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How to cool your apartment or rental fast without AC

When the summer comes, a lack of air conditioning in your apartment or rental can start to seem drastic. Or maybe you have AC but you don't want to use it too often because of rising energy bills. 

Whatever your reason for forgoing AC, you might be wondering how to cool your home without it. 

While true cooling isn't possible without AC, you can keep your apartment or rental from getting too hot in the first place. Plus, some products help you feel more comfortable even if they don't reduce the ambient temperature in your home. 

Shop this article: Dyson Cool AM07 Air Multiplier Tower FanLasko Portable Electric Oscillating Tower Fan and Big Ass Fans Haiku L Smart Ceiling Fan

Can you cool your home without AC? 

AC pulls in air from your surroundings, chills the air using chemical refrigerants and blows it back out into the room, thus bringing down the temperature. Without air conditioning, you can't actually make your home cooler, but there are various ways to make yourself feel cooler and to keep the temperature in your home from rising. 

So, while you can't technically cool your apartment or rental without AC, you can certainly make yourself feel cooler. 

How to keep cool without AC

Use a tower or desk fan

Tower fans and desk fans pull in air through vents and push it out at speed to create a breeze. If you're within its range, this makes you feel cooler even though the ambient temperature remains the same. 

Use a ceiling fan

Ceiling fans circulate air to make you feel cooler. Make sure your fan is set to rotate counterclockwise in the summer months, as this pushes air down into the room and creates a wind chill effect from the breeze. 

Keep your curtains drawn 

Drawing your curtains before the sun starts shining through them keeps rooms significantly cooler. While it might seem strange to sit in a darkened room on a sunny day, it makes a huge difference to the temperature in a room. This is especially important in rooms with south-facing windows that get a lot of sun throughout the day. 

Open your windows selectively

It might seem like opening your windows to let in the fresh air would be a good idea on a hot day. However, when it's hotter outside than inside, opening windows will only increase the temperature in your home. 

Therefore, you should keep your windows shut except for late at night or early in the morning when the temperature has dropped enough that it's cooler outdoors. If you wake up during the night, this is the perfect time to open your windows. 

Turn on extractor fans

Extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens can be useful in keeping your home cool. Hot air rises and therefore often sits at the top of the room, near the ceiling. When you run extractor fans or exhaust fans, the hot air is sucked out and cooler air can take its place. 

Don't use the oven

Switching on your oven on a hot day is bad news. Instead, try to stick to salads, sandwiches and other foods that don't need cooking. When you want hot food, a microwave or toaster oven produces significantly less heat than a full-size oven. 

Avoid the dryer 

If you're lucky enough to have a tumble dryer in your unit, think twice about using it when it's hot out. A warm day is the perfect time to dry laundry outside if you have a space in which to do so. Otherwise, use clothes drying racks indoors. 

Consider a dehumidifier

While dehumidifiers don't reduce the temperature in a room, it's sometimes humidity that makes people feel extra hot and sticky. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air, leaving you with a dry heat that many people find more manageable. Keeping the humidity below 60% will leave you feeling much more comfortable. 

Best tower fans

Top tower fan

Dyson Cool AM07 Air Multiplier Tower Fan

What you need to know: This high-end tower fan is quiet and bladeless

What you’ll love: Without rotating blades, this Dyson fan is safer for kids and pets. It's great for use at night or while watching TV due to its quiet operation. It has air multiplier technology to create powerful airflow. 

What you should consider: It's significantly more expensive than other tower fans on the market. 

Sold by Amazon

Top tower fan for the money

Lasko Portable Electric Oscillating Tower Fan

What you need to know: Thanks to its included remote, it's easier to control from bed or while lounging on the couch. 

What you’ll love: It has three speed settings and oscillates for widespread coverage. It's relatively quiet. Because it's light, it's easy to move between rooms for cooling power where you need it. 

What you should consider: It isn't great for large rooms as the cooling breeze doesn't extend that far from the unit. 

Sold by Amazon

Best ceiling fans

Top ceiling fan

Big Ass Fans Haiku L Smart Ceiling Fan

What you need to know: Large and highly effective, this fan offers seven speeds and a range of modes.

What you’ll love: Thanks to its smart features, you can control it using a smartphone app. It's also compatible with Alexa and Google assistant and comes with a simple remote control. 

What you should consider: Some buyers think it could be quieter, given the price. 

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Top ceiling fan for the money

Portage Bay Hugger Matte Black West Hill Ceiling Fan

What you need to know: With its reversible motor, it's easy to pull warm air up toward the ceiling to make your home feel cooler. 

What you’ll love: It has five blades and a built-in dome light kit. It's relatively powerful yet runs quietly. Installation is simple. The low profile design means it doesn't hang down too far into the room. 

What you should consider: It isn't the most attractive of ceiling fans. 

Sold by Amazon

Best blackout curtains

Top blackout curtains

H Versatilex Linen Blackout Curtains

What you need to know: Made from a heavy linen-look polyester, these blackout curtains look great and drape nicely. 

What you’ll love: They block out light effectively to help keep rooms cool. Cleaning them is easy as they're machine-washable. They're available in seven colors, including teal, navy and dove gray. 

What you should consider: They arrive quite wrinkled, so you'll need to iron or steam them. 

Sold by Amazon

Top blackout curtains for the money

Rutterllow Blackout Curtains

What you need to know: Thanks to their effective blackout properties, they do a great job of keeping rooms cooler. 

What you’ll love: They come in a range of sizes to suit most windows. You can choose from 11 colors, including black, dark gray and turquoise. 

What you should consider: The colors displayed in the pictures aren't completely accurate. 

Sold by Amazon

Best clothes drying racks

Top clothes drying rack

Birdrock Home Folding Steel Clothes Drying Rack

What you need to know: Made from steel and bamboo, this drying rack is as strong as it is attractive. 

What you’ll love: With three tiers, you can dry a lot of clothes on this rack. It's collapsible for easy storage while not in use. It comes fully assembled. 

What you should consider: It's relatively heavy, which some people find cumbersome. 

Sold by Amazon

Top clothes drying rack for the money

Amazon Basics Folding Laundry Rack

What you need to know: A simple drying rack made from rust-resistant steel for indoor use. 

What you’ll love: Thanks to its lightweight design, it's easy to move from room to room. It supports up to 32 pounds of laundry. It's easy to fold for storage. 

What you should consider: It isn't the most durable option and can start to feel rickety with regular use. 

Sold by Amazon

Best dehumidifiers

Top dehumidifier

Frigidaire Dehumidifier

What you need to know: With capacity choices between 22 and 60 pints, there's a version for most spaces. 

What you’ll love: You can customize your level of humidity control. The filter is removable and easy to clean. It has caster wheels so you can easily move it between rooms to feel the effect. 

What you should consider: It runs noisily, even on low settings. 

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Top dehumidifier for the money

Black and Decker Dehumidifier 

What you need to know: This is a reliable dehumidifier with different size options for spaces up to 1,500, 3,000 and 4,500 square feet. 

What you’ll love: It's relatively compact so it won't take up too much of your living space. It can remove up to 30 pints of moisture from the air in 24 hours. It's Energy Star-certified so it is economical to run. 

What you should consider: The container inside has a small capacity and therefore needs regular emptying. 

Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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