5 Ways to Insulate Your Apartment Windows for Winter

Window filmBubble wrapMagnetic insulationRope caulkThermal curtains
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Window film Bubble wrap Magnetic insulation Rope caulk Thermal curtains
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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.

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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:

  1. Apply several coats of magnetic paint to the window trim.
  2. Measure and cut the vinyl to fit your window.
  3. Attach magnetic tape to the vinyl.

The magnetic tape will hold the vinyl to the magnetic paint and still be easy to remove.

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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.

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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.

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1. Ha, Tonya. The Australian Green Consumer Guide: Choosing Products for a Healthier Home, Planet and Bank Balance. Illustrated ed. Australia: UNSW Press, 2008. Google Books.

About Christa Baxter

Christa Baxter
Christa Baxter has worked as an editor for more than seven years. She leads the Move.org content team in producing whip-smart moving tips and recs. After relocating four times in the last calendar year, she’s got strong opinions about moving best practices. (Just don’t ever pull a Marie Kondo and suggest she whittle down her personal library.)