29 Jan Insulating Your Apartment Against Winter Storms
One of the most defining characteristics of 2018, so far, has been the weather. With high winds and low temperatures being reported across the country, many renters are realizing how drafty their apartments are. Permanent fixes like upgrading windows and doors aren’t usually an option for renters, but insulating your apartment is an easy task!
Insulating Your Apartment
There are several common ways cold air can make it’s way into your apartment. Fortunately, there are plenty of creative, inexpensive, and (most importantly for many renters) temporary fixes for all of them!
Cover windows and glass door panels in bubble wrap, the bigger the better. The air bubbles keep cold air from entering your home and warm air from leaving and the clear plastic allows natural light to enter the space. For an extra layer of protection, add a set of insulated blinds or drapes
Rope caulk is an excellent temporary solution for blocking drafts between the window and frame. Rope caulk stays flexible; it will seal drafty gaps, then remove easily without leaving any residue behind. If you live in an older building, rope caulk may be the most important tool for insulating your apartment.
Invest in weather stripping for any exterior doors. The adhesive backed insulation strips are inexpensive and widely available at hardware and big box stores. Weather stripping is easy to apply but, depending on the adhesive, may be difficult to remove. Use an adhesive remover like Goo Gone or lemon essential oil to remove weather stripping without damaging the doorframe.
To fill the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor, pick up or DIY a draft stopper. Stoppers are full on the sides and narrow in the middle, allowing them to easily slide into the gap and insulate the door without affecting its function.
Sliding patio doors are notoriously drafty. Seal the gaps, including those at the floor, with plastic, rope caulk, or weather stripping. Use double sided tape to attach foam or batt insulation to the glass, then hang heavy blankets as a final layer of protection.
Floors can be a draft source, especially if your building is older or your floors are hardwood. Cover wood and tile floors with rugs or heavy blankets to block the cold air and treat yourself to some cozy slipper socks to keep your feet warm.
Cold air may seep into your apartment through outlets and light switches, especially those located on exterior walls. To safely seal the drafts, pick up some inexpensive, precut outlet insulation. To install, simply remove the wall plate, slip the insulation pad over the switch or plug, then reattach the plate.
What Not to Do
- Space heaters, while effective, can pose a serious fire hazard. New infrared electric models are relatively safe, but should not be left unattended while in use. Exposed coil and gas fueled space heaters should never be used in an apartment.
- Do not insert insulation into fireplace chimneys. Many homeowners do this to block cold air from entering through the firebox, but the dangers posed by a blocked chimney are far to great to risk in a rental unit. Solid fireplace screens are the safest way of insulating your apartment fireplace.
- Shrink wrap insulation is considered an easy fix for drafty windows, but removing it often leaves behind a messy, damaged window frame.
Indulge in Some Winter Comfort
After you’ve sealed off any drafts, indulge in some winter comfort items to make your apartment extra cozy.
- A programmable electric thermostat will optimize your energy efficiency and ensure you never come home to a cold apartment.
- Invest in a humidifier to add warm moisture to the air and protect your skin and respiratory system from the drying effects of most heat sources. If you need help fighting the winter blues, look for a humidifier that doubles as an essential oil diffuser and customize a blend that reminds you of summer.
- Add a few houseplants to your décor. Happy plants can do wonders for your mood when everything outside is covered in snow. They’ll also improve the air quality of your apartment!
Need something to do while you’re stuck inside? Check out our tips for improving your apartment interior!