I'm renting a home that was built in 1982 and has some issues. Mainly, it needs all new windows, the attic insulation needs to be redone, and the doors should be replaced, but at the very least needs new weather stripping.

It is a two story home and the hard freeze we just went through really opened my eyes. Despite the fact that we ran the heater at 72, there was a significant difference between the upstairs and downstairs temps, a 12 degree difference to be precise. While things were quite toasty upstairs, down stairs was cold and unbearable. We have only one thermostat and all vents were open.

Near the doors and windows, you can feel the cold coming in, almost like the window is open. In fact, may days it sounds like the windows are open, but they aren't. I've applied caulk to the exterior of the windows to help with not much luck. I'm renting the home so spending thousands on new windows is out of the question. It's a situation where we are renting now with the option to buy within the next year or two, but there is obviously no guarantee.

Are there any options to at least mitigate the poor efficiency or am I just screwed in that regard. Summers aren't much better considering its a 2400 sq. ft home and the electric bill was in excess of $750/ month, which to me is ridiculous. Any ideas, feedback, etc is appreciated.

  • 3
    As a renter not much you can do, unless the landlord approves and maybe give you a discount on the rent. Warm air rises so closing upstairs vents and pumping the heat down stairs might help a bit to even out the heat. Weatherstripping around the doors and maybe those window insulation kits if the windows are drafty.
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 19 at 23:35

2 Answers 2


Window insulation kits can help. In a rental, I would recommend putting up painter's tape around the entire window, taping the double-sided tape there, and securing the plastic to the double-sided tape. I suggest this in a rental so that you're not trying to pull double-sided tape off of a painted wall. I've also used clear/opaque shower liners from the dollar store in a pinch when I've had a lot of windows to cover.

Depending on whether the windows are original (wood) with screens/storm windows or vinyl replacement windows - make sure the storm windows are down. They're intended to maintain/regulate the internal temperature of the house and will do so provided they're maintained/re-glazed every decade or so.

For the doors, if you're able to see light from the outside when the door is closed they'd need to be re-hung by a carpenter. When homes shift--all homes do this--the doors don't always shift accordingly. A short-term solution is foam weather stripping along the edge where the doors meet the frame; however, its not intended to be a a long-term fix. None of these suggestions are, hence the term 'home maintenance.'

These suggestions are intended to get you through the winter. Ultimately it is your landlord's responsibility to do things like have the furnace checked/maintained each fall/spring. Another thing they'd ideally look at is how old the insulation is in the home. These are not 'older home' issues, they're issues that present themselves when a home isn't maintained.

Source; past rental experiences, research, talking with people who preserve and restore midcentury homes. I'm not claiming that link is research, its a lot of the same advice I'd found in a single post.


The obvious answer is to move and look for a better house.

Otherwise, look for heat transfer kits that you can install yourself. Better ones have winter/summer switch. This way you can transfer the heat to/from upstairs to downstairs. If you cant place them in the ceiling or walls, then you will have to live with ugly ducts.

If you have more than two floors and Or if you are able to, you can install multiple such units from one room to the room below.

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