If you’re like us, you’re enjoying planting flowers and putting away your heavy sweaters as the last chill of winter gives way to the warmth of spring. The warmer weather is always welcome – until it gets too hot, that is. Summer isn’t far off, and with it will come soaring temperatures that can leave you uncomfortable in your apartment.
You can’t do anything to ward off the dog days of summer, but you can prepare your home ahead of time so those sweltering days don’t bother you too much. Here’s how to ensure you’ll be cool as a cucumber when the heat hits.
- Have your air conditioner inspected.
You don’t want to wait until you really need it to find out your AC is broken. Test your air conditioner sometime this spring. Does it not cool down your apartment? Does it make weird noises or seem to work too hard? If there’s any problem at all, call your apartment maintenance crew out to fix it.
- Improve insulation around windows and doors.
Most people think of beefing up their insulation when they’re preparing for winter, but the same principles apply during the summer: You want to keep your comfortable, cool air inside and the hot air outside. Make sure there are no drafts, and if there are, you will want to call the maintenance staff. Hang curtains and blinds to keep direct sunlight from entering your apartment.
- Clean the vents on your dryer.
You already know that you should clean out your lint trap after each load of laundry. But you also need to clean the vent that directs excess hot air outside your home about once a year. If you don’t, you’re creating a fire hazard (talk about hot!) and some air that should be directed outside may instead blow back inside.
Cleaning your vent is an easy process. Here’s how to do it:
- Unplug the dryer and pull it away from the wall.
- Loosen the clamp that attaches the vent to the dryer and pull the vent away.
- Use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to suck up the excess lint and debris that’s collected in the vent.
- Reconnect everything.
Another option to save money and keep you cooler is to use a drying rack to let your clothes air-dry instead of using the appliance.
- Change the direction of your ceiling fans.
To cool down a room, the ceiling fan should rotate counter-clockwise. This pushes the air downward, creating a wind chill effect that can make you feel as much as 4 degrees cooler than the room actually is. Creating this breeze is an energy-efficient and easy way to keep your home feeling much cooler. (In winter, you’ll want it to rotate clockwise so the warm air that gathers at the top of the room gets circulated.)
If you don’t have a ceiling fan where you want one, ask your maintenance crew to install one for you. You may have to buy the fan yourself, but they should be able to mount it on the ceiling for you.
- Have plenty of ice on hand.
Whether your fridge has an automatic ice maker or you have to do it the old-fashioned way with cube trays, you’ll want plenty of ice on hand when summer hits. Drinking an ice-cold beverage does a lot to cool down your body temperature, so make sure your freezer and ice maker are in good working order.