While our winter temperatures and precipitation have been relatively tame so far, we know winters in NYC can be brutal. January and February are particularly frigid, with average daily temperatures below freezing and sometimes dipping into single digits at night. Polar vortex of 2014 ring a bell? We try to forget.

With sub-par heating and insulation in many NYC apartments, you’ll have to get creative to avoid a perpetual cold nose, chattering teeth, and worst of all – the flu. Try these hacks for staying warm and toasty in your apartment this winter.

Know Your Rights

In NYC, the period between Oct. 1 and May 31 is designated as “heat season.” This means that all building owners are required to provide tenants with heat in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • If the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees during the day, the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees.
  • If the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees at night, the inside temperature must be at least 55 degrees.
  • If your heater isn’t working, or your landlord is purposely skimping on the heat, you can take action by calling 311.

Hack 1: Insulate Doors and Windows

The biggest culprit of a cold, drafty apartment is hot air escaping through exposed openings and crevices. This is especially common in older apartments or converted loft/factory buildings, which often lack adequate insulation. Try the following solutions to help keep the heat inside:

  1. Weather-proof your AC. If you have a window-installed air conditioning unit that can be easily removed, your best bet is to remove the unit altogether and keep the window closed for the winter. Ask your super for help with removal and storage if you don’t know how. Alternately, you can use foam insulation strips to fill any gaps between the window frame and the AC unit, along with a fabric cover to prevent warm air from escaping through the vents of your AC.
  2. Block drafty doors. Warm air may also be escaping through the space under your apartment door. Laying blankets or towels at the bottom of your door is a cost-effective strategy for blocking out cold air from your unheated hallway. You can also purchase an official draft blocker like this one, which is affordable and is weighted on either end to keep it in place. Additionally, be sure to close the doors of any unused rooms in your apartment to help contain the heat in the main living areas.
  3. Hang heavy curtains. Heat can easily escape through windows even when they are closed. Curtains with thick or thermal fabric can help keep the heat inside your apartment. Just remember to keep the shades open on sunny days to take advantage of the natural solar heat.

Hack 2: Add Area Rugs

While exposed wooden floors are aesthetically pleasing, they are prone to promote drafts in the winter. Buy some inexpensive area rugs for your living room and bedroom to help trap the heat and keep your feet warm during the winter. Bathmats are also a huge plus for avoiding hypothermic shock from the ice-cold tile floors when you take your morning shower.

Hack 3: Supplement With Space Heaters

Space heaters are an efficient heating solution that may be more cost-effective than blasting the heat in your apartment (especially if your apartment uses pricey electric heating units). While they are usually only powerful enough to heat up a relatively small space, they can be quite effective with some strategic positioning. For example, place it in front of the couch to keep you extra toasty while you read or watch TV. Just be careful when using a space heater, as some units can be a fire hazard. Never leave your space heater on when nobody is home and be sure to place it at a safe distance from anything that could catch fire. Pro pick: Lasko Ceramic Heater ($50 on Amazon)

Hack 4: Use Electric Blankets and Heating Pads

Nothing is worse than climbing into an ice cold bed and shivering yourself to sleep. Try placing an electric blanket or heating pad under the covers shortly before you go to bed to create a warm, dreamy haven. As with the space heater, make sure to use your electric blanket or heating pad with caution to avoid burns and fire hazards.

Hack 5: Go Old-School With Hot Water Bottle

Here’s a throwback to the early 1900s: Hot water bottles! Though seemingly antiquated, this simple heating solution is surprisingly effective at warming you up. Snuggle up with it on the couch, spoon with it in bed… there’s no risk of a fire hazard, so the possibilities are endless. Pro tip: The surface of the water bottle can be pretty hot when you first fill it up, so cover it with either an extra pillow case or a cute knit cover like this.

Hack 6: Get a Fleece Onesie

Who said onesies were only for babies? Invest in an adult-sized fleece onesie to keep yourself thoroughly insulated no matter how cold your apartment gets. Don’t forget to complete the outfit and keep your toes warm with fleece slippers or fuzzy socks!

Hack 7: Invite Friends for Dinner

Cooking is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Running the oven heats up the apartment and leaves you with a delicious meal to warm your belly. To generate body heat and combat cabin fever, invite friends over to join you for the meal!