If the heat in your apartment isn't working properly during a cold spell, you may feel tempted to raise the temperature any way you can. But before you get creative, take a moment to become aware of the dangers of some alternative heating options.
Think twice before you pursue any of the following risky options for heating your apartment. Not only might these options prove ineffective, but they could also cause significant harm to you and your home:
Risky Ways to Heat Your Apartment
- Running the shower. Say your heat isn't working well but you have no problem running your water very hot. It might lead you to consider running your shower at the hottest setting while leaving your bathroom door open, with the goal of having the hot bathroom air circulate through your apartment.
Here's why you should think twice before pursuing this option:
- It won't be very effective. Running your shower on the hottest setting with the bathroom door open will heat up your bathroom and probably the area just outside your bathroom. Because the source of the heat is limited to the water coming from the shower faucet, this option won't adequately heat the rest of your apartment in the way that you would like.
- It will fill your apartment with unwanted moisture. Water can leave mildew stains on the walls or grow into a mold problem after settling in porous surfaces, such as wood.
- It wastes a lot of water. Running a shower for a long time while not using it to bathe isn't environmentally friendly, and it will unnecessarily add to your water bill.
- Any benefits are short-lived. It's not realistic to keep your shower running day and night. Once you turn off the shower, your apartment will return to its prior cold state in just a matter of minutes.
- Turning on the oven. Ovens work well for their intended purpose, which is to heat food. But because an oven is a heat source, you might be tempted to try using your oven to heat your apartment, too.
Here's why that's a bad idea:
- Risk of injury. Leaving the oven door open or your stove top burners on poses a seroius burn risk.
- Risk of CO2 poisoning. If you have a gas oven and don't use it properly, you and your roommates could suffer carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Limited effects. Standing right near the oven, you may feel toasty. But there's no mechanism to get the hot air circulating through the rest of your apartment. Plus, spending your days and nights standing or sleeping next to an open oven is neither convenient nor safe.
- Lighting candles. Candles can add some accent lighting along with a certain ambiance and aroma to your space.
But you shouldn't rely on candles to heat your apartment because:
- They're not very effective. Candles do add some extra warmth to apartments. However, it's almost certainly not enough to do the trick if your apartment heat isn't working properly to begin with.
- They pose a high risk of fire. A lit candle is more than a fire risk -- it's already a tiny fire itself. Every additional candle you light increases the chances that that candles will tip over or get blown by a draft, igniting an even larger fire inside your apartment.
What to Do if You Have Inadequate Heat
Fortunately, you can take action to properly address a heating problem in your apartment.
- Check your thermostat. If your apartment has a thermostat, fixing your heating problem could be as simple as replacing the thermostat.
- Report the problem to your landlord and follow up. Your landlord is required to keep your apartment inhabitable, which includes making sure it's warm in the winter. Many cities, such as New York, also have laws specifying the minimum temperature for apartments. So rather than resort to unusual and potential harmful methods of heating your place, it's best to report a heating issue to your landlord. If neighbors have the same problem, join forces in pursuing a solution with your landlord.
- Consider low-cost purchases. Some inexpensive items can help keep the warm air inside while saving you money on your heating bills. For example, a draft snake can help prevent unwanted cold air from wafting in from outside your apartment. Find out what low-cost purchases are available to help you.
- Take zero-cost steps to get more heat. There are things you can do to maximize heat in your apartment without paying a penny. From adjusting your window treatments to moving your furniture, find out what steps you can take and why each one works.