Summer can be extremely uncomfortable at home and in the workplace. Energy bills begin to soar.
You’ll feel stuck if your apartment doesn’t have an AC unit to regulate the heat. But in most apartments, it gets so worse that even an AC is helpless.
Apartments, especially high-rise buildings, are prone to overheating during the summer months. This is mostly due to inadequate airflow in the apartment.
Other reasons include closed vents, bad HVAC unit, and exposure to full sun.
Why is My Apartment so Hot?
Apartments retain the heat accumulated during the day; this can last throughout the night. It is important to remove all this heat before the apartment begins to cool down.
The process could take several hours to complete. This is why it’s important to minimize heat build-up during the day.
Remember: The AC Can Only Do So Much
When it comes down to it, an air conditioner has a tough role to play. This is because your apartment has a natural affinity to heat build-up.
The floors and walls soak in heat throughout the day and redistribute it around. It’s an uphill battle for your AC to keep things cool, even at full blast. Your most effective plan is to minimize the accumulation of heat.
The good news is that you can do something about it with a few simple tricks.
But first, let’s go over the 8 most common reasons why your apartment is getting hot.
Exposure to Sunlight
Rooms with lots of windows trap heat from the sun, much like a greenhouse.
To compensate, your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) equipment works harder to bring the temperature to desired levels. This, for obvious reasons, increases your energy bills.
Your best bet is to install window treatments such as draperies, heavy curtains, and blinds. This should minimize (or completely block) sunlight when it’s beaming into your apartment.
Most HVAC systems have some type of ductwork responsible for circulating air in your home. Ductwork is susceptible to wear and tear, often due to damage because of uneven pressure.
This damage is accelerated by leaks, mold, dust, and pests (such as rodents). As a result, the cool air escapes out of the ductwork before it reaches you.
Most ductworks will lose a significant amount of energy from poor insulation and leaks. You can minimize this by sealing and insulating the ducts.
Fortunately, most ductworks have an average lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. If your ductwork is older than this time frame, it’s time to get an upgrade.
You can maintain your ductwork by scheduling regular HVAC maintenance checks. This way you can detect potential problems and nip the problem in the bud.
The AC Unit is Too Small for Your Apartment
Air conditioners come in different sizes. Several factors determine the ideal size for your home. These include square footage, the number of people in the apartment, and ceiling height.
If the AC is too small for your apartment, it won’t cool your rooms effectively. Moreover, rooms further away from the AC will have higher temperatures.
This also increases humidity since the AC won’t absorb enough moisture content in the room.
You can try to compensate by adding more wall units and fans. But the best course of action is to simply upgrade to a new AC system.
AC units often have a BTU rating – larger rooms need a higher BTU rating.
You can use this online tool to calculate the BTUs required to cool your apartment. Simply enter your room size, hit calculate, and you’ll get the results in a jiffy.
Use the number with a grain of salt, however. When shopping, it’s okay to go a few points above or below the calculated number.
The Thermostat Is In the Wrong Location
Your AC depends on the thermostat to ‘feel’ your room’s temperature and adjusts its settings accordingly. If the thermostat reaches the desired temperature, the AC will stop cooling (or heating).
To record accurate temperatures, you have to strategically place the thermostat in the apartment.
Good examples include interior walls near the area your family spends most of their time. Bad examples include exterior areas of the apartment that receive more heat.
It’s never a good idea to place the thermostat near the kitchen or laundry room. For obvious reasons, you should never place the thermostat near windows that receive direct sunlight.
A more well-rounded solution is to get a smart thermostat. These devices have become very capable over the years (and more affordable).
Smart thermostats work by learning your preferences and tracking the apartment’s temperature. This allows them to be extremely efficient at keeping your apartment cool.
Most smart thermostats can be controlled via apps. So if you’re not at home you can manually adjust the temperature remotely. Or you could just keep track of the temperature.
Your Apartment Doesn’t Have Good Insulation
Insulation systems need regular maintenance too. Yet, despite the important work they do, insulation systems often go unnoticed.
Poor insulation can harm your room’s cooling capacity in more ways than one. For starters, it makes heat exchange easier through the walls.
This allows heat to break into your apartment without any resistance. Your AC system will be under considerable stress to compensate for inefficient insulation.
Make sure to keep a check on your apartment’s insulation system. You could do this yourself or ask an expert to do it for you.
A solid insulation system keeps temperatures even inside your apartment. This means your AC has to do less work and you’ll have lower energy bills.
The Air Vents are Blocked
Blocked or closed vents will disrupt the proper flow of air. This will increase the temperature in your apartment while placing more strain on your AC system.
It’s a common myth that closed air vents in unused rooms can improve the AC’s efficiency and lead to lower bills.
This isn’t true. Keep your vents open at all times to improve airflow and reduce the temperature.
The Air Filters Need to be Replaced
Air filters are your AC’s first line of defense against dirt and dust. Air filters prevent dirt particles from getting into the AC system. Over time, the air filters get coated with lots of dirt and lose efficiency.
Air filters are often the easiest to clean and replace. Simply walk up to the air conditioner in your apartment and check the air filters.
If they don’t look clear to you, it’s time to replace them. Experts recommend replacing the air filters at least once a month.
The frequency of this maintenance depends on other factors. These include the people in your home, smoking, pets, and more.
If you rent the apartment, ask your landlord for a new filter. In most cases, they’ll provide you with a replacement for free.
The air filters keep you happy and prevent wear and tear on costly equipment. It’s a win-win situation if you think about it.
Your Apartment Windows are not Insulated
If your apartment has older windows, chances are, they could be contributing to the heat. They act as ‘heat exchangers’ and allow heat from outside to seep in.
Any cooling your AC achieved will be undone in no time. The problem becomes worse if the windows aren’t properly sealed. This adds up to the warmth of certain rooms.
Most apartments suffer from high-heat problems due to the side of the building they’re on. West-facing and South-facing apartments receive the most sunlight and heat during the hot summer months.
Improving the airflow is going to be crucial in maintaining the desired temperature inside your apartment.
One way to prevent air loss is to re-caulk the windows.
This allows cooler temperatures to remain inside for longer. For best results, consider replacing the apartment’s windows with double-glazing windows.
How to Keep Your Apartment Cool?
Follow the recommended solutions below to keep your apartment cool.
Cool Down Your Bedding
There’s one neat trick you can use to keep things comfortable: cool your bedding.
Simply place your pillowcases and bedsheets in a freezer for a few hours. For best results, do this before bedtime.
This should, at the very least, help you fall asleep instead of tossing and turning. You can become creative by using linens and percale sheets to maximize airflow.
The same thing can be done with your clothes, so toss your preferred clothes into the freezer.
For best results, consider buying temperature-regulating sheets. These sheets use innovative technology to overcome the heat.
Keep Windows Open When Cooking
Naturally, cooking will generate heat inside your apartment. This problem can get worse if there aren’t enough ways for heat to escape. So it just keeps growing inside.
One neat solution is to open your kitchen windows when cooking.
If at all possible, try to cook outdoors. This ensures that any heat does not build up inside the apartment. If this solution is out of the equation, you could cook more ‘tactfully’.
For instance, use the stove once the peak time of the afternoon is over. Better yet, use the stovetop sparingly. Use a fan or two to keep the air flowing around.
Our advice is to not bake anything when the temperature gets out of control. Heating the oven will keep all that heat in your home for several hours.
Sleep with the Windows Open
Keeping your windows open is an excellent idea for better sleep at night. Of course, this only applies if the outside air is cooler than inside your room.
Two windows should do just fine, one on each side of the apartment.
This allows air to freely flow between rooms. You can supplement the natural breeze with a fan to circulate the air faster.
Use an Evaporation Air Cooler
Evaporation coolers may have gone out of vogue, but they’re quite efficient even today. They use the same principle as HVACs to cool your room.
In fact, it’s easy to make your own. Start by taking a box fan (although any fan will do). Then, place a big bowl of ice in front of the fan. Turn it on and watch how it reduces the temperature.
As the air from the fan passes through the ice, it gets cooled. The cool air then circulates around your apartment. This solution works even if you’re already using an AC. Not to mention the fact that it’s cheaper and gets the job done.
Replace Incandescent Bulbs with LED Lights
LED bulbs have largely replaced incandescent bulbs.
But if your apartment happens to use one for some reason, replace them with LEDs. This is because incandescent bulbs generate 100 times more heat than LEDs.
It is worth noting that LEDs are cheaper to buy and save energy bills. It’s a no-brainer really!
Get Your AC Inspected
Is your AC’s cooling capacity lower than usual? This indicates a fault, especially if the air filter isn’t the culprit. Your AC may not have enough coolant to work efficiently.
Call an expert to check the unit out for potential problems, including issues with the coolant.
The Biggest Problem with Top Floors: Heat Rising Up
It gets worse on the upper floors since they soak up heat like a sponge. This is because heat from below rises up and gradually cooks the apartment.
You don’t mind the extra heat during the winter because it’s free. But during summer months, all that heat makes it tougher to stay cool.
Let air blow in through the windows. In high rise apartments, there is usually less friction from the trees, ground, and other buildings.
This gives you access to cool, breezy air that makes short work of the heat. Simply opening the windows can bring the temperatures down by several degrees.
Once there’s enough airflow through the apartment, turn the AC on to maintain the temperature.
This is an efficient way of lowering your energy bill and maintaining your desired temperature. The trick is to let the air cool your apartment before turning on the AC.
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