Summer adjustments for your apartment

Allen Foster

Something as simple as switching to LED light bulbs can cool down your apartment, and you won't have to get permission from your landlord to make that change.

If you're looking ahead to summer months and dreading uncomfortably hot nights and sweaty days, you're likely weighing your options.

If you have a central air conditioning unit, you could close your doors and windows and crank up your AC. Of course, that's not the most responsible action for your bank account or for the environment. A better alternative is to make a few smart, heat-managing improvements to your living space.

This strategy, however, can be very tricky if you rent the space and your lease includes a clause or two about not making any permanent changes to the apartment. You may be worried that your hands are tied and you're just going to have to sweat out the summer.

Fortunately, that's not necessarily the case.


Communication is key

The lease you signed outlines, very specifically, the type and scope of upgrades you're allowed to make to your apartment. When you move out, a new tenant will move in, so the upgrades are usually only superficial, easily reversible improvements that can be "repaired" before you move out. 

However, communication is the key that can unlock the door to making some more lasting and impactful changes. Maybe there's something your landlord was planning on doing or maybe you have a cost-effective idea that they might love. Don't be afraid to communicate with your landlord. There's a better chance you can get the go-ahead for a project if you've already established a positive relationship, especially if the upgrades you are proposing could bring in a higher rent with the next tenant.

One final piece of advice: All communication must be written and dated, and ideally signed by both parties as well, just so there's no chance of costly miscommunication or intent.


Simple heat-reducing strategies for your apartment

Now that we've covered the fine print, following is a list of home improvement strategies and projects that can help reduce the heat in your apartment. Before acting on any of these tips, make sure they are either allowable as stated in the terms of your lease or you have communicated with your landlord to get the official go-ahead.

Brighten it up: The darker your decor is, the more heat it will absorb. If you have a large black couch in front of a window, that couch will absorb the light that is coming in through the window and turn it into heat. The same with darker walls and carpet. If upgrading your dark furniture is out of the budget, you can simply cover it, or even paint it a lighter shade. If you can get the okay from your landlord, consider lightening up the walls as well. 

The same strategy applies in the bedroom -- those elegant dark sheets are actually heating up your sleeping space. During the toasty summer months, swap them out for a lighter colored set.

Block it out: Instead of letting that solar energy into your apartment so your decor can soak it up and slowly bake you, consider blocking it out at the source. Replacing your current curtains with blackout curtains is a quick, nearly effortless upgrade that can dramatically reduce the heat that enters through your windows. If this isn't an easy task in your situation (e.g., there is no curtain rod), consider applying some removable heat control film to your windows.

Seal the leaks: One of the best-kept secrets in the energy-saving world is that spiders love drafts. A draft is where insects tend to congregate. If there is a tiny gap that allows outside air to flow into your apartment, there's a good chance you'll find a spider web marking the location. Next time you're clearing away those spider webs, inspect the area. If you find a leak, seal it up so you're not letting the heat in or the cold out.

Give that window AC some attention: If your apartment has a window AC unit, consider giving it a little bit of attention. This task can be accomplished in an afternoon. All it involves is sealing the gaps around the unit, cleaning (or replacing) the filter, cleaning the coils, and carefully cleaning and straightening any of those tiny fins on the back using a fin repair tool. Most people do not realize that if those thin fins on the back of your AC unit are bent, the heat won't dissipate as efficiently, which can have an impact on how well the AC unit functions.

Put the proper spin on things: For those tenants who have a ceiling fan in the apartment, turn on the ceiling fan and stand under it. If you feel a breeze blowing directly on you, all is good. However, if you don't, shut off the fan. Then, simply reach up and slide the directional switch to the opposite position. Turn on the ceiling fan again. The air should now be blowing down on you the way that it is supposed to during the warmer months.

Replace all light bulbs: Since every little bit helps, if you do not have LED light bulbs in your apartment, consider putting them in. LED light bulbs lower your electric bill and they don't produce as much heat as incandescent light bulbs do. It should go without saying, but remember to turn off any and all lights and appliances that aren't being used as these also increase the heat in your apartment.


Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds. 

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