10 ways to keep cool when your apartment doesn’t have a/c

Nothing beats the sunny weather here in Los Angeles.  That’s one of the top reasons you moved to LA, am I right?  But when the temp goes up, nothing beats having an apartment with A/C.  If you happen to live in an older building that was built prior to the 1970’s invention of central air & heat and your apartment didn’t come with a window air-conditioning unit, we’ve rounded up 10 easy ways to help you beat the heat when your apartment doesn’t have A/C.

close your windowswoman closing window

It may seem counter-intuitive, but opening the windows during the day will often make your apartment warmer by letting the hot outside air in.  Keeping your windows closed can actually help to keep your place cooler. When it starts to cool down at night, that’s when you open the windows to let the cooler air circulate inside throughout the evening and while you’re sleeping.  Just make sure you close them in the morning when it starts to heat back up and you’ll help to prevent the sun’s heat from coming indoors.

keep your blinds closedliving room blinds closed

This is one of the best ways to help keep your apartment cool by preventing the sun from heating up your apartment.  Keep the blinds closed and angle them downward so that the sun’s rays are blocked from shining through the windows.

turn off the lights turn off light blub

If your lamps and lighting fixtures still have the older incandescent light bulbs instead of the newer compact fluorescents or LED ones, these incandescent bulbs can surprisingly produce as much heat as they do light.  Energy Star-rated light bulbs use up to 90% less energy and produce 75% less heat, which will help your place stay cool while also cutting down on your electric bill.  While you’re at it, be sure to power down and unplug any electrical devices not in use, like your computer.

use fans strategically vintage fan

Make sure that your ceiling fan is running in the right direction – you should feel the breeze blowing down. And keep in mind that ceiling fans cool people and not rooms, so be sure to turn it off when you leave the room.  You can also keep a spray bottle on hand to help keep cool when sitting under the ceiling fan or in front of a floor fan.  As the water evaporates off your skin, it creates a cooling affect.

One of our favorite tricks is to use two floor fans strategically to blow the cool evening air in through one window or door and out on the other side of your apartment to help create a breeze throughout and keep the cool air circulating.

enjoy a cool meal apricot basil chicken salad

Don’t heat up your apartment by cooking dinner in the oven or on the stove.  Instead, opt for a no-cook meal like this tomato & watermelon salad with feta or any of these delicious no-cook summer meals from Martha Stewart.  Just like staying hydrated with cold water (or an icy cocktail) helps to keep your body temperature lower, so does noshing on cold foods.

take a cold shower or bath cold shower

While this may sound obvious, it is a very effective method for cooling down when you don’t have air-conditioning.  Hop in a cold shower or run a cool bath and relax while you soak for 20 minutes to cool down your core temperature.  Also try using a eucalyptus body wash or soap like this one from Bath & Body Works that has natural cooling and stress-relieving properties.

chill out barr co lotion

One of our favorite summer tips is to store your favorite lotion in the fridge and slather it on whenever you feel hot for instant relief.  You can also use it to cool down even further after your cold bath.  Or stick a bottle of water in the freezer and place in front of a fan to help cool down the air.

switch to a buckwheat pillow Buckwheat pillow

Turns out, buckwheat hull pillows are an ancient secret for helping to keep the body cool at night.  The hulls allow for fresh air to circulate and don’t hold on to your body heat like conventional pillows do.  So if the heat is preventing you from sleeping, try switching to a buckwheat pillow.  Another trick is to place your normal pillow in the fridge for a bit so you’ve got a nice cool place to rest your head when you crawl into bed.

request the addition of a screen door screen door

To help cool your apartment in the evening, inquire with your landlord about the possibility of adding a screen door to allow for the cool evening air to filter in.  If they won’t cover the cost, but will allow you to install one, it is a great value considering how much money you’ll save not having to run an electric air-conditioner.

add a portable a/c unit portable a/c unit

If you’re still sweltering after trying all of the tips above, see if your landlord will install an a/c unit.  If they won’t, consider purchasing a portable one that you can move from room to room (and apartment to apartment).

How do you stay cool in your apartment without A/C?  Let us know in the comments below.  And be sure to check out our Apartment Spring Cleaning Basics and 10 Things You Should Never Put Down Your Garbage Disposal.

photos: lovelyetc.comsavvy sugar, pocket full of pretty, low energy living, houzz, energy.gov, the chic fish, martha stewart, the stir, white nest market

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