The leaves are at their colorful crescendo, that spectacular finish before their end on the chilly ground, and the Ghost of Winters Future has officially knocked on our front doors again. While you may be opening your windows during the day to allow for an exchange of crisp autumn air, the time is coming to think about locking out the cold air once and for all this year.

But what if you are an apartment dweller?  What should you do to keep your heating costs down this winter? First, go to our do-it-yourself energy assessment page, which has great resources for anybody interested in saving money on energy—including renters.  You may find some immediate trouble spots come to mind as you explore the site.

One common issue in apartments is needing weatherstripping around the front door.  If you can see the light from the hall coming through the doorframe at night you need weatherstripping. Home weatherization technicians look for leaks in a similar, albeit more sophisticated, way using an infrared imager. That way they can see the cold spots throughout the apartment.

Our Energy Saver site has a great section on detecting air leaks, which is great for apartment dwellers who can't afford to go all out on weatherization this year. One easy fix it can help you identify is whether you require caulking around your window frames. Also inspect the areas in the apartment where different materials meet, especially on exterior walls.

Even if your apartment is well sealed, there are many upgrades and everyday things you can do to save money and energy.  If you have double-paned windows, be sure to keep them closed.  Keeping insulating air trapped between the windows makes a huge difference. 

One good upgrade is to put in a programmable, automated thermostat. With a programmable thermostat, you won't have to worry about forgetting to turn down the heat whenever you leave. 

Another easy energy conservation upgrade is installing a water conserving showerhead. Lowering your hot water use might be the single best thing I can do to put a dent in your energy bills this winter.

Together, these few simple measures can make a sizeable cut in your energy costs and make you a whole lot cozier in the comfort of your apartment.