When you're living at apartments for rent in your area, the property owners makes decisions about improving the property, including changes that would really help with your utility bills, like energy efficient windows, a new furnace, or better insulation. While you are waiting for upgrades to made to an older apartment, there are some things you can do to fight the cold-- you don't just have to grin and bear it.
Add Another Layer To Your Windows
Many older apartments have single pane windows, or windows in metal casings. Eventually, your landlord will upgrade these windows to double paned varieties with good seals. In the meantime, you can add an extra barrier during the winter months by purchasing a cellophane window insulation kit to reduce the amount of work required by your furnace.
These are easy to install: they usually just stick to the window frame with double sided tape. If you pull the plastic tightly, you end up with a smooth result. You may not even notice that it is there. You can use a blow dryer to shrink sections that ripple.
You can also purchase heavy drapes for your windows. This will reduce the natural light in your apartment, but the fabric will prevent some of the heat from leaving your apartment, and keep things cooler in the summer if you use air conditioning.
Weather-Proof Your Doors
Some apartments open right out into the outdoors. The doors on older buildings are not often the nice insulated doors your find on newer homes. If your door is wooden, light, and has cracks at the bottom that let in light, you can:
- purchase weather stripping and place it around the door frame. This helps to fill in the cracks at the top and side of your door. Weather stripping that you install yourself is made from a foam-like material, and it has a sticky side. You'll have to replace it occasionally as the adhesive and foam wear out.
- block the crack in the bottom with a body pillow or bead-filled snake while you are home.
Use A Space Heater
While using a gas furnace to heat up your whole apartment is more efficient overall, you can save money by setting the thermostat lower, and moving your space heater around with you in your apartment. Unlike a furnace, space heaters are 100% efficient in heating up a small space, and you only use one room at a time. In fact, lowering your thermostat 8 degrees and choosing the space heater method instead could end up saving you 15% on your energy bill. When you're in an apartment that is hard to keep warm, this is a great solution for staying warm and saving money.
Keep Your Doors Open
If you're living in a drafty apartment, you might think the best solution is to simply close the doors to the rooms, so that the thermostat only has to heat up the main living space. However, especially if you don't live in a building that is well insulated, closing doors costs you more. Why?
Well, when you close the door to a room, it creates a pressurized system, especially because the HVAC system is still delivering air to that room-- it still does, even if you close vents. The air in that room needs to go somewhere, and so it will go out through the already-leak-prone doors and windows. Losing air from a system means the air will need to be replaced-- your house will actually end up drawing more cold air in while letting more warm air out. It's better to let the warm air already in the house provide the heat you want by letting it circulate.