While apartment residents don’t have the same tools as homeowners to improve energy efficiency, there are several simple things you can do around your apartment to keep it cozy this winter—without cranking up the heat.
Window and Door Snakes
These “snakes” are actually draft stoppers that rest at the bottom of doors or windows to keep chilly outdoor air outside your apartment. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that reducing drafts can cut a home’s energy usage by between 5–30%. You can find store-bought options for around $10 - $15 or make them at home with little investment other than your time. Find simple DIY instructions here, or, if you’re feeling more creative, get inspired by checking out the variety of fun designs posted on Pinterest.
A layer of plastic film over your windows will help to keep even more of the cold outside. Depending on the number and size of windows in your apartment, you can find kits for insulating your windows ranging from $8 - $25. Installation is simple, requiring little more than the kit, a pair of scissors, and a hair dryer, and manufacturers claim it can save you upward of $15 per window on your winter heating bills. Find instructions for installing window film here.
Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Replacing incandescent bulbs with more efficient alternatives is a simple way to save energy year round. Not everyone is a fan of fluorescent lighting, but fortunately, that is not your only (or most efficient) option! LED replacements are available and can save 75–80% of the energy used to power traditional incandescents, while CFL bulbs save around 65–70%.
Slay Energy Vampires
Did you know that electronics suck energy from your home as long as they’re plugged in—even when they aren’t charging or in use? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a mobile phone left connected after it’s fully charged continues to draw 2.24 watts of energy, and the charger itself (with the phone disconnected) draws .26 watts as long as it’s plugged into the wall. Take a look around your apartment to see everything that's currently plugged in, and ask yourself what can reasonably be left unplugged when it's not in use. For items that would be inconvenient to unplug, use power strips where appropriate. This will allow you to turn off the power to several items at once with a flip of a switch. More advanced varieties will actually switch off the power for you when they sense it’s not needed.
Hubbell Realty wants you to stay warm and comfortable in your apartment this winter! If you’re looking for a new apartment in downtown Des Moines, West Des Moines, Johnston, Waukee, or elsewhere in the metro area, browse our wide selection of Des Moines-area apartment communities here. If you’re not sure what kind of apartment community is best for you, click here to download our free eBook!