The sweltering days of summer are truly upon us, and you might be tempted to crank the air conditioner or plant yourself in front of a huge, energy-sucking fan to beat the heat.

However, the cost of staying cool can really add up. Back in 2015, the EIA Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) found that home air-conditioning costs averaged $265/month. That’s 12% of total home energy expenditures! 

These costs went up during the pandemic with so many people working from home. Residential energy use went up 10 percent in the second quarter of 2020 when compared to previous years. Although some people have gone back to work in-person, many companies have remained remote, which means these at-home energy costs are likely to remain high. 

What if paying an increased electric bill doesn’t fit into your monthly budget? What if air conditioning wasn’t high on your amenities wish list, and now you’re seeking other cooling solutions for an apartment? Or what if you simply want to use your cooling system as little as possible?

Figuring out how to keep an apartment cool without AC can be a bit tricky. Don’t worry,  we can help you figure out how to cool down a hot apartment, no matter your budget or air conditioning situation.

little girl eating watermelon in front of fan in cool apartment

13 Ways to Make an Apartment Cooler

1. Keep your blinds closed. 

Almost all of the heat that enters your apartment does so via the windows, even when they’re closed tightly. This can be costly, since roughly 30% of the energy you use in your apartment goes toward cooling, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. It might sound simple, but standard window coverings provide the most bang for your buck in terms of keeping the temperature down. 

2. Shut the door. 

Another simple tip: close the doors to any unused rooms, such as the bathroom or the bedrooms, during the hottest part of the day. That way, you keep cool air flowing where you need it. Conversely, open doors and windows when the temperature drops to let cooler air in.

3. Switch out your sheets.

If you’re trying to figure out how to keep your apartment cool without AC, nothing is more important than staying cool while sleeping. Swap out your fleece blankets and flannel sheets for cooler, breathable cotton versions in the summer months. There are even specially made cooling sheets made of bamboo, eucalyptus and plant-based Tencel. The Sleep Foundation has a list of tried and tested cooling sheets.

4. Lower your mattress. 

This might seem like a silly idea, but it can make a difference. Since heat rises, sleeping closer to the floor can actually help you keep cool. Also consider investing in a mattress with built-in cooling gel, as this can prevent you from feeling stuffy at night. Memory foam mattresses in particular tend to “run hot.” 

5. Reset your ceiling fans. 

If you have ceiling fans in your apartment, make sure they rotate counter-clockwise in the summer. It will move cool air downward and result in what’s known as the wind chill effect. The wind chill effect will make the air feel cooler regardless of the temperature. If your apartment does not have ceiling fans, buy a few fans and strategically place them around your apartment. You’ll likely need the most help in your living and bedrooms.  

6. Use your built-in fans. 

Turn on your bathroom exhaust fan after a hot shower and your kitchen exhaust fan after you cook. These fans work to pull hot air and moisture out of your apartment, keeping the temperature and humidity down. 

7. Swap your light bulbs. 

Close to 90% of the energy used by incandescent bulbs is actually emitted in the form of heat! Switch to CFL or LED bulbs for a cooler apartment AND lower electric bills. For optimal sustainability, wait until the CFL bulbs burn out before replacing them with LED lightbulbs. Also, consider purchasing smart lights and setting your lights to dim or turn off via a smart home device or assistant.

8. Add plants. 

Placing tall plants such as bamboo or snake plants near light-facing windows will help shield your apartment from the sun’s strong rays and reduce the amount of heat coming in. Plants with large leaves in particular, such as bamboo palm and rubber plants, provide beautiful green cooling solutions for apartments.

9. Upgrade your window treatments. 

If you really want to lower the temperature in your apartment, invest in blackout curtains or shades for the ultimate sun blockage. Consumer Reports tells us that medium- or neutral-colored curtains with white plastic backing can reduce heat gain by up to 33%. A thick triple-woven fabric or curtains with plastic or thermal backing are additional ways to make an apartment cooler.

10. Cook outside. 

Using the stove or oven when it’s already sweltering can make your apartment even hotter. If you have an outdoor communal area with grills, consider cooking dinner outside.  Or maybe splurge on  takeout until things cool down. 

11. Put a bucket of ice in front of your fan. 

This may sound strange, but it’s actually a quick and easy way to cool down your apartment. If you have a box fan, place a bucket of cold ice directly in front of it. The ice will cool the air as it blows past. 

12. Create a cross breeze. 

While this might seem to contradict some of our earlier cooling solutions for apartments, just hear us out. On a day when there’s a bit of a breeze or in the evenings, get the air flowing by opening windows at opposite sides of your apartment. If you have a fan, position it to point at the open window so it can force hot air outside. 

13. Lower your body temperature. 

You may not be able to control the temperature outside, but you can keep your body cool. Take a cool shower before bed to lower your core temperature before going to sleep. Turn hot water bottles into ice packs by filling them with water and freezing them for bedtime. And, of course, drink chilled water throughout the day and treat yourself to a cold and fruity popsicle or a bowl of ice cream before bed.

Contact Southern Management and Cool Down Your Apartment Search

Apartment hunting can cause your temperature to rise, but Southern Management can help you keep your cool! From apartments with air conditioning, ceiling fans and window coverings, to communities featuring swimming pools, we know how to cool down your apartment (and keep you comfortable)!

Take the heat out of your summer apartment search by browsing our 75+ apartment communities online and check out each community’s unique amenities. If one of our communities catches your eye, contact our team. We’d be happy to discuss our online application process.