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There’s nothing like a hint from Mother Nature to show you that the cute, breezy apartment you moved into this summer is a drafty nightmare in the winter. So what’s the best way to seal out the cold air and finally be able to walk around your apartment without wearing four sweaters at a time?
In short, focus on window insulation.
A single pane of glass can lose nearly 10 times as much heat as the same area of an insulated wall1—and depending on when your apartment was last remodeled, your heater might be working overtime trying to make up the difference.
While you might not be able to convince your landlord to replace your windows altogether, window insulation is an easy way to keep your apartment warm and lower your utility costs.
5 ways to insulate your apartment windows
1. Use window insulation film
Window film creates an insulating barrier between the interior of your apartment and your windows. Kits typically include plastic shrink film that you apply to the indoor window frame using double-sided sticky tape. Simply heat the film with a hair dryer to shrink it and remove wrinkles.
2. Cover your windows with bubble wrap
It may not look pretty, but bubble wrap is a great way to insulate your apartment windows. Simply spray a mist of water over the inside of your clean window and hold the bubble side of the bubble wrap to the wet window. Sealing the edges with tape may help keep heat in but can lift paint when removed.
3. Install removable magnetic window insulation
Removable magnetic window insulation is the perfect solution if you want to occasionally open your windows during the winter. Instead of tape, magnets hold the insulating vinyl in place so you can put the insulation in place on cold days and leave it off otherwise. Here’s how it works:
- Apply several coats of magnetic paint to the window trim.
- Measure and cut the vinyl to fit your window.
- Attach magnetic tape to the vinyl.
The magnetic tape will hold the vinyl to the magnetic paint and still be easy to remove.
4. Use rope caulk to seal cracks
Rope caulk is a little like Silly Putty rolled out into a long rope that you can pull apart and jam into large gaps and spaces in your windows. Simply press the rope caulk inside the window cases along the edges. If you live in a ground-floor apartment, do the outside of the windows as well for extra insulation.
5. Add thermal curtains to your windows
Thermal curtains feature a special lining that holds warm air inside during the winter and blocks the heat during the summer. Thermal curtains also block out light and help reduce noise. Make sure your curtains cover your windows completely so they effectively insulate your apartment windows for winter.
The best houseplants for your state
People everywhere are getting green thumbs, due in no small part to the outbreak of COVID-19. Raising plants in your home can be a satisfying way to pass the time, but not every place has the same plant-friendly climate.
We wanted to know which houseplants are best equipped to thrive in each state’s weather, so we compared light, water, and temperature preferences of 20 of the most popular plants in America. We then weighed them against each state’s average temperature, percentage of sun, and inches of rain to find the best matches.
How do popular houseplants compare?
Peperomia was the most optimal match for nine different states, particularly on the East Coast. It requires medium to bright light with a wide temperature range of 55–80 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for those looking for something easy.
Five states would find a friend in the golden pothos, an easy-to-maintain plant that generally prefers humidity but can also tolerate temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although the Chinese money plant requires regular watering, it can tolerate temps as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit and grows well in indirect light—just watch out for temperature swings and dry soil.
Monstera’s a challenge to maintain in some states, but if you live in a southern coastal state, the indirect light-loving plant will be perfect for adding extra flair to your home. Just make sure it’s got water.
These popular plants match up with at least one state’s average climate:
- Snake plant
- Chinese evergreen
- Spider plant
- Ponytail palm
- ZZ (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
- Air plant
Which popular plants didn’t quite make the cut?
Of the 20 popular plants in our list, the following didn’t make the most optimal match for any states:
- Aloe vera
- Majesty palm
- Fiddle-leaf fig
- Rubber plant
These plants can still work for your home. Just make sure your local climate can support them and that you’re willing to keep up with their maintenance schedules.
Should you pick up your state’s best houseplant?
Of course, just because a plant is popular and matches your state’s average climate doesn’t always mean it’s the right one for you. You should also consider your plant parenting abilities (not all of us can remember to water a plant more than once a month, okay?).
Outside or inside, your plant will be happiest when it gets the proper light. And if you live in a state where the temperature swings, make sure your plant can handle it.
If you’re looking for minimal effort (no stepladders required), put your plants where they’re easy to water—or where they can receive enough rain on their own.
Owning a plant is a labor of love no matter how little effort you’re required to put in. Even different parts of your home can cause your plant to either thrive or wither, so check in on your plant pals often as they keep you company through the quarantine and beyond.