This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
This week, a cold front, AKA polar vortex is coming to town. Indeed, it was much colder getting out of work this afternoon than it was early this morning.
Our apartment windows are very flimsy. They are single paned aluminum windows that let in the frigid air. You can really feel the cold air seeping in as you get closer to the windows. We had to come up with ideas to keep the apartment warm without doing any major work. These are the options we considered:
Option 1: Install window films.
Because we rent, we cannot do anything that involves major alterations, and we want to make sure we get our security deposit back if we move. Window films are hard to remove, and after pricing them out, we found that window films were also far above the budget.
In a pinch, you can try using clear plastic wrap- just stick it around your windows to keep the draft out.
Option 2: Plastic Trash Bags
On the opposite side of expensive, some people use plastic trash bags to line the cracks and the windows. Sounds like it can work, but that would be too unsightly. It is our windows after all, and I don’t think I want to look at plastic trash bags for several days.
Option 3: Bubble Wrap
We opted for the middle ground: bubble wrap insulation. It is temporary but not so ugly. Please keep in mind this works because there’s trapped air between the bubble wrap and the window. If the window is leaking around the frame, this will not work and the window would need caulking instead.
If you are planning to do a project like this, please research the various options carefully. I am not an expert in insulation or window reinforcements, so your results may vary. You may find something else that works better in your situation. Just sharing what worked for us.
Here is how we did it:
We went to the home improvement store and bought several rolls of bubble wrap. We spent about $28 total for 2 large rolls of bubble wrap and a couple more dollars for painters tape. Upon returning home, we raised the blinds and started lining the windows with bubble wrap. We then taped the bubble wrap to the window sill with the painters tape. We lined each window of the bedrooms with the bubble wrap, making sure the drafty crack between the windows and window sills were covered.
The result was great! You can really tell the difference in the room temperature. The cold air stays out, and you can no longer feel the temperature drop and you approach the windows. From the outside, the bubble wrap does not look obvious so the apartment management won’t notice anything odd. As you can see from the photo above, the downside is, you can’t see the outside too clearly. This is only temporary though. In a few weeks, normal warm temperatures should come back, and the bubble wrap insulation will come off. Then I can recycle the bubble wrap as packing material.
What are other ways to keep your apartment warm?
- Space heater. A small space heater may help, if you set it up in the room you are in. If you are worried about heating when there is no power, a good possible choice is a propane heater such as Mr. Heater. However there are precautions that need to be taken when setting it up. I have not tried it personally, so I can’t tell you how well it works, but see this review from TacticalIntelligence.net.
- Dress in layers. When it’s this cold, and I have to go outside, I wear a tank top, a T-shirt, a turtleneck and a jacket. Am I bulky? You betcha! But it works and I don’t like to be cold so I put up with it.
- Rearrange your sheets. Cotton sheets are meant to keep you cool, but that is not what you need in a cold snap. Place the fleece or micro fiber blanket closest to you. It really works. Flannel sheets work just as well.
- Warm up your bed before getting in Use a blowdryer and warm up your bed right before getting in. If you have a dog or a cat have them snuggle in the foot of your bed – they help keep you warm as well!
- Hang old comforters or quilted blankets Readers have suggested hanging comforters or quilted blankets as curtains.
- Set up a warm room If you have no power, it’s best to congregate in one room and make it the warmest one. Set up tents and sleeping bags in the middle of the room.
- Layer on the blankets. We place several blankets in addition to the comforter on all the beds in the house.
- Drink warm liquids. Sip some herb tea and warm up. Make a nice pot of soup.
- Rice heating pad. Just pour uncooked rice into an old sock, sew it closed. Microwave it until hot and use it as a warmer.
- Run electric appliances during the day. Run the dishwasher, cook and bake during the day. They all help warm up the house.
Caution: Always make sure your room is well ventilated. Always have a carbon monoxide detector. Never turn on gas stoves for heat.
Each winter, I receive emails from apartment dwellers asking for ideas on warming up their space during a cold snap. Hopefully the tips above help out. Stay warm!