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        Hello folks,

        I am a newbie to home DIY so please be gentle on me with this question. I have researched as much as I could but whatever I did was not upto the mark to serve the purpose, hence this post.

        I live in a rented (thin walled) apartment just outside NYC. I have electric heating and my utility bill during winter time peaks to about $400/month. I maintain 60F at home, but now it is becoming a trouble for me. It is leading to health issue, so the physician has asked me to keep it at 70F and I can not afford to pay more utility bills, so I am looking for some measures.

        The wall are thin as it is and I can not do anything about it. The windows are single paned and must be a MAJOR source of heat leak. I plan to seal the windows with the film and hoping that it will serve the purpose.

        One window, kitchen window, particularly is a menace. This window leaks and the water seeps inside. The Window looks like this from outside

        The inside shots are



        The last images show some area where the water leaks and eventually freezes (so we can not open the window during the winter period.
        Sealing this window with film won't work because the water will still leak and god knows what kind of mess it will create (and the fungus it will grow in that area). The paper towel you see in one of those image is there to soak the leaking water.

        The development manager is not interested in fixing it, because it is vapor that is generated during cooking is condensed. There is no exhaust in the apartment.

        So what DIY options do I have to seal this window?

        The second question pertains to the wall AC units. The AC unit is smaller size than the hole in the window and hence the air seeps through. I have tried to seal it from inside by putting variety of plastic sheets, still there is significant heat loss. And air seeps through some place that I am not able to figure out. I have successfully sealed one of the units from outside but unable to seal the other, mainly because of the wind direction. The wind rips it open.


        So what options do I have to seal this last unit from outside, so that it holds during the high winds?

        It is going to be 60F this weekend, so I thought I might as well finish this stuff this weekend.

        Thanks a million in advance.

        (I don't know how these links will appear as there is no preview options here. Pardon me, if it brings you a more clicking work. The image gallery is at
        Posts: 3 | Registered: Dec 19, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        First, since you're just outside NYC, is NYC or another municipality the exact site for where you live? Perhaps you can get some help from the building department to force the landlord to comply.

        Are there other units in this building that also have condensation and cold air problems?

        Second, who determined that the condensation is from cooking? The landlord? This just sounds like an excuse not to fix the issue.

        Third, this is not a fix for what appears to be a sliding glass door with condensation, but you could cut down on the cold air penetration by installing thicker and longer curtains/drapes, leaving some space at the bottom so that the water doesn't become "trapped" behind the drapes.

        It's nowheres near a perfect solution but it might help. Alternately, can you put some of the thermal type plastic on the windows to help cut the heat loss? With those windows bare, you're really going to feel the cold air more than you would with even some limited covering.

        Even if you don't do much sewing, a cheaper and quicker fix would be to buy some thicker fabric and just create seams on top and bottom. It wouldn't be as lovely as the draperies you now have, but it would block some of the cold air.

        BTW, the second and third links under the AC section are just to a post site with no photo. Sometimes it takes some experimentation to get the photos posted right.

        I don't have any insight into the other questions you raise, but hope these nominal suggestions offer some help.
        Posts: 1979 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Thank you GardenSprite for your comments.

        Re: your first 3 paragraphs, the development manager is not willing to do any improvements. We are living there for last 3 years and we are fed up with the lip service. The only reason, we are still renting this unit is for the school district and there are no other rentals in the rent range we can afford. So we do not have a choice but to suck it up.

        The issues are in ALL apartments, but nobody wants to pick up fight for exactly the same reasons mentioned above. All folks do some kind of DIY thing or ignore.

        I liked the idea of thermal type plastic, but what would that be? Do I just stick this plastic to the glass? YouTube video link would be extremely beneficial.
        If possible, can you give me link to this stuff in HomeDepot? (I do not have Lowe's in my neighborhood)
        I thought of putting polystyrene sheets, but being on the first floor and highly judgemental neighbors do not make it any easy.

        For the AC units, the gallery is at if you don't mind checking it.
        (The problem I have with this forum software is, I don't see any option to preview my post, so no idea how it will look in the final post).

        Thanks for all your help in advance.
        Posts: 3 | Registered: Dec 19, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        I'm not sure what a Development Manager is but apparently he/it also serves as landlord. Typically I would think a Development Manager would have responsibility for a project under development, rather than one already finished. Notwithstanding that, I don't necessarily agree with the "suck it up" attitude, because any landlord has legal and moral responsibilities to its tenants to maintain the premises to a certain level of acceptability.

        I wouldn't consider heat loss and condensation on windows to necessarily be improvements, but rather basic conditions which need to be addressed.

        The fact that your health has been compromised as a result of this situation also suggests that the landlord needs to address this situation.

        You may not have a lot of options, but I still think contacting municipal authorities should be considered. There's also the option of a rent strike, although this would require cooperation by the other tenants.

        If the other tenants have a suck it up attitude as well, nothing is ever going to change. And it wouldn't surprise me if the landlord is counting on this intransigence to avoid its responsibilities.

        I do not intend to be cruel, but it angers me that a landlord is allowed to get away with a situation that clearly needs attention. The condensation on the window isn't going to remediate itself, and eventually may cause further damage. What then?

        As to plastic, I would google Home Depot, plug in your zip code, then just call the store and ask if they have plastic that can be applied to windows to reduce heat loss. You could also go to YouTube and search on the same parameters. I do believe though that instructions come on the packages and that it's not that difficult to install.

        ACO Hardware carries Frost King insulation sheets; you might check that out too. is a decent site for getting various instructions on a lot of DIY projects.

        I'm not sure what "highly judgmental neighbors" have to do with any decisions. I don't mean to be critical or harsh, but you're trying to conserve energy, not please the neighbors. Are they paying your utility bills?

        I can't speak to the AC issues, as I just don't have any insight into that subject. Again, you might try I've found some good suggestions on a variety of topics there.

        Good luck!

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
        Posts: 1979 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        every home center and hardware store with more than one color of paint stocks shrink-film window insulating kits. they make a big difference.

        when I was in a west-facing apartment, and we had one of those record cold windy winters, I took some 3-inch PVC and elbows and made "leaners" to hold the drapes against the bottom of the window/patio units. made a 15 degree difference.

        there is weatherstrip foam in 2x2 inch strips that you can pack around the leaky edges of the air conditioner unit. tape a little plastic sheet over that with removeable tape, and that will also cut a large amount of blow-through air.

        and get a couple of cheap fleeces for wrapping when you sit on the couch.

        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
        Posts: 5864 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Frodo
        posted Hide Post
        shrink film window insulation is the key
        i had a slum lord years ago,, the wind blew in thru all the cracks..that stuff actually works
        Posts: 4089 | Location: I live in southern mississippi | Registered: Jun 01, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Hello folks,

        Many thanks for the suggestions.

        I have used plastic films for my 2 big windows but using it for the kitchen window is not an option for condensation issue.

        The plastic thing that GardenSprite mentioned, I haven't looked into it as I am under the weather for more than a week now. This will be a new year project.
        (@GardenSprite, I agree with each and every word you say, but the situation is very tricky, hence I am not acting on the lines you suggested. Otherwise, trust me, I am probably the last person who will take any crap like this.)
        Posts: 3 | Registered: Dec 19, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        I can understand that there are issues which complicate dealing with landlords and appreciate your explanation. You have to weigh all the factors and decide what works best for you. It's not an easy situation, either.

        My comments were premised in part on having knowledge of some aggressive action toward slumlords in Detroit, and not letting them get away with mistreating their tenants. Mad

        But those options aren't available for everyone.

        I do hope you can find some good solutions and wish you the best of luck! Smile
        Posts: 1979 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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