If you live in an area that’s prone to untenably hot summers, getting through the summertime in comfort is liable to seem like an uphill battle. Fortunately for apartment residents, effectively cooling compact living spaces is much easier – and less costly – than cooling larger residences. Just ask any homeowner who’s dealt with exorbitant summer utility costs. Even if your apartment lacks AC, there are a number of simple measures you can take to turn your pad into a refreshing oasis from the brutal summertime heat. If a nice, cool apartment is what you’re after, put the following pointers into practice.

Invest in Blackout Curtains

The more sunlight is able to find its way into your apartment, the warmer things are likely to become. As such, keeping your curtains and/or blinds closed during the sun’s peak hours can go a long way toward helping you maintain comfortably cool indoor temps. Unfortunately, standard curtains and blinds aren’t always up to the task of sufficiently minimizing interior sunlight, particularly the ones composed of thinner materials. So, if your current window dressings leave a lot to be desired, consider investing in blackout curtains.

Per the name, blackout curtains are designed to keep indoor sunlight to a bare minimum. In fact, some blackout curtains can block up to 98% of sunlight, which can be a boon to anyone whose apartment is located in a relentlessly sunny area. Additionally, if curtains aren’t your thing, you may want to look into blackout drapes and shades.

As an added bonus, the thermal variety of blackout curtains can prove highly effective at sealing in cool air and preventing warm air from outdoors from finding its way inside. Similarly, during the winter months, thermal curtains can serve to seal in warm air and keep cool air at bay.

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Open Your Windows at Night

During the nighttime hours, you may be able to leave your cooling efforts in the capable hands of Mother Nature. If the summer temps in your locale tend to drop overnight, opening some windows and allowing ceiling fans to circulate the naturally cool air throughout your apartment can help ensure that you stay comfortable overnight. Of course, for this plan to be fully effective, your pad will need to be equipped with dependable ceiling fans. So, if the ceiling fans currently installed in your apartment have seen better days, talk to your landlord about replacing them. However, keep in mind that depending on the terms of your lease, this may not fall under the landlord’s responsibilities.

Fortunately, modern ceiling fans are available in such an extensive assortment of types and sizes that you should have no problem finding fans that are perfectly suited to your apartment. So, if your pad has very limited ceiling space, simply limit your choices to small ceiling fans.

Place Limits on Oven Use

Oven use can add quite a bit of heat to a small apartment, and this is liable to be felt particularly hard during the summer months. That being the case, you’d do well to place strict limits on how often you use your oven – and when you use your oven – throughout the summertime. Needless to say, you should try to avoid using your oven during the sun’s peak hours. If you simply can’t do without your oven, limit oven usage to the nighttime hours, and make sure your windows are open while you’re cooking.

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For those of us who do a lot of cooking, limiting oven use is likely to come as an unwelcome restriction. However, instead of bemoaning this, it’s best to view it as an opportunity to experiment with new recipes – particularly ones that don’t require an oven.

The summer heat can present challenges for everyone, particularly people living in apartments that lack decent air conditioning. However, if there’s one bright spot for apartment residents, it’s that cooling a small living space without AC is considerably easier than cooling a larger residence without it. While there are certain situations where air conditioning is necessary, getting by without it may not be quite as difficult as you think. Apartment residents looking to keep their pads comfortably cool all summer long will be well-served by the tips discussed above.