If you have recently moved into a top-floor apartment, you may have noticed the temperature of your unit being warmer than expected.
This is a common problem for apartment owners across the country. Luckily, there are many ways to cool down your apartment.
This includes improving ventilation, setting up blinds, using window films, and many other tricks.
Why Are Top Floor Apartments Warmer?
The trend of top-floor apartments being warmer has been observed in many different climate regions.
There are various explanations for why this occurs.
The most obvious reason why your top-floor apartment is hotter than the lower units is sun exposure. The ceiling of your apartment may be directly connected to the roof of the building itself.
This means sunlight hitting the roof will transmit heat into your unit below.
This problem can be worse than expected, depending on the material your roof is made from.
Studies have found that dark-colored roofs absorb more sunlight compared to lighter-colored roofs. This can be attributed to the poor reflectivity of dark colors.
Lower floor apartments are generally cooler because their sunlight exposure is limited to the side of the building. As a result, roofing materials have less of an impact on the amount of heat they receive.
Heat also has a natural tendency to rise. The heat from the lower units of your apartment building will warm the air inside them.
This air will then expand and rise upwards. Eventually, this warm air will accumulate near the top floor of your building, before escaping outside.
However, there’s a good chance that this heat will warm up the interior of your unit too.
How to Cool Down Your Top Floor Apartment
Top floor apartments residents may not notice that their unit is overheating until summer rolls around.
However, by this point, you may have already purchased your unit or signed the contract with your landlord.
If you don’t want to move to another location, you can use these tips to cool down your unit.
Open Your Windows
One of the easiest ways to reduce temperatures in your top floor unit is to keep your windows open. This will help the warm air that has accumulated inside escape, taking the heat with it.
In addition to rising upwards, heat has a tendency to move from regions of higher temperature to areas with lower temperatures.
In this scenario, the interior of your apartment is the warm region and the outside is the lower temperature area.
The heat inside your apartment also turns it into a low-pressure zone. When you open your window, it causes cooler air from outside to rush inside, thereby equalizing the temperature.
Open Doors Between Rooms
In certain cases, the heat in your apartment may be confined to just one or two rooms. This may be due to structural heterogeneity in your building that is causing the heat to concentrate in one place.
You can reduce the temperature of these rooms by keeping the doors to all your rooms open. This helps the heat spread to all parts of your home evenly, which can make the previously warm rooms feel cooler.
You may have difficulty preventing heat from the roof from entering your apartment. However, you can still limit the amount of heat that is introduced via windows.
This can be done with the help of window blinds.
Installing these window coverings and keeping them drawn throughout most of the day will prevent sunlight from getting through to your unit.
The sunlight hitting your apartment walls and floors through the window can heat up these surfaces. So limiting the amount of sun exposure should keep your apartment cooler in the summers.
There are many different types of blinds that can be used for this purpose.
Insulated cellular shades are especially popular in hot climate regions for their special insulative properties. These blinds resemble a washboard pattern that traps pockets of air between their structure.
Air is a relatively good insulator, so these blinds will prevent up to 80% of solar heat from entering through your window.
Curtains and drapes are also useful for the same purpose. Depending on their color and the material they are made from, a set of curtains will effectively stop sunlight from entering your home.
These can also be adjusted to allow cooler air from outside your windows to enter.
Apply Window Films
Window film is a special film that can be applied to windows to block a certain percentage of solar energy from entering your home.
One might assume that a window film is the same as a window tint. However, the latter function primarily as shades to reduce glare and enhance privacy.
Window films are clear in appearance and are generally designed to keep your apartment cool during the summer and warm during the wintertime. They typically consist of three layers:
- An adhesive layer that comes into contact with the window glass.
- A polyester film layer that offers UV-blocking properties.
- A coating layer
Clear window films are great for reducing the temperature of your apartment on hot summer days without reducing visibility.
They also come in tinted varieties, which makes them ideal for apartment residents that want to enhance their privacy.
It should be noted that some landlords do not allow their tenants to install window films, as they may be seen as a modification to the apartment unit.
Get a Dehumidifier
If you live along the coast, the average humidity in your region may be higher than that of the desert or interior states.
In addition to making you feel sticky, high humidity can also increase the intensity of the heat in your home.
In this situation, opening your window might not help, as it will allow more humidity from outside to enter. The best solution to this problem is to get a dehumidifier.
If your goal is to reduce the temperature of your apartment, you will need to choose the right type of dehumidifier for the job. These appliances are usually chosen based on the size of the room they will be placed in.
Their dehumidification capacity is usually denoted in “pints”. A 20-pint dehumidifier will function well for a 300 square foot room that is moderately damp.
A 30-pint unit will do the trick for a moderately damp room that is 500 square feet in size. Here is a useful chart to help you pick the right size dehumidifier for your apartment.
Once you have purchased the dehumidifier unit for your flat, you should set it up in the middle of your room. This will help it absorb the humidity from all sides of your living space.
It’s best to keep your doors closed while the unit is functioning. Otherwise, humidity from other rooms may enter, and undo the progress the dehumidifier has made.
Install a Fan
Top floor apartment residents often run their air conditioning 24/7 during the summertime. This practice can drive up their electricity bill significantly, so residents should opt to install a fan instead.
If you are renting your apartment unit, you should check with your landlord before purchasing and installing a fan. Once you receive their approval, you can go out and purchase the right type of fan for your unit.
You should ensure that the ceiling fan you are purchasing is large enough to cool down the room it is installed in. A guide for choosing the right size ceiling fan can be found here.
For safety reasons, you should ensure that your ceiling fan is at least 7 feet above the ground. However, a space of 8 – 9 feet is recommended for the best airflow.
Once you have installed your fan, you should run it with the windows closed during the daytime. The breeze from this fan should help residents cool down.
Opening your windows while the fan is operating should be avoided, as it will draw warm air from outside into the unit.
Replace Your Insulation
Replacing your insulation is usually the last resort for apartment residents, as it is one of the more intrusive solutions for cooling your unit.
You may need to ask your landlord or property owner to swap out the insulation if your unit is heating up too much in the summertime.
While it’s true that insulation can keep your apartment warmer by trapping air in the wintertime. It can also keep your home cooler in the summer by blocking heat from your roof from entering the unit.
There are many different types of insulation that can be used in the space between your ceiling and the roof of the building.
These include fiberglass, cellulose, and mineral wool.
Each of these insulation types come with their distinct advantages and drawbacks, so you should consult with an insulation expert before replacing the insulation above your apartment unit.
As you can see, there are plenty of solutions for cooling down your top-floor apartment. Try out a combination of these methods and see which ones work best for you.
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