Utilities Bills Dissuade Students from Off-Campus Living

Living off-campus during college may seem like the good life to some students but for others, there is one thing everyone dreads: Bills. 

Students worry about unstable utility bills that may include water, electricity and gas.
Although the City of Tallahassee lowered energy costs by 3.5 percent on Feb. 1, the third time in the last year, there are still ways college students living off-campus can save.

Experts recommend setting the thermostat at 68 degrees when it’s cool, and 78 degrees when it is warmer outside. They also said that using ceiling fans would circulate cold air throughout your homes, giving the air-conditioning system a break.
An alternative to air-conditioning, especially with spring approaching, is to open windows and use the natural air from outside.

Sillene Silvera, a senior sociology and anthropology student from Clearwater, Fla., said she and each of her roommates pay an average of $60 a month for utilities. The lowest they’ve paid was $40 a month.

“We only use our air and heat when in dire need: if it’s under 50 degrees or over 70 degrees outside,” Silvera said.

Evan Castellow, a third-year healthcare management student from West Palm Beach, has his own tricks when it comes to keeping his bill low.

“I set my AC to 80 degrees when I leave the house, and my TV is set on a timer and goes off if it’s not used in a certain amount of time,” said Castellow. “I even open up the window and let the sun in on nice days.”

Washing clothes is one of the biggest contributors to bills, which can use a lot of water and energy. Before drying clothes, make sure to clear any lint left in your dryer. This accumulation makes the dryer work harder. Also, try to wash clothes when it’s cooler outside and always wash full loads.

Tallahassee resident Ryan Green said he tries to wash his clothes every two weeks to condense the use of water and electricity at home.

“If the dryer has a lot of lint, it causes the machine to work harder, and can even make the house hotter, causing the air conditioning to work harder as well,” said a customer service representative for City of Tallahassee who asked not be named.

The two leading factors of a higher utility bill are computers and high-definition TVs that remain plugged in, even when not in use. The TV may be powered off, but energy is still being pulled from the socket to power the unit.

“The best thing to do is to unplug everything. That will help your bill a lot,” Sotoya said.

Every college student living off-campus should take advantage of the City of Tallahassee’s free energy audit, where a utility representative gives residents structured energy saving tips that fit their home types.

Call 850-891-4YOU (4968) to schedule a free energy audit. For more information and energy saving tips, visit www. Talgov.com, and search energy saving tips.