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Apartment Heating Tips for Renters

Posted by Jordan on Dec 10, 2014 11:12:47 AM

How to Stay Warm In Your Apartment This Winter

If you rent your home or apartment, you don’t always have a choice over how warm its kept. Sometimes 
you’re not able to make changes to your living space without your landlord’s permission. But you’re not completely powerless (pardon the pun). There are some cheap and easy steps you can take to make sure you stay warm in your apartment this winter. AdobeStock_48701110.jpeg

Check Your Windows

Since so much heat loss literally goes out the window in the winter, that’s a great place to start. Check to make sure all windows are closed and locked tight. See if there are screens that need to be swapped out for storm panels. Make sure to either remove or cover an air conditioning unit that uses a window or is built into the wall. Checking your windows and other simple tricks and tips for energy savings can drastically improve your comfort during winter.

Curtains and Blinds

Did you know they make energy-efficient window treatments? Well, they do! If you or your landlord haven’t already bought window curtains or blinds, looking for cellular shades or quilted shades is a wonderful option for keeping your home warmer. These are shades and blinds that provide insulation with layers of batting (quilted) or a honeycomb design to keep cold air trapped in between cells (cellular).

If you already have window treatments, getting a second layer of curtains can help keep cold air trapped closer to the window. In winter, take advantage of the sun by keeping drapes to sunward-facing windows open during the day to bring in warmth. 

Keep Heat Vents and Radiators Free From Blockages

Heat can’t get through a vent and circulate into the room if you have a couch blocking it. See if there is a way to rearrange your home to make sure all air registers are clear of furniture so that air can circulate freely, and think twice about covering your radiators with wooden cabinets. That may look nice, but it greatly reduces the radiant heat. Radiators need to radiate to work.

The U.S. Department of Energy's heating tips indicate that if your home has radiators, place heat-resistant reflectors between radiators and walls. Reflectors can help spread the heat to the room instead of just creating a warm spot on the wall.

In apartments with baseboard heating (often called baseboard radiation), look for any kind of air blockage, because air must flow through them to heat properly. Some have dampers on the outlet (top side) that can close if bumped, cutting off almost all heat. And new carpet can cover the inlet (bottom side) if it isn’t trimmed properly at the spot that meets the baseboard heating.

Space Heaters

A space heater is an option for heating a small area. However, safety should be a primary concern if you choose to use one. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of portable space heaters, resulting in more than 300 deaths. In addition, an estimated 6,000 people receive hospital emergency room care for burn injuries associated with contacting the hot surfaces of room heaters. 

If you plan on getting a space heater:

  • Get a model with an automatic shut off feature.
  • Get one that doesn’t have an open heat source.
  • Put it on a flat surface area away from pets, children and foot traffic.

Draft Snakes

This is an easy, inexpensive idea, and the way that your ancestors and grandparents “went green” long before that was a buzzword. Put long cloth tubes (snakes) against the bottom of drafty sliding glass doors or in the entrance of your apartment. Something as simple as a rolled rug or long tube socks filled with beans can prevent heat loss. Good Housekeeping has a great guide to making your own draft snake.


For more energy saving and home comfort tips, visit! Stay Comfy, Minnesota is your Minnesota resource for air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC tips and advice.

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Topics: Heating