Let’s face it: winter is coming. The time of sunny afternoons, outdoor picnics, and complaining about the heat is coming to a close. With winter comes the cold–and that means preparing one’s home for a freezing onslaught of wind chills and snow days. Is your apartment ready ? There are a few simple steps one should take to winter proof your home and keep the winter chill outside where it belongs.
First things first, check to see if any of your windows are still popped open from those warm summer nights. Make sure they’re closed and secured, testing the frames and window pane for any drafty spots. Once you’ve found any leaks, there are a few varied methods of sealing the draft.
- Caulking: Caulking is a cheap and effective method of sealing, especially if your landlord agrees to cover the cost. Check both inside and outside; caulking around the window frame (either where it hit the casing or the surrounding wall and siding). Also make sure to ask the landlord about caulking before buying the material–they may either deny your request or pay for the caulk and labor themselves.
- Weatherstripping: Weatherstrips come in multiple forms, all of which are fully capable of keeping out the cold. Simply cut the strips to fit the window and place them down.
- Insulation Film: Sold in packages for up to five windows, insulation film is perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to weather-proof a window. For most kits, all you need is a hairdryer and about five minutes of your time. For about $12, you can create an airtight seal around your windows that will last throughout the season.
Of course, if you live in an older apartment, consider asking your landlord to replace the windows if they’re especially drafty. Make sure to check with the landlord or building manager to see if any materials are refundable.
Though this tip mostly goes unnoticed, sealing and insulating any outlets will keep a surprising amount of warm air in and repel any drafts. Stock up on foam outlet gaskets (you can purchase them through Amazon) for less than ten dollars. They are removable, so once you move out of your apartment you can certainly take them with you.
Put Draft Guards Under Doors
First, get into the habit of keeping any doors closed to minimize your heating space (especially to areas that don’t require heating). Second, draft proof any doors with large gaps underneath. Use either caulk between the frame and the wall or a door sweep between the floor to keep the warm air in. Much like weatherproofing windows, sealing any doors will prevent any heat from escaping.
Use Thicker Curtains
Though the windows may be sealed, adding a thick layer of fabric will trap the heat inside. Try to pull back the curtains during sunny afternoons, but keep them closed at night or during cloudy days. If possible, look for curtains in darker colors or those with thermal lining. They’re made to protect a home during harsh winter months.
Find Your Vents
Though this advice seems simple, a lot of renters tend to block their heat sources unintentionally- especially if they’ve moved in during the Summer months. Before the chill fully sets in, make an effort to find all of the vents in your home and ensure there’s no furniture blocking your heat sources. Along the same note, if you have radiators instead of vents, make sure there’s nothing on top of or directly in front of them. Any large pieces of furniture (like a sofa) will selfishly block and absorb the heat you need.
Cover Your Floors
Once last source of drafts in a home is an uninsulated floor; in fact, about 10% of heat is lost through bare floorboards. In most older buildings, hardwood floors lack insulation and allow heat to leak out. To combat this, purchase a few rugs to be placed throughout your home. For most, rugs help maintain a peace of mind. When your feet feel warmer, you feel warmer.
Though you can’t stop the inevitable onslaught of winter, you can better prepare your apartment for the upcoming months. One huge plus of renting over purchasing a home means you won’t have to undertake any huge tasks in terms of insulating your home. However, you should talk to your landlord before purchasing materials, especially if you plan on caulking any windows or doors. So, now that you know what to do, it’s time to winterize your home, save on your heating bills, and finally relax knowing the chill is outside where it belongs.