We're sure you've heard of winterizing your car, but have you thought about doing something similar for your apartment? Well, it's definitely a thing, and it's as much about comfort and good living conditions as it is about saving you on utility costs. If you haven't already taken the time to prep for the colder weather where you live (we make exceptions for Florida and Southern California residents since their temps tend not to plunge like the rest of the country). Here are five ways to winterize your apartment.
Raise Your Window Screens and Close Storm Windows
This is the #1 way you lose heat out of your apartment when it gets cold, but it's easy to forget. You've enjoyed having our windows open to enjoy the fresh air, but don't ignore the fact that cold air creeps in quickly through your closed windows if you don't have the storm windows fully deployed. Simply slide up your screens into the top half and then slide the storm windows down so both your upper windows and lower windows have two layers of glass. If you have triple pane glass, you probably don't have to worry about this, but otherwise, be mindful. This creates a thermal barrier between the two glass panes and also traps heat. If there are gaps or closure issues, notify your landlord.
Check Door Gaps and Close Closet Doors
It's easy to overlook spaces in doorways, but there can be significant gaps that allow heat to escape and make for a drafty apartment. Sometimes you have to get on your hands and knees to see if they're there. Most likely your apartment's hallway isn't heated, so even if your entry door faces an interior space, pay attention. If your landlord won't fix those gaps, you can always get draft stoppers that simply lay at the bottom of your doors. Also, don't leave unheated spaces like closets open to rooms that have heat. It's an additional space to heat, and it will keep your heater/radiator running longer than necessary. If you need something, get in and out quickly.
Use a Thermal Barrier Plastic Window Shield
You can buy them for cheap on the internet or at your local hardware store. These window barriers are great, especially if your apartment is older and the windows aren't the greatest. Simply follow the instructions, and you'll probably need a hairdryer to make sure the film is taut when you've applied the tape to the edges. Just keep in mind that you probably won't be able to open your windows during the winter unless you want to break that plane. The good news is that you'll notice your apartment is warmer and your heating bill is lower.
Make Sure Your Heater is Working Properly
Whether you have radiant heat (radiators), baseboard heaters, or central air, make sure your system is working efficiently. This means filters need to be changed for central air and radiators need to be bled by a certified HVAC technician. Bleeding radiators removes pockets of air that prevent your radiators from operating properly, but make sure you don't try it yourself. Have your landlord call in a professional. Talk to your landlord about these matters and he/she can fill you in on the last maintenance performed. Keep in mind that air filters should be changed a few times a year, and your radiators should be bled annually.
Use Curtains Wisely
If you don't have curtains in your apartment, you might want to consider getting some. Not only are they decorative and add character to your apartment, but they're also tremendously practical. We're not talking about the flimsy kind, either. Good cloth curtains can keep heat inside your apartment where it belongs, especially at night. Make sure your landlord allows you to install them because you'll need to install curtain rods, as well. During the day, if you have windows that face east or west, open those curtains to allow the sun to shine through and naturally heat your place. This is another way to save on heating costs.
Change the Direction of Your Ceiling Fans
Chances are your apartment has ceiling fans, at least in the kitchen and possibly the bedrooms. Ceiling fans aren't just good for cooling, but they are also a great way to maximize heat usage in your apartment. Make sure you check the direction they're moving in since they should push hot air down in winter (hot air rises). Look at the direction in which the blades are moving. If they're rotating and pushing the air down, you've got it right. If not, use the switch or remote control to change the direction for the colder months. You don't even need to put it on the highest setting. Just set it to low, and allow the ceiling fan to do the work to gently push the warm air down. You'll notice a difference pretty quickly.