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During my time as a New York City dweller, I have not been blessed with apartments that allow me to control my own heat or have central AC. On top of that, many of my apartments have been older and thus are not well-insulated, with plenty of unsealed areas that allow hot or cold air to sneak in, driving my electricity bill up regardless of whether it’s winter or summer.
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When the temps started to dip and it got so chilly in my apartment that my roommate and I were shuffling around in blankets and the cat was using the heating pad to get warm, I knew that I had to find a solution for all of the windows letting in blasts of cold air (especially considering many NYC landlords don’t turn on the heat until the end of October or later). Luckily, I stumbled upon 3M’s Interior Transparent Weather Sealing Tape on Amazon and decided that, for under $10, it was worth trying.
To install it, I placed the tape (which looks like your typical clear tape) over the top and sides of my window. I used about six 4′ strips of tape and had plenty remaining on my roll. It wasn’t hard to figure out where to tape — I just put my hand over the panes to determine where there was the biggest draft. I pushed the tape into every cranny, making sure to cover the area around the window latch. The leaks were staunched — I couldn’t feel the cold air anymore. This, of course, did not magically make our sluggish radiator any better, but it did help a decent amount, and I didn’t feel like I had to plug in my space heater to overcome the evening chills.
This hack isn’t only for winter, however. Rather than removing it entirely for this past summer, we reapplied all six pieces, so the cold air from our AC units didn’t get diluted with hot, humid outside air. Our electric bill in the summer can be as expensive as $150-200 a month, but it barely cracked $60 most of the season, despite the fact that we ran our AC and fans each night.
What I like best about this tape is that it’s transparent, you don’t really notice it on the windows aside from when the sun is directly reflecting off of it. And it hasn’t peeled off any of the paint on our windowsills, aside from a bit leftover from a “landlord special” that should not have been there in the first place.
If you want to be as energy efficient (and cozy!) as possible this winter, I recommend adding this tape to your cart. An added bonus: There are fewer spots for ants, mosquitos, and other creepy crawlies to sneak in.