Oh summer, how hot are thee!
Summer is notoriously hot but you're not crazy to think that it's getting warmer and warmer each year. In fact, 2021 was the world's 6th hottest year. Ever! As cities, states and countries break records for new temperature highs, it's essential to learn the best ways to stay cool in hot weather.
We don't want anyone to suffer through another summer with a miserably hot apartment, so we've put together a list of 14 easy tips to keep your house cool. These hot tips will keep you cool without air conditioning and make a huge difference in the temperature of your place.
Sometimes, coming inside isn't always enough to get actual relief from the summer heat. Houses and apartments often trap heat really well. Heat rises, so apartment dwellers on the top floor of a building is extra hot! It's up to you to find ways to cool down a room when 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 keeping blinds closed at the right times of the day.
Usually, the hottest part of the day is mid-afternoon around 3 p.m. This is because, even though the sun is no longer at its midday peak, the Earth is expelling the heat it soaked up. Obviously, this does vary depending on where you live.
So, you want to keep your blinds and curtains closed around noon and throughout the afternoon — usually during the peak times of day for temperature, which is between 2 and 7 p.m.
“By closing the blinds, you keep direct sunlight out of your home and reduce unwanted solar heat gain," said Cora Wilder from hunker.
Also, focus on the part of the apartment you're going to use the most. Closing off other parts of the apartment cuts down on air circulation.
Using lighter-colored or neutral curtains or blinds will help reflect heat out. You can also invest in dark curtains or blackout curtains. They're good for more than blocking out light so you can sleep — their tight weave bounces off heat. Blackout curtains are a good way to keep the house cool and sleep like a baby.
Once the sun goes down, you can open your blinds a little to allow some of the trapped heat to escape. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your apartment cool.
Sometimes, the building you're living in may not have the most energy-efficient windows. This is especially true for older apartments.
Say you don't want to always have the blinds closed, though, and maybe you have a great view or really enjoy the occasional sunbeam inside your home. There is another option for how to cool down a room that has lots of windows. Window film is one savvy way to keep that pesky heat out.
Window film works by adhering to your window frame to block heat flow from getting in through the glass. It's an effective way to keep the apartment cool without raising the cost of your energy bill, as well. You can stay cool and save money.
You can also use temperature control film, which does an even better job of keeping your apartment cool. These films can block nearly 80 percent of solar heat and up to 99 percent of UV rays. Spectrally selective window film is the best option. Not only does it do an amazing job keeping heat out, but it also allows plenty of light in.
Whether you realize it, the air is moving and flowing through your apartment. When air conditioners run 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 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 and will make sure you don't have humid air stuck in the apartment.
It's not rocket science that a simple portable fan or portable air conditioner will make your room cooler. Whether running on batteries or electricity, even one 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 box fans 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. If you have multiple windows, consider getting a fan for all of the window units in your apartment.
Not all apartments have ceiling fans, but if you're lucky enough to get a place with them, make sure the blades go in the right direction. During the summer, ceiling fans create the coolest breeze if they're moving counterclockwise.
On hot days, the last thing you want is more heat in your apartment. This may mean staying out of the kitchen. Using ovens and stoves to cook meals raises the temperature in your home — sometimes, by a lot.
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 barbecue or head to your favorite restaurant for dinner.
You can try to cook later in the day as it cools down if you absolutely need to use the oven or stove. And, whenever possible, take advantage of nice weather to cook meals outside on the grill (if you have a patio or backyard).
If you do have to cook instead, make sure to turn on the kitchen exhaust fan to help reduce the temperature of the apartment.
Light fixtures 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 with more energy-efficient options, such as LED bulbs. You can usually buy a set of energy-efficient light bulbs at your local home goods store.
You can usually buy a set of energy-efficient light bulbs at your local home goods store.
Using those fans that blow cool air on you as your primary source of heat relief is a great way to keep your space cool, but don't discount those fans that suck out the air. The design of the stove fan in the hood above your stove or in your bathroom pulls air out from a room.
Normally, these fans remove cooking smells and smoke or bathroom odors and moisture. But great news — 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 much faster. This simple trick can help you get your apartment to a comfortable temperature.
During the height of summer, your nights might not get that cool. Luckily though, most warm days usher in cooler nights. Take advantage of this soothing air and open windows to let a nice breeze in and cool the air. Opening windows is an easy, naturally cooling way to keep the apartment cool without running the AC unit or swamp cooler all night.
Also, you can angle a box fan to suck in the cool, outdoor air by placing it in the window unit. You'll get a leg up on the next day's heat, too. Just don't forget to close the windows when the sun comes up.
Does your bedroom run hot? 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 pajamas or sleep clothing.
If you can afford the extra investment for when it's really hot, consider purchasing temperature-regulating sheets. These can work in several different ways. Some options feature extremely airy, breathable materials like cotton or Egyptian cotton with lightweight materials that don't trap heat. Others feature technologically advanced threads that absorb heat during the day and release it at night to help the body maintain the steady temperature required for a good night's sleep.
Now, that's using technology to your advantage to overcome the heat!
If you're renting your apartment, this is an option you'd definitely need to run by your landlord if your building doesn't already have insulation. But if you're running out of methods on how to keep your apartment cool, it's time to break out the big guns.
Make sure the walls and other areas where air can leak in or out have a form of insulation. Just as insulation keeps heat in during the winter, it can help keep your apartment cool for summer. Without something to stop the flow of air through small cracks and holes, the hot air outside seeps into the apartment you've worked so hard to cool down — making your AC or fans work harder (which will run up your utility bill and waste energy).
So, if it's an option, consider adding insulation into the walls or attic of your apartment or building to save on energy costs. You can also add weather stripping to doors and windows. This is a less invasive but still effective method of preventing the leakage of cool air.
If you love redecorating and need a different approach on how to cool without air conditioning, repainting is a great option. If you live in a state where summers are typically stifling, it's worth taking this extra step to heat-proof your apartment by painting it.
Lighter paints like white or cool, neutral colors feature fewer pigments — so they don't absorb heat the same way darker paints do. Instead, they reflect the light back. This is a handy and stylish way to cool down a room, especially if it's one you spend a lot of time in or that heats up a lot during summer. Plus, it gives you a chance to give your space a fresh summertime-ready upgrade.
You can even buy “smart" paints with added elements or tech to better reflect UV rays. Before tackling this approach, apartment dwellers need to consult with their landlord to make sure they can paint the place.
If your apartment has central air conditioning, that's obviously one way to keep your apartment cool. When you leave your apartment, you're probably inclined to turn off the AC unit to save some money. After all, you don't want to cool down an apartment that no one is using.
However, it's important to leave the air conditioning on instead of turning it off, even if no one is home. It'll take a lot of time to turn it back on and get the apartment cool when you return. It takes a lot of energy to cool down the place once it's stifling inside. And, you'll end up paying more money in the long run if you turn it on and off constantly. When you leave your apartment, turn the unit up but not off. This will keep your place cool while also saving you some money.
If you can't cool down a room to your liking, it's time to focus on ways that help you chill out. Namely, that's keeping your body cool. As long as you feel cool, it's OK that your environment is a little on the warm side. You'll still feel relatively comfortable.
Try these tips:
Any of these will help you feel cool. But, you can use a combination to really beat the heat.
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 leads to sweating.
Sweating is the first sign it's too hot, but other effects of heat exposure are very 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.