A drafty bedroom. An ice-cold bathroom floor. To renters, wintertime in older Chicago apartments can seem like one neverending, bone-chilling bother. If only you had your own place, you figure, you’d fix it up right and wouldn’t have to wear your mittens inside. The problem is that most renters assume they can only warm up their apartments through substantial (and prohibitively expensive) remodeling. In fact, there are plenty of inexpensive and simple ways that you can winterize your Chicago apartment.
Simple Habits to Live By
The little things you do each day can make a big difference to your apartment’s temperature. During the day, open the curtains of any windows that receive direct sunlight. Letting that sunshine in will help heat your living space the natural way. On the other hand, keeping doors open can hurt your winterizing campaign. Shut the doors between individual rooms in your apartment and contain the area that you maintain heated. When you concentrate on keeping a smaller area warm, you’ll make your heating bills go further toward your winter-long comfort. Finally, consider furniture placement; a sofa blocking a radiator will hugely interfere with your overall heating.
Stop Drafts Where They Start
Your first priority is to give your apartment a thorough check-over. Feel around the edges of windows and exterior doors to detect where cold air is coming inside. If you have older windows, you can reduce the drafts by hanging insulated drapes. While good-quality drapes for larger windows may be costly, at least you can bring them with you from apartment to apartment, making them a reasonable investment for a renter. In addition to drapes, consider using insulating window film on larger windows to lock the warmth in and the cold out. As you check around for drafts, don’t be surprised if windows and doors aren’t the only suspects. Most people overlook outlets and switches, which can collectively let in an astonishing amount of cold air. Luckily, it’s easy to insulate outlets. Plus, you can take the foam insulation gaskets with you whenever you move next.
Small Investments for Big Savings
If you’re willing to put a little funding toward your cold-weather comfort, a little investment can go a long way. Investing in a programmable digital thermostat can help you to precisely time when you turn the heating on and off. Instead of leaving the heating on when you go out, use the timer function to turn it on just before you return home from work. Likewise, it’s rarely necessary to keep the heating on throughout the night. Investing in a digital thermostat allows you to sleep in a cooler room, snugly under your covers, but still wake up to a welcoming and warm apartment.
To really make the most of your rental apartment, you’ll have to think a bit outside the box. For example, many renters assume that space heaters are their only hope for warmth. In fact, space heaters can pose serious fire hazards and, for this reason, are expressly forbidden within many rental agreements. A better investment may actually be a humidifier. If your ambient humidity is below 40 in the winter months, bringing it up to between 40 and 50 percent can reverse the “chilled to the bone” feeling that often comes with dry air.
Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you can’t turn your apartment into your dream home. With the right changes, you can easily and inexpensively winterize the frostiest Chicago apartment. All that remains is to give your place a little inspection and then to get to work, stopping those drafts in their tracks.