Minimizing Electric Use in Common Areas

5 Replies

Hi All,

In small multifamilies where there's no on site maintenance person to shut lights off, how do most of you ensure that your tenants aren't always leaving the lights on in the common areas? I figure my options are either a light on a timer, or motion sensor lighting. Does anyone have any recommendations on which is better?

I'm thinking motion sensor lighting for common lights in an entry way since there's no need for people to be congregating there, and timed lights in laundry areas. Does that make sense to you all? Is there another option I'm missing?

Be careful with leaving dark areas.  It can annoy and even cause an injury if a tenant tries to walk through outside of your timer-designated times.

I've considered motion sensor lighting but I haven't found products hardy enough to not be stolen/broken, so I've gone with always-on LED lighting.  You'd be amazed how much light a 4W bulb can put out in a confined area like a hallway or basement.  It only uses 4 watts!

The lights don't cost much to run so I would not worry about that. I would use motion activated exterior lights, you can get ones that run off solar panels.  The interior hallway lights stay on but I have a tenant who is creeped out by leaving it dark and I don't want someone tripping down the stairs. You can also use LED bulbs.  The one thing to watch out for is things installed on your common circuit. Verizon is good for putting the fios boxes on the common electric instead of in the apartment. THis is a pet peeve of mine since the darn box beeps if the battery backup goes low and it disturbs everyone!  This is aside from electric cost.   I guess you could motion sensor the interior lights but it seems to me that would cost more then just running them with LED bulbs.  My electric is about $30-40/mo in the summer for the lights, 3 fios boxes, well, and controller for the furnace.  It had been $150, that was before I fixed some water leaks, put  in regular bulbs , and lost a fios box. Most of the electric saving was by fixing the water leak though.

If the common area is on a separate meter and your house is a good candidate for solar panels, you could get them installed on your roof for free. Then the panels would cover the cost of the electricity and the surplus would be put back onto the grid. Let me know if you wanna talk about it in more detail. Also, solar will increase your property value o the resale.

Pete Schwan, Real Estate Agent in MA (#9553403)
617-515-2322

I may be dating myself a bit here, but I think

Terry Tate Office Linebacker may be a viable option...

Mike Cumbie, Real Estate Agent in NY (#10401285310)

Hey all, thanks for the responses. By timer light, I actually meant the lights where you rotate the knob and it's on for 30 minutes, then it ticks down and automatically shuts off in 30 minutes, like a hot tub or sauna.

At anyrate, LED lights are definitely a good option since they're stupid cheap to run for long term. Thanks for the advice!

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