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How to insulate an apartment you don't own?

Teresa Cunningham Oct. 21, 2019Updated: Aug. 7, 2020

I'm a tenant, not a homeowner, so I can't tear down drywall and reinsulate but winter is coming and drafts are already getting in. Is there anything I can do to prevent that without upsetting my landlord? The wall I'm concerned about is the only exterior wall in the apartment, it has one window and one door. And it's in my bedroom so appearance isn't that important (I'll shut the door when guests are over). 

Responses (3)

Melissa Berentsen
Melissa Berentsen 2 months ago

I have similar situation as Teresa, I live in N.W Montana in a 25ft × 20ft 1br Apt and I'm freezing in the winter, I use the plastic with double-sided tape also put 3 blankets over windows tact up. Rolled towel at bottom of door, and my electric bills run $120 mo.

I took pictures of what they have for Insulation in the attic and it is some kind of white fluffy spayed Insulation about 6 in deep . I don't want to freeze again this Winter. Can you advise me what else I can do please.

Mike Reynolds 2 months ago

Hi Melissa

That sounds like a  high bill for a space that size. 6 inches isn't alot, but you may have nothing in the walls. It is difficult of us to council you on how to proceed given that whatever investment you might make ultimately benefits the building owner unless you stay long enough to recoup your investment thoughs savings on your bills. 

But to improve the efficiency and comfort in a space that size, the logical first step would be to do an energy audit to find out where the most losses are occuring so you know where you will best benefit by investing in insulation and airtightness. But given how high your bills are in a space that size and you're still cold, it is possible you don't even have any insulation in the walls, in which case something like injecting dense packed cellulose in the walls would be an idea, and even blowing more insulation into the attic.

Putting plastic over windows is a great idea, as for the door, if its leaking air maybe a new weather strip would help, that at least is a cheap solution. here is a page about top tips for minor energy efficiency upgrades, maybe there is something in there that can help you. I know that isn't a super helpful answer, but there are not a lot of cheap ways for a tennant to cost effectively improve the efficiency of a rental property.