I live on the top floor of a two-storey old building. At least in my region on the Lower Rhine, these apartments are widely available and cheaper than comparable offers with the same living space. The big disadvantage of them is that they get very hot in summer.
This means that in the early afternoon it is even warmer inside than outside. When it’s 26 to 28 degrees outside, I get 28 to 30 degrees on the same days. In the evening it takes longer for the temperatures to drop, which leads to problems falling asleep.
I also work several hours a day in the home office. In my free time, I also like to spend the evenings gaming on the PC or PS5. So I spend a comparatively large amount of time in my apartment.
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Fans & Co. – I have tried these solutions
In order to make everyday life in the home office more pleasant in terms of the heat, I spent several months researching the Internet and trying out various options – from small fans to large air purifiers to a mobile air conditioner.
My goal was to create a pleasant indoor climate as cost-effectively as possible. I want to share my experiences with you here so that you don’t have to invest the same amount of time and money.
My findings at a glance
- Pleated blinds and privacy screens on the windows help keep sunlight and heat out.
- In order to keep room temperatures low, fans are not the means of choice.
- When a fixed split air conditioner is not an option, portable air conditioners can be an alternative.
- A cold foot bath can also work wonders.
Passive methods against the heat
First I tried to fix the problem at the source: the exposure to the sun. My old house windows don’t have blinds and I’m not a fan of curtains (though my cats are). That’s why I opted for honeycomb pleated blinds in the living room.
They are easy to install on the windows and have a great effect. The sunlight stays outside, so less heat comes through the windows into my apartment.
However, my office only has one sloping window and the installation, which works beautifully in the living room, didn’t hold up very well. That’s why I tried pleated blinds with suction cups here.
Unfortunately I have not found any with honeycomb for this installation method. The effect is correspondingly smaller. For support, I glued a reflective anti-UV film to the outer glass. This ensures that you look through these windows as if you were wearing sunglasses.
Together with the suction cup pleated blind, the dark effect was good. But in both rooms it was not possible to prevent the air in the room from becoming uncomfortably stuffy and hot when it was very hot.
With fans on the wrong track
Keeping the heat out wasn’t enough. The room needed active cooling
I tried it very simply with a simple table fan. It was left over from my previous shared flat, so I didn’t have to spend any money on it.
For the sake of completeness, I also mention the Dyson TP02 Pure Cool Link air purifier. When I saw the first Dyson devices with their stylish and innovative design several years ago, they fascinated me.
After two weeks I returned my order. Because the name promises cooling, but in the end you don’t get any closer to the goal of real cooling.
Because: A fan does not change the room temperature at all.
It creates a draft that has a cooling effect on the skin as it moves. This ensures that you don’t sweat as quickly. But as soon as you move away from the draft, you immediately feel the heat that has accumulated all around.
Staying on the ventilator train for too long can also have nasty side effects. After a long weekend, which was mainly used for gaming and with the fan always at my side, the consequences were a sore throat and hoarseness for two weeks.
Large tower fans cover significantly larger areas, which is useful, for example, when you want to sit on the couch with your family in the evening without your arms and legs sticking together at the slightest touch.
So what can be done to actively lower the temperature in the room? Because I wanted to continue to spend little money, I first looked for the cheapest options.
Various fans with water cooling promise cooling in summer. These try to mimic a real air conditioner. With a built-in tank for cold water or ice, the draft and thus the room temperature should be cooled.
What sounds good in theory only works up to a certain point in practice. Namely the one where the water reaches room temperature. The hotter it is, the faster this point is reached. From then on, a fan with a water tank hardly differs from one without.
Depending on the size of the tank and the starting temperature of the water or ice and the internal temperature, this point is reached after 30 minutes to two hours. For someone like me who works from home all day, so not a long-term solution.
Air conditioners – nothing for tenants?
So I decided to bite the bullet and invest a substantial sum of money in a proper air conditioner.
When I researched good and cheap offers, it quickly became apparent that a permanently installed split air conditioning system was not feasible at all. These consist of two parts and are installed on both sides of a house wall.
This leads to several problems: I am renting, I do not own the apartment or the house. Added to this is the time and cost involved in such an installation.
The next best option would be a portable split air conditioner. Instead of drilling a hole through a wall, you run an air hose through a window or door. But without a balcony or something similar, I have no way of setting up the outdoor part safely. What options are left then?
The outside part is left out. I bought the AEG Chillflex Pro. This is also a mobile air conditioner with a hose leading outside. It connects the indoor and outdoor parts of a split unit into one unit.
A window seal is also required. These are glued to the window frame and have a zipped opening to take the hose outside. This means that the warm air can escape through the hose, but not inside.
I am personally very enthusiastic about the AEG Chillflex Pro. I didn’t expect a miracle, but the cooling effect is clearly noticeable and measurable. On hot days, it cools my small office from 28 to 24 degrees. Thanks to four wheels that can rotate 360 degrees, the device is also mobile and can be easily pushed around the home.
But there are also a few distinct downsides to consider before making a purchase. The AEG device may be compact and mobile, but it produces a considerable volume. When watching a series in the evening, the TV has to be turned up significantly louder to drown out the fan. In addition, the device must be placed near a window so that the hose can be routed outside.
The best solution against the heat
As you can see, there are many different solutions for different circumstances. Before you buy anything, it’s best to find out what you need. Get a thermometer and record how warm it is in your apartment and at what temperature it remains comfortable for you.
🔴 Water tank fans: The devices with a water tank did not convince me. The cooling effect wore off too quickly for my taste. If you don’t spend a lot of time at home in the summer but need a quick cool down in this short time, you might think about it.
🟡 Table fan: If you are satisfied with the temperature and just want to reduce sweating, then a simple table fan can provide enough help for little money.
🟡 Turmventilator: The same applies to tower fans. I still found the Dyson model to be pleasant for the bedroom. Because once I fall asleep, I usually sleep through the night. But you don’t need a device for 400 euros for that.
🟡 Split air conditioning: If you really want to cool down your apartment noticeably throughout the day, you cannot avoid an air conditioner. If you own your own four walls, it may even be worth having a split device installed.
🟢 Mobile air conditioning: For tenants, I recommend one of the variants with an exhaust hose through the window. A mobile device can be easily resold if necessary after a move.
🟢 Honeycomb pleated blinds: If you also live under the roof and have to struggle with annoying sunlight on your monitor or television (or belong to the Michael Graf genus), I recommend honeycomb pleated blinds for your windows.
- Didn’t get the inside joke? Then it’s best to listen to this podcast episode quickly so that you can have a say in the digital playground:
Link to podcast content
My secret tip against the heat
If you made it this far, then you know about my personal experiences with all sorts of technical aids against the heat.
But I have another insider tip, and it’s super easy, doesn’t use any electricity and you can use it at home right now.
I’m talking about the cold foot bath. Grab a large bucket or any closed container that will fit your feet.
Cold water in the bucket, sit comfortably on the couch or in the armchair and slowly let your feet slide into the bucket. In a few seconds your entire body will cool down and you will feel fresh again.
Did we forget an insider tip? What tools do you use to keep your apartment or house cool? Feel free to write us your recommendations in the comments and share them with the community.