Winter can be a fun time of year. You can adorn your apartment with a few cozy throw blankets, sip some hot cocoa and enjoy some holiday-cheer-filled time with friends and family. There are, however, a few steps renters can take to help prepare for the less-than-lovable parts of winter, such as the cold, brisk temperatures, dry air and muddy boots. Here are a few things you may need to be ready for the new season.
Help keep the cold outdoor drafts from coming inside by using draft guards under all exterior doors. Draft guards can simply slide under the door or are placed against the bottom of a door frame. This may be useful if you live in an older building where door frames may have shifted over time, potentially allowing for gaps in between the bottom of the door and the floor. Insulating your exterior doors may help keep cold air from entering and warm air from escaping and you may also see some savings on your heating bill, too. In fact, according to the Department of Energy (DOE), homes built before 1950 may use about 60 percent more energy per square foot than homes built after 2000.
Windows can be another area for cold air to potentially get in and warm air to escape your apartment. According to the DOE, windows may account for 10 to 25 percent of your heating bill merely by letting heat out. You may want to consider temporarily insulating your windows for the winter with a window insulator kit you can find at your local hardware store. Make sure to ask your landlord for permission before doing so. The thin plastic coating may be applied directly to your windows and glass doors, making it barely visible, but it may help, says EnergyStar.gov.
Another great way to help keep warm air from escaping your apartment is by hanging some curtains made from a heavier fabric or layering curtains, and making sure to close those curtains and blinds at night. During the day, blinds can be left open to help allow the sun to naturally warm your apartment.
You may look forward to the first snowfall of the season, but after being outside all day, it’s easy to potentially track in mud, salt, and snow. You may want to swap out your doormat with a sturdier version to wipe your feet on before you enter your apartment and potentially keep a second doormat in the entryway where you can store your boots when they’re not in use. This may help prevent the salt and melting snow from being tracked throughout your apartment.
Cold winter weather means you may also be dealing with drier-than-usual air. Balance the dryness in your place by using a humidifier that revives some humidity into the apartment, says Apartment Therapy. You may choose to have one for each room or simply one for your bedroom and use it while you sleep at night — your chapped lips and dry nose may thank you!
While keeping a basic emergency preparedness kit on hand is always a good idea, if you live in an area prone to snowstorms, you may also want to keep a separate winter storm emergency kit in your apartment. According to the American Red Cross, some items to include are a flashlight, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a multi-purpose tool, sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to de-ice walkways, and warm clothing.
Get a jump start on these items now and you’ll be ready to welcome winter and all that comes with it!