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For now we see through a roller door shutter, not at all
July 14, 2010 7:48 PM   Subscribe

What are some good ideas to preserve your health and happiness if your flat has windows, but they are covered with exterior metal roller doors?

This question has made me wonder about my own living situation.

I have recently moved into a first-storey flat which has windows in every room, but the bedroom and loungeroom windows are covered with metal roller doors on the outside of the building.

They are not electric-powered, so opening and closing them is quite the ordeal (plus, they are on the first-storey, no balcony, so one would need a tall ladder...)

In any case traffic noise (railway crossing bells, sirens, trucks) is a big issue, so rolling up the roller doors is not a practical option.

It's also quite cold here at the moment, so on the windows without roller doors, all the curtains are closed all the time to keep heat in.

So, what steps should I be taking to avoid tiredness, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or any other ill-effects from the dearth of natural light in my flat?
posted by Year of meteors to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
 
Have you tried rolling them up, but putting very heavy curtains on the inside? You may be able to get sufficient heat & noise insulation while still being able to pull them aside at a whim for light.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:05 PM on July 14, 2010


You can get full-spectrum lightbulbs. Not everyone agrees that they're the real thing, but in one underground apartment I had, I tried moving it to different rooms and found that I always ended up spending the most time in the room with the full spectrum lightbulb in it. I was just more comfortable in that light.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:08 PM on July 14, 2010


Yikes. Derail, but is Australia really that dangerous? Even here in DC, most of us suffice with (mere) bars on our ground-level windows, and a lot of folks are even doing away with those. I can't think of any residential unit that uses the configuration you describe for the reasons you describe. Roll 'em up, leave the curtains closed, and see how you do!

Also, after living near a railroad for a few weeks, you won't even notice the noise.
posted by schmod at 8:15 PM on July 14, 2010


Derail, but is Australia really that dangerous? Even here in DC, most of us suffice with (mere) bars on our ground-level windows, and a lot of folks are even doing away with those.


No, Australia is quite safe (well, maybe inner Sydney and inner Melbourne need bars on the windows, but I am in Adelaide.)

The roller doors were apparently installed by the previous occupant, a little old lady who lived alone, and who may have been, how to say this politely, uneccessarily concerned for her safety.

The reasons we haven't rolled them up are

a) noise pollution - the railway bells and sirens noise are quite bad;
b) we don't have any heavy curtains, or curtain rails, and this is a rental property;
c) we don't have a tall ladder; and
d) the roller doors are really stiff and hard to move. In fact, they may even be locked from the outside, which would mean getting the key from the landlord...
posted by Year of meteors at 8:34 PM on July 14, 2010


To get around the need for keeping your curtains shut for insulative purposes, let me introduce you to plastic wrap insulation for your windows. Effectively you stretch plastic over your window frames, and then the air trapped between the window and the plastic acts as a layer of insulation. This works very well, we use it here in Canada all the time. Now you can have insulation AND natural light :)
posted by lizbunny at 6:42 AM on July 15, 2010


*we use this in the wintertime, and the plastic is removable - will be just fine for your rental property.
posted by lizbunny at 6:48 AM on July 15, 2010


I see one of the major concerns for you is outside noise. I am a person who cannot get used to noises. No, really, I can't. I've tried it to disastrous results. It's the reason why this city-girl-at-heart lives in the suburbs. So I'd suggest leaving the roller doors closed and going with proper lighting indoors. I've heard good things about full-spectrum lightbulbs, too. And make sure you're getting outdoors at least once a day for several minutes at a minimum. Take a nice, long walk if you can, every day. That will get you your Vitamin D and will abolish tiredness.
posted by cooker girl at 7:18 AM on July 15, 2010


When you say 1st storey, I guess you mean not the ground floor, correct? If so, I can't see any reason to keep these metal rollers in place. If I were you I'd put in the effort to roll them up once and keep them that way.

a) You may be surprised at the level of noise pollution you can get used to, given a bit of time. Really, I sleep through sirens and trains all the time. Earplugs might be an option for nighttime too.
b) Curtains and curtain rods can be purchased quite cheaply, if you're not too concerned about how they look. I'm sure your landlord wouldn't mind you putting up curtain rods if you asked first.
c) Your landlord, a friend, a co-worker, or somebody must have a ladder you could borrow.
d) It would be worth the trouble of asking for a key.

Or perhaps just roll up the door on the lounge window, and keep it on the bedroom window if noise is really that much of an issue.
posted by teg at 7:22 AM on July 15, 2010


d) the roller doors are really stiff and hard to move. In fact, they may even be locked from the outside, which would mean getting the key from the landlord...

Where I live, this sort of situation would be illegal. Een if people have bars on the windows, they must be operable from the inside. What if there's a fire and the only way out is the window?
posted by oneirodynia at 12:50 PM on July 15, 2010


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