Thanks to some simple yet innovative products, apartment dwellers don't have to spend much to save a lot on their heating bill.
Here are a few inexpensive products you should consider buying for your apartment to help you keep warm and lower your expenses:
1. Draft Stopper/Snake
It won't keep you out of the military or give you a poisonous bite. A draft stopper, or snake, is a long cylindrical bean bag that fits along the bottom of your door or window to block cold air.
Draft stoppers (compare prices) come in many colors and patterns, with some sporting a red tongue and beady eyes to resemble a true "draft snake." You can find draft stoppers at stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond or Ace Hardware, or you can search for them online. Improvements sells a "twin" model, which fits on both sides of a door and conveniently moves along with the door as it opens and closes.
If you enjoy arts and crafts, you can create your own draft stopper to match your apartment's decor or express your personality.
Cost: Roughly $10 per snake
2. Window Insulation Kit
You can pick up a window insulation kit (compare prices) at any hardware or home improvement store. When cold months approach, you affix the plastic film insulation to your windows, using double-sided tape supplied with the kit. Installation is simple and can be done in a matter of minutes. The only other items you'll need are a pair of scissors and a hair dryer (to remove wrinkles in the insulation once you've put it up).
Cost: $10-20 per kit (covers 3-5 windows)
3. Air-Conditioner Unit Cover
It's unrealistic to remove and reinstall your heavy air-conditioning unit each year as the weather changes. Instead, to save energy, purchase a cover (compare prices) for each of your units. Measure carefully and opt for a cover that has quilted insulation (to help keep the cold air out) and elastic corners (for a snug fit).
For maximum heat savings, use both indoor and outdoor covers. If you can't safely attach your outdoor cover to your unit or your lease requires your landlord to do it, then ask your landlord for assistance.
Don't forget to remove your covers once the weather gets warm and you want to start using your air-conditioners again!
Cost: $10-20 per cover