Back in August we gave you 10 ways to save energy and money in your apartment. Hopefully you took a couple of those tips and implemented them to shrink your carbon footprint and see a reduced monthly utility bill in the process. Regardless of if you’re already taking steps to be more eco-conscious, the winter months can present a new set of challenges to your monthly utilities usage. The colder weather and drier air can mean a drastic increase in heating bills, not to mention making it harder on your immune system to keep you healthy. We can’t guarantee these tips to winterize your apartment will mean no sniffles this season, but if you take a few of these steps chances are good you’ll at least feel better about your energy usage and your monthly utility bill.
1. Check your windows. It shouldn’t be a surprise that drafty windows are one of the main causes of higher-than-necessary heating bills. While you may never be able to 100% insulate windows, you should be able to stop most drafts, and one of the benefits of renting is you don’t have to take care of it on your own! If you’re not sure exactly how drafty your windows are you can light a candle next to the window then blow it out and watch the smoke. If the smoke is blowing away from the window that means you have a draft! Contact property management so a service associate can come and check it out, to see if it just needs a little caulk or if it may be a bigger issue.
2. Check your doors. Logically, outside doors can also be a big issue when it comes to making your heater work more than it should. If you’re noticing a lot of draftiness or if the weatherstripping is noticeably bad you should contact property management to replace or fix it. If you’re just feeling a slight draft you may want to consider purchasing an inexpensive draft guard or roll up some towels to place at the bottom of the door to stop the cold air from coming in.
3. Check your thermostat. Most thermostats are programmable, so take a few minutes to acclimate yourself with that feature (or call property management to explain it). There’s really no reason to heat your entire apartment when you’re not there, so if you program your thermostat to turn off (or at least way down) while you’re not home you’ll save a lot on energy costs without even realizing it! Schedule it to turn off shortly after you leave for the morning, then turn back on 30-45 minutes before you usually get back.
4. Check your furniture arrangement. This is more than just a tip for feng shui and energy flow. Take a look at where your furniture is in the room (especially heavy furniture like couches, chairs, and tables) and where the air vents are. Are any of the vents covered or blocked? If so, you’re making your heater work even harder to keep the room warm. Move the furniture around to promote airflow and help the heater do its job.
5. Purchase rugs and heavier curtains. Especially if you have coveted wooden floors, this can be an easy way to warm up your apartment. You don’t want to cover the entire floor, but strategically placing rugs under tables and couches will help trap the heat while still keeping the rich feel of the wood. If you don’t have wood floors (or if you just want an added barrier against the cold), you should think about buying and installing heavier curtains. Keep the curtains open during the day to let the sun in and naturally heat the room, then close them at night to keep the heat inside.
6. Purchase a humidifier. If humidity levels drop too low it could hurt your furniture, not to mention help spread certain types of germs. Dry air also feels cooler than wet air, which can lead to your turning up the heat more than it could be. By getting and running a humidifier you can help your heating bills, your immune system, and your furniture’s longevity. It’s a win/win/win!
7. Purchase heavier bedding. You may have already heard that sleep scientists recommend a cooler room to sleep in. In fact, studies have shown that the optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67°F. By using thicker winter bedding and programming your thermostat to turn down to 60° at night you can save on heating costs and feel more rested of a morning at the same time!