How to Keep your Flat Cool in Summer

Living in the Czech Republic means wearing 3 jumpers simultaneously during a cold January evening as well as laying half naked on the Vltava sidewalks on a hot July afternoon.

While in the first scenario there’s always a further scarf you can put on, in the second there’s nothing more you can do than getting rid of your t-shirt and short pants unless you happen to know a nudist beach along the river in the proximity of the city of which I ignore the existence.

Flats become ovens themselves, and it gets difficult to sleep at night without air conditioning. As most of you already know, air conditioners are forbidden by law in the very city center of Prague, therefore alternative strategies have to be found in order to tackle those ugly pit strains and avoid sweating all night long.

Here you can find a list of suggestions we believe will help to keep your apartment cooler and more pleasant during the sunny days that summer will bring us!

Deal with your windows and light bulbs.

First of all – it might sound predictable but has to be mentioned – keep your blinds closed throughout the day. Statistics show that up to 30% of unwanted heat comes through the windows during daylight, thus stopping the sunlight coming from the outside plays a considerable role in the fight against warmth. We understand that barricading yourself in your own flat would make it look like a cave, therefore shut down only those windows facing the sun, keeping open the others.

The sun still kicks too hard? This may not be the fanciest solution ever, but will work: place cardboard over the windows to further block heat from entering.

If you happen to have a certain budget, or your landlord is such an available person that will be willing to pay for this, add awnings, shades, and/or shutters to the exterior of your windows. These additional options will provide another layer of protection from the sun. Among these solutions, awnings are the most effective course of action, having the potential to reduce heating gains by 65-75%.

There are obviously cheaper ways to preserve your flat cool, for instance by turning off or replacing incandescent lights. Incandescent light bulbs create a nice atmosphere at home but also give off a lot of heat. If your place mainly runs on incandescent, we recommend you to change some of your current bulbs and put more energy efficient bulbs (as long as your landlord agrees and the lease agreement allows it).

Deal with your appliances.

The most obvious among them is the oven. You’ve been baking quiches and homemade bread during the whole winter, is it really necessary to do that in the summertime as well? We’re joking, but if you happen to have a balcony or terrace and a BBQ grill, cook some tasty veggies and meat outdoor to make sure you’re not overheating the inner environment. In the case you don’t, we suggest you opt for meals that don’t require cooking at all. Personally, I couldn’t live without a fresh salad per day when the temperature rises over 27-29 Celsius degrees.

Laundry machines – by cleaning with hot water – throw off a lot of heat as well. Now, your clothes have to be cleaned every now and then, right? Nevertheless, there’s no need to use the washer during the hottest parts of the day. Hence, do your laundry loads at night in order to minimize the heating effect. Same discourse for the dishwasher.

Moreover, unplug electronic tools when not in use, or use a ‘clever’ power strip to power off electronics you don’t need at the moment. It may not seem so, but most electronics generate heat by using electricity even when they are not functioning.

Deal with humidity.

If your apartment is located just in front of a river, then you know what we’re talking about. Moisture is a great issue even in my region (Emilia-Romagna, Italy) during the summer, and a few tips might definitely make the difference.

Move indoor plants outdoor, on the terrace or on vase holders facing the outside. Although we know how pleasant is the basil’s smell all over the house, plants tend to produce a lot of airborne moisture, fostering the overall amount of humidity.

After taking a shower, dry towels and bathrobes in the sun by hanging them over a line or a railing on the outside. If there’s no chance to do so, just make sure you don’t spread ’em all over the house on chairs and hangers to avoid a general increase of wetness.

Last but not least, invest in a dehumidifier if you have the financial means, or buy a fan to keep the place breezy.

We hope we gave you some relevant information to make your apartment more pleasant and enjoyable. Write in the comments if you have any further suggestions!

We wish you a great summer in the Czech Republic 😉

Nilo Castaldini

Nilo Castaldini

Volunteer for the Italian Red Cross, I enjoy good company, off-road motorcycles and pasta 'al dente'. My philosophy upon personal growth and future perspectives can be summarised quoting the words of the famous Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet: “The most beautiful of [our] seas, is the one we haven't sailed yet […]”.

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