Depending on where you live, cold temperatures are unavoidable as winter sets in. After a long day trekking through the snow, curling up in a warm, cozy home sounds like a good plan. Unfortunately, many apartments have poor insulation, but living there doesn’t have to be torture every winter. Even if you rent your place, there are a few simple, inexpensive things you can do to warm yourself up without cranking the heat (if that’s even an option).
Window Insulation Kit
Windows are often the number one source for letting the chill in and the heat out. One way to keep your apartment warm is to purchase a window insulation kit. These are inexpensive and usually include window shrink film and double-sided tape that can be easily applied directly to the panes. This film helps trap heat inside while still allowing sunlight in.
A cheaper alternative to using a window insulation kit is to DIY it with bubble wrap. If you plan to give this a try, make sure you use large bubble wrap, as it works the best. All you have to do is spray water on your window to get it to stick without tape. This method is very simple, cheap, and can be taken down easily when the temperatures begin to warm up again.
Another easy way to keep heat from escaping your apartment through leaky windows is to hang thermal curtains. They are made of thick, heavy fabric with a lining that is meant to keep air from moving through. In fact, they work so well that they can also help you cut down on your heating bill. The nicest thing about thermal curtains is that they are also not particularly expensive and they come in a variety of styles and colors to match all kinds of decor.
Of course, it won’t matter if your windows or curtains are insulated if you have leaks allowing the cold air in. Inspect all of your windows carefully, where the frame meets the wall and where any windows join together, for gaps or cracks. Then, caulk the window to seal any space you see. You can also try injecting foam sealant between the frame of the house and window.
Be sure to check with your landlord before going through with this procedure to be sure you will not be penalized in any way for sealing leaks on your own.
If you don’t have control of your thermostat, you might want to consider getting a space heater. They work great in small areas, such as a bedroom or even your living room. However, since most do run on electricity, running one of these too often will drive up your electric bill.
Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Most people think fans are only good for keeping cool, but they can also help you stay warm. If you turn your ceiling fan on in reverse, it will push warm air coming from your heater or vents downward, counteracting heat’s natural tendency to rise. This also helps distribute warm air evenly around the room. Just remember to keep the fan on it’s lowest setting and make sure it’s actually in reverse.
If you have carpeted floors, you won’t need to worry about this, but anyone with hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring knows just how chilly it can be walking around in the winter. Of course, you can wear slippers (and you should because slippers are awesome), but adding an area rug or two can not only keep your feet warm, but also prevent the cold from seeping up through the floor and chilling the air.
Windows aren’t the only culprit for letting in drafts; doors can too. One easy fix is to make or purchase draft stoppers (you can place them on windowsills as well). If you decide to make your own, be sure it’s between six and 10 inches wide, made with a sturdy fabric, and slightly longer than your door frame. You can fill it with dried rice or beans, clothing scraps, or pillow stuffing. Add one to your front door and balcony door and to a basement door or drafty closet door if you have them. You can also put one at your bedroom door to make the room extra cozy at night.
Everyone should just know to layer up in the winter whether their apartment is drafty or not. It’s a good thing to get used to, especially once you start paying for utilities so you don’t end up wasting all your extra money on your heating bill. Wear thicker socks and layer a sweater and/or a zip-up hoodie over top of your regular shirt. You can also wear warmer pants and keep slippers and an extra warm housecoat on when at home. Wearing extra clothes is one of the easiest ways to combat the cold when you live in a poorly insulated apartment.
Finally, bring out the extra blankets! Put one in the living room for when you’re watching TV and an extra one at the end of your bed for those especially chilly nights. And if you really think you need it, perhaps try a heated blanket for added warmth!