How to Keep an Apartment Cool in Summer Without AC – HVAC Experts Share Their Tried-and-Tested Tips for Small Spaces

Often on the smaller side, apartments should be easier to keep cool than a whole house but, in reality, they are actually more prone to heat retention – making them hotter and less manageable in the summer months, especially in a heatwave.

While most modern apartments have air conditioning installed to help cool down a room, older buildings or those requiring maintenance may be left without on the hottest days of the year. So, how do you cool down an apartment in summer without AC?

Here, HVAC experts have shared their thoughts.

How To Keep An Apartment Cool

Between cooling a room with fans and blocking out the sunlight, many of the ways of cooling down an apartment in summer are similar to keeping a home cool in a heatwave. That being said, there are some important caveats to note when living in a space high up or surrounded on almost all sides.

Some apartments, especially those in high rises, may not have fully opening windows (or windows that open at all) to help lower the temperature. If this is the case, then Brad Roberson, HVAC expert and president at Aire Serv, a Neighborly company suggests using blackout curtains to keep heat out during the day.

‘Blackout curtains can help make a room cooler by reducing heat,’ he explains. ‘This is done by the curtains having a tightly woven fabric. The design blocks sunlight, and as a result, a comfortable temperature in your home can be maintained.’

It is important to note that it is not just any blackout curtains that will help with this, however, he notes. ‘Several companies manufacture blackout curtains and reducing heat really depends on the product’s quality, the home’s current insulation, and the window type, so it may not be the best solution used on its own.’

If you do not have blackout curtains in your apartment and are either unable to change them or don’t fancy switching out your decor just for summer, then reflective window film could be a better option, points out Tony Abate, VP and chief technology officer at AtmosAir Solutions. These coatings are reflective on the outside but allow the inside occupant to see out, with the added benefit of helping reduce solar gain by reflecting the sun’s rays out before they heat up your furnishings.

‘These measures are especially important on the higher floors. All buildings are subject to what is called the “stack effect” where warm air travels upward so higher floors will get hotter,’ Tony explains.