay at the start. It’s false economy to buy cheap.
- Fit timers on all your air con units. A 9000bt air con unit (the smaller units usually found in the bedrooms) will use approx. €5.15 per 8 hours. That’s €107.52 per week for a 3 bed property where the air conditioning units are only on at night (based on 2013 electricity prices)
- Fit key fob systems so that air con units will go off automatically when guests leave the property.
- Make sure the fob is attached to the key by a tamper proof ring.
- Fit a system similar to that used in hotels, whereby if the windows and doors are open the air conditioning automatically turns off.
- Fit sensors so if there is no one in the room the appliances turn off.
- Invest in solar power. The sun is free and there is no shortage of supply here in Cyprus – and what’s even better you won’t get a bill.
- Fit timers on all of your appliances. That way if something is not being used it will automatically turn itself off.
- Have shutters or shades fitted to your windows. You will have noticed that the windows turn into giant radiators whenever the sun hits them. It then costs you a small fortune to try and cool the rooms down. Shutters will save you a great deal of money and have added security benefits as well. They will also help to keep the house warmer in the winter.
- Supply fans for your tenants as well as air conditioning units. They are much cheaper to run.
- Remove all winter bedding from your property. Never let clients sleep under a duvet in the summer.
- Make sure your guests know how to use the air conditioning effectively. The majority of holiday makers will set the units to 16 degrees and then sleep under blankets because they are cold. We hear of this all the time. The air con units will work harder and harder to try and reach the set temperature but there is no hope it is ever going to get there. Comfortable usage is to set it to 27 degrees. The units then turn off when it has reached its temperature and kick in again when the temperature gets too high.
As a test case I recently compared 2 identical four bedroom properties.
Both had one week’s occupancy and exactly the same number of guests. One was fitted with the key fob, the other was fitted a key fob AND with timers.
The results showed that the property with timers and the key fob had a huge 30% saving on their electric bill for that one week alone. The reason being is that even if guests are out by the pool they will still tend to leave all the appliances on, especially the air conditioning units.
It’s clear that paying out a small amount on energy saving devices now is going to save you a lot money in the medium and long term. Since energy prices only ever go up the savings will get greater every year. Dig out your bills and compare periods where you have had the same occupancy, introduce just one saving tip and see the difference. Your initial outlay can be recouped within weeks.
Here at Lee Properties we can supply and fit all of the devices I have outlined above. Give us a call for a quote or drop us an email. The sooner you start saving money the better.
All the very best