Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Efficiency Apartment

June 22, 2013

Paul asks…

Do landlords have any responsibility to improving heating efficiency?

I live in a two story (1200 sq ft) relatively old apartment in New England. Since it’s become colder, we’ve started to turn on the propane heat to keep the apartment warm. Alarming, after 3 weeks set at 66-68F, a full tank is almost empty. We had it filled and it cost $568.00. We had the propane company out to check for leaks and there’s nothing. When we asked about the heating costs while we were considering the apartment, we were told that last year the owner spent a considerable amount on propane ($4000 for the year) but this was due to the fact that he was a senior and liked the heat around 75F and he couldn’t close one of the windows in the unit. The landlord (not the owner) is highly uncooperative and very difficult to deal with. Any suggestions other than to buy a ton of space heaters and DIY insulation supplies-I have no idea how I am going to afford $568 every three weeks or survive a New England winter with out heat. Thanks!

Administrator answers:

No, they don’t. If you don’t like it move.

Carol asks…

What Apartments are good in Arlington texas?

Going to UTA. I need a one bedroom apartment for two people at about $200-$250. Any Ideas?

Administrator answers:

You might check the area just east of UTA.. Off of 2nd and 3rd There used to be some old efficiency type of apartments there, but i would be surprised if they were at the price you are wanting.

Chris asks…

How much do utilities in an apartment or condo cost?

generally speaking of course. Me and my friend are thinking of getting a place together, likely a 2 bedroom apartment.

Administrator answers:

NO ONE can give you an accurate or “average” or “run of the mill” number.

We don’t know the size of the apartment (it could be a 700SF 2 bedroom apartment or a 2000SF 2 bedroom apartment), the insulation, the energy efficiency of the appliances, double/single pane windows, efficiency and maintenance of the hot water tank and furnace, heat source, etc. All of those things will determine how much you pay.

For example one of my clients has a 4500SF home that costs $200/month for gas and $60/month for electricity (water is a flat annual fee in this city). My other client with a 2000SF home that costs $300/month for gas and $200/month for electricity. My other client has a 1100SF condo that costs $30/month for electricity and gas is included in the HOA fees. The second one sounds ridiculous and that’s because her furnace and hot water tank are both over 20 years old and haven’t been serviced in over a decade.

Sandy asks…

Is studio apartments and regular apartments the same?

I don’t mean, room size or number. I mean the price. And by regular apartments I mean 2, 3 bedrooms. Do studio apartments cost less a month? Or more?

Administrator answers:

Studio apartments are considered to be small, inexpensive apartments that are frequently found in cities, but may be found anywhere. They are also referred to as efficiency apartments. Studio apartments feature one large room that will contain a kitchen area, a living area, and an area for sleeping. The bathroom is the only separate room, along with a few closets. Generally, studio apartments are much less expensive than traditional apartments, though they feature other benefits and drawbacks as well.


Betty asks…

what size tankless water heater would I need for a 10 unit apartment complex?

I hear these new tankless water heaters are much more efficient and affordable. But is there one large enough to supply hot water to 10 apartments? Which one?

Administrator answers:

The whole purpose of tankless water heaters is to right size them. Ideally, it would be a small tankless heater per faucet but it’s often one per bathroom, one for the kitchen and one for the laundry hookups. It would defeat the efficiency to get a single tankless water heater for a 10 unit apartment complex but it may be conceivable to have one per apartment.

Consider a solar thermal water heater if you do want a single unit for the entire complex, perhaps with a gas powered tankless water heater per apartment. The vacuum tube solar collectors can get the water to temperatures above boiling even on a cloudy day. With vacuum tube collectors, the water would get hot enough to run lithium bromide absorption chillers to provide for air conditioning and ten units would be just right for the smallest such unit (absorption chillers are typically large capacity for large campuses requiring hundreds of tons of cooling but 30 ton units are available)

The flats in Asian countries typically had one gas tankless water heater per apartment mounted out on the balcony which often doubled as an extension to the kitchen, you could often see the flare of the flames in the apartments across the street. I’ve noticed that the older apartment flats in Brazil had a similar gas powered tankless water heater in the bathroom tied into a central flue shared by many apartments (the flue shared not the tankless water heater), the ones that I saw were in disrepair, replaced with regular water heater tanks but it must’ve been quite disconcerting to have that flame flare up within the bathroom itself (those older tankless water heater had a window cutout so you could see the flame). Of course, the ones marketed in the states are much more subtle and inconspicuous and are often a sealed gray box rather than something that looked like a flame throwing jetpack for the Autobots.

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