How to Winterproof Your Apartment
Jan 12, 2017
How to Winterproof Your Apartment
1. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Most people don't know that their ceiling fans run in the opposite direction. It may seem counter-intuitive, but reversing the spinning direction of your ceiling fans can be an invaluable tool when fighting against drafty winters. During the warm summer months, most ceiling fans turn their angled blades and spin in a clockwise direction. This pushes air down and circulates cool air throughout the room. However, if you reverse the blades (usually by a small switch above the blades) and spin the fan in a counter clockwise direction, you will be pulling the warm air from the lower parts of the room and circulating that warm air around.
2. Caulk/ Weatherstrip Windows
Poorly insulated windows, or windows with gaps are a common problem in many rental units, especially in Los Angeles where often times buildings are 40-60 years old. These openings are an insulation nightmare and can lead to much higher heating costs and much colder apartments. Conversely - these leaks can be costly during the hotter months too, allowing for precious cold to escape through the narrow openings.
There are two easy solutions for these common problems:
If you notice a small gap between the window and the sil when the window is closed, then weatherstripping is likely your best option. You can pick up home weatherstripping kits from big box retailers such as Home Depot or Lowes. Installation is usually pretty straightforward - simply attach the weatherstripping to either the sil or the bottom of the window itself and that's all!
A more challenging project would be caulking. You may want to contact your property manager before you start caulking windows as it does take some level of skill and know how to do properly. Basically you would fill in any gaps around the window frame and the wall using either a clear caulk, or one which matches the surrounding wall.
3. Insulate Outlets
The Environmental Protection Agency lists electrical outlets on exterior walls as one of the most common sources of air infiltration that let warm air escape in the winter. After all, the outlet boxes are essentially holes in your drywall, leaving only the siding between you and the elements. Much like poking a small hole in a water balloon would slowly empty it of its water, even a minor gap in your outlet boxes results in a loss of air you’ve paid to heat. And remember—whatever warm air is leaking out, that same volume of cold air is flowing in! The good news is that armed with only a flathead screwdriver and an inexpensive package of precut, fireproof insulation rectangles, you can insulate these openings and keep more of the cozy stuff inside where it belongs. You can buy the insulation at any hardware store—this is one instance where you need a fireproof material because it is inside the electric box.
4. Cover Floors
If you've ever stepped out of a cozy, warm bed late at night and your foot has touched an icy floor - then you know just how much heat seeps out of your apartment through the floor. As a renter, you may not be able to control if, or how much your unit is insulated, however, you can fight against poor insulation by adding additional padding. Using quilts or carpets to cover floors does the same thing a quilt does on the bed: it keeps in heat. Similarly, keeping your floors covered with rugs, or quilts can help to keep your apartment warmer in the cold winter months.
5. Use Draft Stoppers
Another great way to keep cold out and keep heat in, is to use draft stoppers. What is a draft stopper? A draft stopper is an item (usually cloth) that is put against a door in order to stop the flow of air from one room to the next.
The great thing about these draft stoppers is that they work well in both warm and cool weather. OPlus, they offer a fun DIY project you can do with your family and or friends. You will want to create a tube filled with some kind of insulating material. Some people use dried rice, but even simple batting will work just as well! Don't be afraid to be creative with your draft stopper!
6. Use Thick Curtains
Utilize honeycomb, or thick uv blocking curtains in any room you need to insulate. The heavy curtains not only function in the warmer temperatures to keep the heat out - they also keep the heat in during winter months. In a pinch, you can use a blanket or quilt as well!
7. Use the Oven for cooking when possible
In the colder months, break out that recipe book! Using a slow cooker or an oven can pump not only great smells, but heated air throughout your apartment.
8. Make sure vents aren't blocked
A common mistake that many renters make is to unintentionally block heating vents with furniture or other house hold decor. Especially hose renters who may have moved in during the warmer summer months. Take the time to look through your apartment and find your vents (if you have any) and make sure that you aren't unintentionally blocking a flow of warm air!
9. Keep Doors Closed
If your rental unit doesn't have central heating or air conditioning, you can isolate and enhance the heating in a specific room by closing the doors to the surrounding rooms.
How does this help to keep your apartment feeling warmer? By closing off doors to a central room (especially if you use those handy draft stoppers) then you are reducing the amount of sq feet that your heating source has to heat up. This reduces the amount of work and energy it takes to heat any given space (and means better heating results for you)
10. Open Sunny windows during the day
When you are trying to heat your rental unit, don't forget to utilize nature's heater - the sun!
If you have windows which face the sun in the hotter parts of the day, then open up those windows and allow the sun to shine through and heat up the room or the air in any given room! Its a powerful, natural solutions that won't cost you anything!
Using these simple tools, you can easily ensure that your apartment or rental unit stays warm in the winter months, without costing you a fortune