It's no secret that in most of the U.S., summer gets hot.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called June 2019 the warmest June on record. This increase wasn't a localized event. Things warmed up across the globe, from Europe to South America and across the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Within the U.S. alone, 17 states saw temperatures well above average as the summer continued. Even Alaska reported July 2019 as its warmest July on record.
Even when temperatures get up to unbearable levels, you don't want to let the heat ruin your fun. Keeping cool requires a combination of staying hydrated and staying out of the sun.
That being said, sometimes, coming inside isn't enough to get actual relief from the summer heat. It's up to you to find ways to cool down a room the summer sun has warmed up too much. Here are some tips on how to keep your apartment cool.
The more sunlight that comes into your home, the hotter it's going to get. You can decrease the heat in your apartment by a significant amount by keeping blinds closed at the right times of the day.
Also, focus on just the part of the apartment you're going to be using. Closing off other parts of the apartment cuts down on air circulation, so that's a benefit if most of the air that can circulate is warm air.
“By closing the blinds, you keep direct sunlight out of your home and reduce unwanted solar heat gain," says Cora Wilder from hunker. This means keeping things shut during the peak times of day for temperature, which is between 2 and 7 p.m.
Once the sun goes down, you can open your blinds a little to allow some of the trapped heat to escape, but otherwise, keep those suckers closed.
If you have an air-conditioner in your apartment, finding a balance between a comfortable temperature and one that's energy-efficient can make a big difference on your bill. Cool things down while you're home with a setting around 72 or 73 degrees, but know that on especially hot days, your AC will work hard.
When you're not in the house, turn the AC up to around 78 degrees Fahrenheit for peak efficiency. Also, make sure your property manager changes the filters in your unit twice a year to maximize performance.
If you're using a window unit, the filter is reusable but needs a good periodic rinse to clean away the dust that accumulates.
Whether or not you realize it, the air is flowing through your apartment. When the air conditioner runs or the fans are on, the air is moving through every open room of your home.
You can create a natural flow of this cooler air specifically to the rooms you're using. Close the doors of any rooms not in frequent use, but keep doors open to places like your bedroom and bathroom. This ensures that the cool air flows to where you need it the most, rather than getting misdirected to spots where nobody is hanging out.
It's not rocket science that a simple portable fan is how to make your room cooler. Whether running on batteries or electricity, a fan blowing its cool air directly on you is a great way to beat the heat.
Be mindful of the placement of the fans. If you have multiple fans, set them up so that they intersect, the air hitting you from multiple directions. If you're using a box fan big enough to fit within an open window, face it out rather than toward you.
While the fan's air won't blow on you, the room will still cool down as the hot air gets pulled out of your apartment and spit back outside. Send the hot air packing and make room for cooler air to settle into your home.
Maximize this effect with a simple household item for an even cooler space. Fill a large bowl with ice or ice packs and put it in front of your fan. As it blows across the ice, it creates a portable air conditioner that can move with you from room to room.
Once the heat decreases, close the window and direct the fan's breeze back towards you.
Not all apartments have ceiling fans, but if you're lucky enough to get a place with them, make sure the blades are going in the right direction. During the summer, fan blades create the coolest breeze if they're moving counterclockwise.
Do a quick check to make sure things are moving in the right direction to keep you feeling comfy and cool.
On hot days, the last thing you want is more heat in your apartment. That may mean staying out of the kitchen. Using ovens and stoves to cook meals raises the temperature in your home. Even a quick meal puts heat you don't want into your space.
Redirect your cooking energy. Try out an Instapot meal or cook with a Crock-Pot. Cool things down with a hearty salad. Plan an outside BBQ or head to your favorite restaurant for dinner.
Light fixtures also put out excess heat in an apartment. Regular bulbs radiate a lot of extra heat when they're on, but energy-efficient bulbs don't.
Replace your bulbs, if you can, with more energy-efficient options, such as LED bulbs. “While LEDs will generate heat," says EarthLed, “it will be a fraction of that compared to a traditional technology bulb."
Using those fans that blow cool air on you as your primary source for heat relief is a great way to keep your space cool, but don't discount those fans that suck the air out. The design of the exhaust fan in the hood above your stove or in your bathroom pulls out air from a room.
Normally, they help remove cooking smells and smoke or bathroom odors and moisture, but they can also extract hot air from your apartment to make room for cooler air. Use them right after you get home to pull out the hot, stagnant air that's piled up from the day. They'll allow your air conditioner to take effect that much faster.
During the height of summer, your nights might not get that cool, but most warm days usher in cooler nights. Take advantage of this soothing air by opening up some windows.
Angle fans to suck in the cool, outdoor air and get a leg up on the next day's heat. Just don't forget to close the windows when the sun comes up.
Even if your bedroom stays on the warm side, there's no reason you can't keep things cool when you go to sleep. Place your sheets and pillowcases in the freezer a few hours before bedtime, and make your bed with them right before you get in.
This can help cool your body down enough to fall asleep without the tossing and turning brought on by warm temperatures. Combine the freezer trick with linen, cotton or percale sheets to keep air flowing over you throughout the night.
The same trick will work for clothes, so while you can't open the freezer to cool the room, you can use it to cool your clothes.
If you can afford the extra investment for when it's really hot, consider purchasing temperature-regulating sheets. “These beauties are made with phase-change materials (PCM) — originally created for the folks at NASA — that absorb, hold and release heat. In other words, these sheets make sure that the body maintains a steady temperature throughout the night," says Morgan Greenwald from BestLife. That's using technology to your advantage to overcome the heat.
If you can't cool down a room to your liking, it's time to focus on ways that help you chill out. As long as you feel cool, it's OK that your environment is little on the warm side. You'll still feel relatively comfortable. These include:
Heat isn't something to take lightly since it can cause serious harm. Your body begins to tell you it's getting too hot when you begin to sweat. Whether you're sitting around, doing nothing on a very hot day or working hard in lesser heat, anything that raises your body temperature can lead to sweating.
Think about how your body reacts to a hot car right before you turn it on, or how uncomfortable a room is without a fan blowing during the summer.
Sweating is the first sign of it being too hot, but other effects of heat exposure can be serious, including:
Beating the heat is about staying cool and safe all summer long. Whether you're hanging out or in the middle of a rigorous activity like moving to a new apartment, it's important to take the proper precautions and not overheat.
Keep yourself and your home cool as best you can, and you'll survive until that first colorful leaf of fall drops from the trees.