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heating unitWhen you own your home, you’re responsible for scheduling regular maintenance with your HVAC company to ensure your heating system stays in good working order. But when you rent an apartment, that maintenance is left up to the discretion of your property manager or landlord. In some cases, tenants may not even have control over their own thermostat. But even if you rent, there are some things you can do to ensure your home is comfortable without dealing with sky-high bills. Here are some heating and energy saving tips that should help you out this winter.

Shut Windows Tightly And Install Storm Panels
You might be surprised to learn how much heat can escape through your windows and doors. This may be a particular concern if you live in an older apartment. While those antique windows might be charming, they often have gaps that allow air to escape. If you weren’t able to have windows replaced or insulated during the warmer months, you may be able to make at least a small difference by swapping out screens for storm panels and checking for leaks. If you find any, you (or your landlord) may be able to seal them with caulking or weather stripping. At the very least, make sure your windows are shut tightly and locked, and remove any window air conditioning units for the season.

Use Curtains To Your Advantage
Curtains and blinds can make a room more aesthetically pleasing, to be sure, but they can also help you keep your home a lot cozier. When it’s sunny during the day, open up those curtains to let the warmth in. When the sun starts to go down, you’ll want to shut the curtains and blinds to keep that heat inside. You can also add an extra layer of window treatments to increase the effect. There are even energy efficient window treatments to provide more insulation. This may seem like a small change, but you’d be surprised how much it helps. Plus, it’ll keep you from cranking up the heat during the night, which saves you money overall.

Don’t Block Your Vents Or Radiator
When you don’t have a lot of space in your apartment, you might be inclined to put a heavy piece of furniture over a vent or in front of a radiator. But heat can’t circulate through your home if something is blocking it. All air registers should be free of obstruction to ensure your home heats evenly. If you feel like certain rooms are colder than others, you’ll first want to check that the vents are open and uncovered. Some tenants will close or cover the vents if their home is too warm, but this can create problems down the line. Feel like your home is too warm or too cold even when the vents are open? Your HVAC system may be in need of maintenance.

Consider Space Heaters To Be A Last Resort
You might be inclined to supplement your apartment’s heat with space heating units, particularly in drafty spaces. But you should think twice before you do so. Using space heating units can take up 45% of your monthly energy bills, so it’s typically more cost-effective to fix problems with your HVAC system instead of relying on space heat. Plus, space heating units can be hazardous. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 25,000 residential fires occur every year due to the use of portable space heaters. Your personal safety should take top priority here. If you do decide a space heater is your only option, make sure to purchase one with an automatic shut-off and place it on a flat surface that’s safe from foot traffic, pets, and kids.

Although lack of maintenance responsibilities can be a perk for many renters, it can also be a source of frustration when it comes to their home heating units. However, these tips may help to lower your monthly bills and make sure your heat is being circulated and used effectively. Tried these tips with no luck? Contact your landlord and request HVAC maintenance be performed.