Tips for Winterizing and Insulating Your Apartment
After the leaves have all fallen and the warm days of autumn are turning chilly, it’s time to think about ways to winterize your apartment. Winterizing your apartment not only keeps it toasty and warm during the cold months, but properly insulating your place can help keep your monthly energy bills down, too. There are many ways to keep your apartment insulated and energy efficient — and we’ve got a plan for you.
Tips for Insulating and Staying Warm
Preparing for the first day of winter should happen early in fall so you’re ready when the weather takes a turn. Consider trying these winterization ideas on your apartment:
Insulate the windows. To start, you can install window film to further keep your windows from leaking cold air into your apartment. Inexpensive kits can pay for themselves quickly, and they’re virtually invisible when done correctly. You can also get a large roll of bubble wrap and cut sections to fit the glass portion of your windows. Spray the window down with water and apply the bubble side of the bubble wrap directly to the window, and tape the outside edges down to seal the cold air out. Light will still get through and you’ll stay warmer.
Install thermal curtains. These heavy curtains are widely available at department stores and online, where you can order custom sizes and colors for about the same as what the retail outlets charge. An added benefit of thermal curtains is that they’re also great at blocking out light while they act as thermal barriers to windows, helping keep warm air from escaping.
Change the ceiling fan’s direction. During the warm months, airflow aiming down can cool you off. When it’s reversed, that same fan can move warm air from the top of the room lower into the living space by simply flipping a switch found on the side of the fan. Often, fans with remotes will change the direction of the blades with the push of a button.
Pick up a few door sweeps. Door sweeps are essentially long, thin bean bags that run the length of the door where it meets the floor on the inside of your home. They block cold outside air from entering under the door. Get one for each door that leads outside.
Insulate walls for heat. Wall hangings and even large ornamental rugs mounted to an exterior wall can significantly reduce the amount of heat loss that would result otherwise. They can also add a lot of luster to a large, undecorated space. Much like leaky windows that can drain a space of it’s heat, a cold outside wall can be kept a bit warmer with a thermal barrier.
Keep the Cold Air at Bay and Improve Creature Comforts
Find comfort in a warm blanket. Late spring is a great time to bargain hunt for next year’s super warm comforters. So mark your calendars to turn on your shopping radar and look for sales on down comforters and bedding. You’ll be glad you did when fall arrives. You can further bulk up your bedding by getting a good set of flannel sheets and a down mattress pad.
Get thick floor coverings. Another great way to keep the cold at bay is to warm up your rooms with area rugs. Hardwood does have its appeal, but many of the older floors have seen better days and are not well sealed, allowing air to escape through them. A thermal barrier like a thick rug and a pad under it can do wonders to cut down on the surface area that’s exposing your apartment to heat loss through the floor.
Humidify for comfort and health. Don’t overlook the many benefits of getting a good humidifier this winter. In addition to adding moisture to the air, they’re great at helping you breathe more naturally during the cold months. Be sure to clean it regularly according to the instructions in the user’s guide. Although ultrasonic humidifiers can seem a little more user friendly, their daily ease-of-use can be outweighed by the amount of time and effort needed to clean them. Other humidifiers use filters to draw water into the air with the aid of a fan and only require the occasional replacement of a filter.
Decrease Your Energy Bills with Your Landlord’s Help
Some of the tips below may need your landlord’s approval or help in getting the job done.
Seal leaky windows with rope caulk. If you can see daylight between your window and the outside, or if it’s noticeably colder near the window, filling the space with rope caulk is a simple fix. Be sure to install your storm windows before you seal the windows with the caulk. Roles of pliable caulk can be found in hardware stores and they come in many colors to match your window’s paint or wood color. Simply unroll and press the rope caulk into the seam between the window and the windowsill and up the sides as well. Remember to also lock the windows, since every little bit helps. Simply peel it away in spring to remove.
Inspect your HVAC ducts. Ask that your landlord take a look around the exposed portions of you HVAC ducts and inspect them for leaks and holes. Seal them up with duct tape or another heat tolerant tape to ensure that your warm air gets where it’s supposed to go. Professional groups specializing in vent sealing services are available as well.
Look at the attic door. As much as 30% of your heat can escape through the attic door if it’s not sealed well. Get on a ladder and take a look at how the ceiling door is closing and use rope caulk or other sealers to keep warm air from drifting away.
Get your water heater a blanket. Check with your landlord and see if your water heater can be fitted with an insulating blanket. Made of many materials from denim to foil coated bubble wrap, these simple jackets seal together with inexpensive silver aluminum foil tape. Your water will stay hot longer, and the blanket can extend the life of the water heater because it will be in use less frequently. Similar wraps and jackets are available for window-mounted air conditioners as well.
Get smart about temperature control. Installing a Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostat, like Nest, is a great way to custom-program and control your heating budget. Want to learn more about the power of Wi-Fi in your home? Check out the details on how to get smart home savvy.
Small adjustments to your living space can make your place more livable and help keep the bills down. Don’t forget — while you’re making changes to your home in preparation for winter, take a little time and review your renters policy with an American Family Insurance agent. You’ll feel great knowing that your investments are well protected.