October 16 2009, 11:01 AM
Cheap Thrills has paired up with Cheap Like Me to undertake our first challenge: an eight-week program to help winterize your home or apartment and save some dough on your energy bill. I'll be showing energy-saving newbies ways to winterize a rental, and Susanna, a homeowner, will offer advanced projects for those who are more experienced with being energy efficient. We're starting today with window insulation. Recently, the weather issued its own challenge, and the early snow and freezing temperatures reminded me I hadn't done anything to winterize my new rental apartment. I sleep under a wide window, which feels like it's gushing the cold, night air onto my sleepy face. Luckily for me, there's an easy fix that's both affordable and quick to implement. Last year I had an even older, leakier rental, and a quick trip to Ace Hardware and $12 got me this window insulation kit. The process is simple. The plastic acts as a type of indoor shrink-wrap. First, apply double-sided tape to the edges of your window frame. Next, measure the window (Susanna reminded me to measure twice; one year she cut the wrong dimensions and ended up with a long plastic seam), cut the plastic to size, and press it to the double-sided tape. Once the plastic is in place, use a hair dryer to shrink and tighten the plastic across your window. The plastic becomes nearly transparent when it shrinks into place. Time commitment: This project is simple and fast. Set aside about half an hour to insulate all of the windows in a TK-square-foot apartment.