Landlording & Rental Properties

8 Clever Ways to Save BIG on the Monthly Bills for Your Vacation Rental

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties
59 Articles Written

If you have read any of my previous articles, you will know I continually say that owning a vacation home is just like running a business. The main thing owners should be concerned with is making sure cost is kept as low as possible and income is maximized. Here are a few ways owners can cut their monthly bills.

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8 Ways to Save on the Monthly Bills for Your Vacation Rental

Pool Filtering Time

You would be amazed at how much electricity it takes to run the pool pumps, and this is something most owners never pay any attention to. For example, most owners just rely upon their pool cleaners to set the pump time. The industry average is for a pool pump to run 12 hours a day, so most pool companies will set the timers to run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. This is a waste of money. You only need to filter 7 hours a day in most pools for them to be safe, and this will save you a lot of money. Last year one of our homeowners who did this saved over $700 in one year on his electricity bill.

Related: 5 Tips for Decorating Your Vacation Rental Without Breaking the Bank

Auto Lights

The one problem most owners have with vacation owning a vacation home is that the guest do not really care about the owners monthly bills. For example, when most people leave a room they turn the lights off, but in vacation homes a lot of guest are not as considerate since they are not the one paying the monthly bills. We suggest adding room sensors, and if someone is not in the room then the lights will shut off. This can save you up to $400 a year.

Less Wattage

Another way to save money is replace all the light bulbs in the house with 60 light watt light bulbs. These lights still give off plenty of light, but they will save you money at the end of the month.

Sliding Glass Door Alarms

Some guests, especially if you have a pool, will open the back door and leave it open while they swim. We suggest putting in a sliding glass door alarm that will go off if the door is not shut in a certain amount of time. The alarm is loud and annoying, but high electric bills are even more annoying.

AC Thermostat

A lot of guests, especially in Orlando, will come in from a hot day out in the sun and immediately walk to the thermostat and start to crank it down to 65 degrees. This costs you money, and it is hard on your AC. We suggest putting in a programmable thermostat, which does not allow guests to raise or lower the temperatures without passcode. You can save as much as 35% on your electric bills if you keep the temperature consistent in your house.

Bundle Services

Ask your local phone and cable companies if they offer any bundle services in your area. Most national companies offer this service. Regarding the telephone, almost every guest has a cell phone so you do not need to provide a long distance phone service. We recommend that our owners just have the basic phone service with no bells or whistles to it, and this service usually costs around $23 a month.

Related: How to Deduct Travel Expenses by Investing in Places You Vacation

Get a Smart TV

A lot of guests want and request more than just the basic cable; however, the premium cable channels can be extremely expensive. You might consider getting a smart TV, which has Amazon TV, Netflix, and Hulu. This will not only save you money, but your guests can now get almost any movie they want, anytime they want.

Irrigation System 

You should have your irrigation system checked at least once a year for leaks and to make sure your yard is getting ample water coverage. A properly running irrigation system will save you a lot of money and enhance your house’s curb appeal. If your house is near sea level, you or a water source is not too far below ground. You will save yourself a lot of money by drilling a well to water your lawn.

I hope these money saving tips are helpful to you. Remember, every little bit of savings helps.

Do you have any other clever money saving tips?

Please let me and the other readers know!

Trey Duling has been managing and marketing vacation homes in the Orlando and Disney World area since 2001. His passion is helping investors make their vacation homes more profitable. Please visit his website at

    David Krulac from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 4 years ago
    One other thing about light bulbs, convert to CFL and other low voltage type lighting to save electricity.
    Fredrik Lundström from Richmond, Virginia
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Please choose LED-lights if thinking of choosing energy efficient alternatives. CFL lights are one of the worst “green” products that have been marketed.
    Luz Domingo Real Estate Investor from Alhambra, California
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Good tips, thanks
    Mark Armstrong Diesel Mechanic from Petaluma, California
    Replied over 4 years ago
    First post haven’t even gotten my picture up yet but yes LED’s are the way to go. We installed 37 of them throughout the house and we could film the next Lord of The Rings in our house if we ever dared to turn them all on at once. Great for when our house cleaner comes in to help us. The PG&E bill dropped $90/month. Get only the 2700K color temp bulbs that is the most similar warm light compared to old fashioned incandescent bulbs that in the last 120 years we have grown to love and associate with warmth from electric lighting. Trust me on this 2700K temp it will be printed on the box. , I’ve had this debate with many friends and after they have spent all their money on 3000K color temp they admit our home is warmer at night. And finally Costco is now selling the LCD’s recessed under $20/bulb. Supposedly the bulbs last next to forever but since forever is a really long time I can’t say yes or no on that claim. I will tell you I switched to CFL’s way back in the beginning and they definitely don’t last as long as they claim nor as long as the originals.
    Jeff Hensel Lender from San Diego, CA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thank you, helpful tips.
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Clever indeed. Though I still think CFL light bulbs are okay. Though they take a really long time to shine their brightest. Usually we turn them on before it\’s dark.