For some mostly scientific and therefore unknown reason, the temperature inside of our apartment is actually colder than it is outside. I have noticed that this phenomenon is also present in some other San Francisco apartments, and it is mostly due to the fact that since the climate is technically very moderate, most apartments are pretty drafty.
This is technically good news for us, because we can institute some pretty simple do-it-yourself insulation methods that’ll keep our apartment warmer. Otherwise, we’d have to rely on very old, very poorly placed baseboard heaters, which will run up our electric bill. People in other parts of the country, however, have it much worse; I can only imagine how cold it is inside an apartment in Chicago, I won’t even get on a flight that routes through that town in the winter.
So here is a good winter weekend project for your apartment that’ll keep your heating bill down.
Basically, all that you really want to do is insulate your apartment. First, identify areas like windows, doors and even electrical outlets that let in colder air.
For windows, the easiest insulation technique is using plastic film to create a barrier of air between the cold glass of the window and the air in the apartment. You can purchase the plastic film at any hardware store and tape it to your windowsill.
First, make sure that your window’s aren’t drafty. In my apartment, I stand in front of the window and I can feel the wind magically blow through the glass, so I use two sheets of the film; the first I put about an inch from the glass stop the outside air from coming in. Next, I put another layer on the outside of the frame (pictured above). This will create warm pillow of air that will keep the surface warmer. Cold windows make for cold apartments.
So, step number 2 in the do-it-yourself plan to keep your apartment warm is taking care of the more insidious draft sources, such as doorways as well as any exterior walls and the outlets on them.
First, make sure that your doorways are not letting in gusts of cold air by purchasing specialized “draft dodgers” or simply employing the use of some household items to block cold air. If you have a rug near your entrance, you can simply lift one end up and cover the gap between the floor and the bottom of the door, or use an old towel.
Second, check to see if your outlets are letting in cold air; this leak is often overlooked, but is easily remedied with some custom electric outlet sealers. All of your outlets, although they are quite useful when they provide electricity, are also just holes in the wall.
To seal up that leak, turn off the electricity from your circuit breaker, unscrew the outlet cover, fit the foam pad around the dual sockets and screw your covers back on.
Pictured above is the actual sealer, not the outlet cover. As should be obvious, installation is pretty self-explanatory. The only caveat is to be sure that you have cut off electricity before you start poking around an electrical socket with a screwdriver.
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