how can a renter cut the heating bill? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 10-27-2008, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
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We live in a rental apt. Our heating is forced air (electric)-- last winter, our electric bill was on the high side, and we want to see what we can do this year to keep it down. It seems that a lot of the options that I’ve been reading on these threads involve doing different things with the windows.

We have venetian (horizontal blinds) on all the windows that we can’t move. I know that those “shrink-wrap” kits are popular for insulation, but from the pictures, I don’t think that they’ll work for us with the blinds. What type of “temporary” insulation can we use with the blinds?—I know that some curtains might work, but since we’re not here long term (we might not even be here next winter), I don’t want to invest money in curtains and all the hardware.
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#2 of 10 Old 10-27-2008, 10:08 PM
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You can by some cheap fleece (white lets the light through well) and thumbtack it over the windows, blinds and all. That will help a LOT. Tack it as tightly as you can. YOu'll still get some light through but the warmth will increase a lot.
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#3 of 10 Old 10-27-2008, 10:10 PM
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Invest in warm bedding. We just switched our blankets out for inexpensive polyester filled duvets from Ikea and hardly need to run the heater at night at all.

Also, do what you can to keep the breezes out. If you can't shrink wrap you windows inside, see if you could shrink wrap the outside. If not, maybe you can hang thick curtains. You can stuff long rolls of fabric and put them at the base of your door to keep air from blowing in under it. Also, make sure your doors are hung evenly. A crooked door can let air in at both the top and bottom.

That's what I can think of off the top of my head. Hope that helps!

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#4 of 10 Old 10-27-2008, 10:48 PM
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In one of the apartments we lived we just used whatever we had that looked ok and used pins to pin it (I think we mostly used white sheets) into the molding around the window. We've also used a credit card to shove teh sheet into the space between teh top of the blinds and the top of the window frame. Not the prettiest but it helped to keep the drafts down and the warm air in.
Also if its central, you could get a heater and keep teh central turned down low and only heat the room you are in. We did that last year in the place we were in. Kept it at 50 for every room except the room where we were we had a space heater and kept that room about 63 degrees.
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#5 of 10 Old 10-27-2008, 11:17 PM
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Curtains don't need to be expensive - we always pull the blinds up and plastic the windows and then install cheap $2 curtain rods and curtains made out of whatever is in the $1 bin. It makes an enormous difference.

Also, caulk. Caulk everywhere there is a breeze. Hold up and candle and watch where the flame flickers to find hidden leaks.

The other thing that we've done is to get some magnetic heat register covers and close off the heat in little-used rooms (spare bedrooms, bathroom, pantries/storage, basements) so that more of it gets delivered where we actually live.

Then, turn your thermostat down and get some cheap used throw blankets to scatter everywhere. Makes an ENORMOUS difference.

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#6 of 10 Old 10-27-2008, 11:47 PM
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I don't know if I can explain this so it makes sense but, what my FIL would do is put plastic over the windows, blinds and all, and cut a small hole at the top to thread the cord through (if the plastic is thin you could put some tape over the spot and cut throught the tape to keep the plastic from running). It's not completely air tight but it does still cut down on drafts.
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#7 of 10 Old 10-28-2008, 12:03 AM
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Your landlord will not be happy with you if you caulk windows shut though.

You can buy "replaceable cord weatherstrip" by M-D at home improvement is super inexpensive and you just apply it with your fingers, and it does not harden to become "permanent" like caulk does - they told me I can remove it in the spring with just a plastic putty knife to dig it from the cracks but it does not harden into place. I just applied it to all of our upstairs windows !

Also I am making insulated blinds for all of our windows using inexpensive tension rods and thrift store/donated blankets...just sewing a rod pocket at the top for the rod and hanging them - -no hardware required - our regular blinds hold them in place against the glass. If you use a light color fabric that is not too heavy you can still get light through too.

Originally Posted by Belleweather View Post

Also, caulk. Caulk everywhere there is a breeze. Hold up and candle and watch where the flame flickers to find hidden leaks.

DS1 March 2003DS2 Sept 2005,
and 3 , in our happy secular
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#8 of 10 Old 10-28-2008, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by HappyLamb View Post
We have venetian (horizontal blinds) on all the windows that we can’t move.
I just want to be sure about this. Do you mean you aren't allowed to remove them or that there is no way to remove them and install the plastic?

Do you have outside access to your windows? I see lots of homes around here with the plastic around the windows outside. Might not work if you are in an apartment/condo but you might be able to do it in a house. (okay, I just re-read and see you are in an apt.) You could also try heavy weight plastic and staple it around the outside of the window frame (inside the house). You just wouldn't have access to adjust the blinds.

I almost always see heavy curtains at the thrift stores. You could even tack them up over the windows if you don't see hardware there, too. We moved last January. I took the curtains down a week before moving, and even though the last bill was for a three week period, because I didn't have the curtains, it was much higher than before.

Rice socks for all the doors to keep drafts down at the bottom. And there's that foam that comes on rolls to put in the door frames. I never can figure out how to install it correctly, though.
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#9 of 10 Old 10-28-2008, 02:07 AM
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Buy the curtain hardware at IKEA, take it with you to your next house. go to your local Joanns' get a 40% off coupon and make super cheap curtains, and take them to your next house too. Tab top curtains, or simple squares on those hanging rings will fit all windows in all houses. Mine are made of sheets with lightblocking fabric backing.
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#10 of 10 Old 10-28-2008, 02:56 AM
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What kind of thermostat do you have? At our last rental house, it was one of those old dial ones.. so we bought an electric (digital) one that we could program (about $40 at Home Depot). It saved us $, I swear it did. And we just removed it and put the old one back when we moved out.
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