How Can I Insulate My Condo?

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Stopping warm air from escaping and cold air from infiltrating your condo not only means a more comfortable home, it also results in lower heating costs, which saves you money. A well-insulated home uses less energy, which also helps the environment. Condo owners and renters alike can take a few steps to better insulate their units. Adding insulation to the walls may be out of the question if you rent, or financially impossible if you own, but you can take other steps to insulate your condo.

Things You'll Need

  • Weather-stripping
  • Insulating caulk
  • Insulating window film
  • Thermal window treatments
  • Patching compound
  • Foam pipe insulation
  • Styrofoam
  • Cardboard
  • Stop air leaks around windows by applying weather stripping. Check around window frames for air leaks, as well, and insulate the perimeter with insulating caulk, applied according to package instructions, if you find any leaks. Use stick-on foam weather stripping to stop air leaks around window sills and frames. Measure carefully, and cut the weather stripping to the length of the window sills. Open the window and press the weatherstripping on to the sill. Close the window for a tight seal.

  • Insulate single-paned windows by covering them with insulating window film, which Puget Sound Energy claims can eliminate 50 percent of the heat lost through windows. Apply window film with by taping it to the outer edges of the windows or to the window frame; apply heat-shrink film according to package directions.

  • Keep the damper closed on fireplaces when not in use, or add glass or metal doors to your fireplace that close tightly enough to prevent warm air from escaping up the chimney and cold air from coming in.

  • Check around door frames for cold air infiltration. Weather-strip entry doors with weather-stripping specifically for doors; cut to the length of your door jamb, then apply as in Step 1, creating a tight seal when the door closes. Apply weather-stripping caulk, following package directions, around door frames to block cold air leaks.

  • Insulate sliding glass or French doors with weather stripping caulk, which is similar to regular caulk but can be easily peeled away when no longer necessary. Apply it according to package directions. Insulate around door frames with caulk, also applied according to package directions. Cover sliding glass or French doors with thermal draperies to prevent cold air infiltration.

  • Patch or fill holes in walls, ceilings or floors that allow warm air to escape and cold air to come in. Use a patching or filling compound labeled for use with your wall, ceiling or floor material, and apply according to package instructions. Check closets and under sinks for holes around pipes. Wrap pipes with foam pipe sleeves to fill small holes; cover larger holes with styrofoam or cardboard cut to fit tightly and secured with tape or staples.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you own your condo, consider replacing old single-paned and/or leaky windows if financially feasible and allowed by the homeowners' association, if you have one.
  • If you rent your condo, ask your landlord for permission before applying permanent insulating materials such as caulk. Your landlord may prefer to make these improvements himself.
  • Apply weather stripping to a clean surface and in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for best adhesion.
  • Puget Sound Energy warns condo and apartment dwellers against stopping all air leaks if the condo or apartment is not sufficiently ventilated. Signs of insufficient ventilation include condensation on double-paned windows, stuffy or musty odors, or a fireplace that does not readily establish a draft. In condos or apartments without sufficient ventilation that have combustion appliances, such as natural gas appliances or heat, take care against stopping up all air leaks in order to prevent build-up of carbon monoxide. As an additional safeguard, install carbon monoxide detectors.

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  • Photo Credit condo building image by Betty Oesterling from Fotolia.com
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