Everyone’s home has leaky parts. Exterior doors are usually the main culprits, which you can usually improve with foam tape or added weatherproofing. Leaky windows can be greatly improved with shrinkable plastic film, too. Even with my best efforts, though, I have always found one especially drafty room in any house or apartment I’ve lived in. That one room may be the main source of your heating and cooling costs by letting warm air escape in the winter and cold air escape in the summer.
When all else fails, you can save a bundle on heating costs by cutting that leaky room off from the rest of the house with a simple removable curtain. We have this curtain across the doorway into our kitchen. This cuts the drafty back door off from the rest of the house, reducing our air conditioner usage in the summer as well as our heating costs in the winter. This way, we don’t have to keep the kitchen heated all the time in the winter. The curtain also contains cooking smells, which can be helpful in some circumstances (“we’re cleaning the oven”) and disappointing in others (“I want the house to smell like bacon”). A simple tieback lets you leave the curtain open when desired.
This is a great way for renters to improve their heating and cooling without making any permanent changes. Any doorway can become a curtainway with a simple tension rod that can be installed or removed in seconds. For the curtain, I used a heavyweight upholstery cloth bought at a liquidation sale, since heavier fabric will move less under a draft and will provide more insulation. Use something you don’t mind looking at since you’ll be seeing your curtain every day. After all, any fabric will be preferable to an open doorway.