Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Apartment Cool this Summer

At Franklin West, apartment living is our bread and butter. We value making sure residents are able to comfortably call our apartments home.

Though occasionally, the sunny season throws a few curve balls in apartment life. Today, we’re arming you with convenient, easy, and life-changing tips so you can get back to enjoying Pittsburgh’s summer activities.

Curtain and Fan Tricks

Summertime in city apartments can get a little too roasty toasty for comfort. Your home should bring cool relief after working all day. We rounded up nifty little tricks to help you stay cool without having the AC on high.

  • Keep curtains closed during the day. Up to 30% of unwanted heat comes from your windows, simply closing and covering the windows can dramatically impact indoor temperatures.
  • Spray ice water on your curtains! When a breeze comes, your curtains become a homemade air conditioner.
  • Toss a water bottle or two in the freezer during the day so by bedtime, you have an ice pack to keep your bed chilled.  
  • Consider replacing your flannel sheets with lighter, cooler alternatives. Pillows, too, like natural buckwheat hull, are actually designed to keep heat away from your head while you sleep.
  • Place fans strategically around your apartment to circulate the air and create the perfect cross breeze. Go old school by placing a shallow bowl filled with ice in front of a fan for a nice cool mist.
  • If you have ceiling fans in your apartment, set them to rotate counter-clockwise during the summer. If you do not know how to do this or if they are out of your reach, please call our office and one of our maintenance technicians would be glad to do it for you.

Appliances that Generate Heat

  • Save on your electric bill by keeping lights turned off when not in use.
  • Your stove, oven, and dishwasher create more heat when in use. So, avoid using these during the day.
  • Do laundry in the evening. Generating a lot of heat and humidity, whether you have your own washer or dryer or shared laundry in the building, remember that heat rises. Your upper floors neighbors will thank you!
  • Exhaust fans aren’t just for smells. When cooking, use the exhaust fan to draw out excess steam and humidity. The same goes for the bathroom. Without it, all of the humidity that builds up will leak out making your apartment feel a lot warmer.  
  • Have an overabundance of electronics? Even when not in use, computers and televisions generate heat. When these items are not in use, consider unplugging them. Doing this will help your electric bill, too!
  • Close off the rooms/areas you are not using so that the cold air stays where you want it to be and doesn’t go where you don’t want it.

Air Conditioning Tips and Maintenance

  • If your apartment has central air conditioning, set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible. The more cooling you do with your central or room air conditioner, the higher your electric bill will be.
  • Setting the thermostat to a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner won’t cool things down any faster, and if you forget, you’ll end up paying for it when the bill comes.  
  • Also, don’t place large appliances near your thermostat. These emit heat and can cause your central AC to run longer than necessary.
  • If your apartment has wall-unit air conditioning, only turn it on in the room(s) you want to have cooled and turn it off if you are no longer using that room.
  • Whether you have central air-conditioning, wall-unit or window air conditioning, make sure that your registers and filters are clean and that they are not being blocked by furniture or other items.

We want to make sure our properties are a haven from the summer heat. Residents are encouraged to call right away if you find that your air conditioning unit is not functioning properly.

For best service, report air conditioning problems early in the workday. This way our maintenance technicians will have sufficient time to diagnose the problem, can purchase any parts that may be needed, and then fix the system for you.

 

There you have it. All the do it yourself tips and old school tricks to keep you and your family cooler than cucumbers. Besides, if all else fails, we hear homemade popsicles become a wonderful family activity and a perfect remedy for any summer heat!

10 Ways to Improve Apartment Life in Shadyside

Summer in Pittsburgh is in full swing bringing gorgeous sunny days. Here at Franklin West, we pride ourselves on providing a superior living. The best thing about apartment living is its cost-efficiency! We want to help you spruce things up in apartment living and maybe help take care of a few pesky issues.

Get Help From Nature

The movement of wall gardens and leafy centerpieces isn’t just a decor statement. Plants are extremely useful for repelling pests, cleaning the air, and everyday uses you didn’t even realize could help. Here’s our list of must-have plants.

  1. Lavender – repels moths, fleas, flies, and mosquitos
  2. Peppermint – repels spiders, mosquitos, and ants
  3. Peace Lily – can improve your home’s air quality.
  4. Snake plants – extremely effective at removing toxins in the air.
  5. Aloe – helps you out during sunny days at the pool

BONUS: Herbs – for cooking, of course.

As an added bonus, certain sun-seeking indoor plants help keep the air around them cool. Plants rely on photosynthesis in order to survive, a process in which they consume water and sunlight to create their own food. This process also causes plants to take in energy, in this case, heat.

Ease the Noisy Fanfare

From sounds of the streets to hearing your roommate’s sandals flopping on the hardwood floors in the other room, apartments are a little noisy. We rounded up a few ways to soundproof your apartment.

  • Easy to install yourself, use a draft blocker (DIY or store-bought) to keep out dust, bugs, drafts, moisture and most importantly, noise.
  • Stuck hearing outdoor racket when trying to sleep? Look into getting a white noise machine or shop around for different mobile apps.
  • Canvas art (home created or store-bought) can actually help soundproof your home, just don’t forget to attach acoustic tile to the back.  
  • Noise bounces off of glassware and ceramics, so tuck away these items.
  • Rugs are your friend. Use multiple, crazy patterned rugs or just one large one to absorb echoes and other loud noises. A thick carpet pad works well if you love the pattern of a fairly thin rug.

These tips are alternatives to minimal issues. If you’re experiencing major problems concerning the mentioned topics, reach out to our main office for assistance. Enjoy apartment living during any season!   

Fill Your Calendar With These Shadyside Summer Activities!

After enduring second and third winter, plus the endless bounds of rain for the first couple months of the year, Pittsburghers welcome the sunny season with open arms. We have the details of Shadyside’s summer events. As the most friendly, and very walkable place in Pittsburgh, Shadyside erupts with exciting and affordable experiences! 

This isn’t the time to just work on a tan. The warmest season of the year means enjoying all of the unique activities the area has to offer. From weekly outdoor movies to the musical block parties that benefit our city’s pups.

There are so many places to see and things to do in Pittsburgh this season, many of them are even free! Here are the plans you need to mark in your calendar.

Thanks to Dollar Bank, Pittsburghers are able to bask in the warm weather and enjoy the latest movies for free! Make it quality time with family, a friends night out, or even a date to remember. Any local will say movies in the park are one of the most enjoyable events that happen in the Burgh.

Playing every Sunday in Schenley Plaza and Wednesdays at Schenley Park on Flagstaff Hill. Movies begin at dusk so grab the popcorn and we’ll see you there!

Each Friday from June 15 to August 31, The Frick will be featuring a variety of outdoor performances, family-friendly activities, and dining options. The north lawn will have games fit for every member of the family.

Also, the first floor of the Clayton mansion will be open to tour at your own pace, free of charge. You won’t want to miss a chance to see the rooms of this historic home in the summer evening light.

Feel free to bring your own blanket and picnic basket, choose to stop in The Café, to grab a bite to eat, a glass of wine, or a beer, or explore a variety of local food trucks. Performances begin every Friday at 6:30 p.m.

To see a complete schedule click here.

The annual Jam on Walnut outdoor concerts is a Shadyside favorite. Explore the multitude of Shadyside’s local bars and restaurants or come early and do some shopping.

Not only are these performances full of fun and great music, they’re also the perfect way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. The five outdoor concerts all benefit Humane Animal Rescue and will be held on June 23, July 21, August 18, September 22, and October 20.

Want to know who’s performing? Go to Jam on Walnut 2018 Facebook page.

It may be open 365 days a year, but summer is simply more special. From bringing dinosaurs back to the Festival of color, The Pittsburgh Zoo is an awesome place for families.

There are new adventures every weekend. For a half hour, the wild animal encounters gives you the opportunity to play zookeeper with animals like the rare and endangered red panda. Plus, have you heard about the new Zipline? At the highest point of the Zoo, coast through diverse ecosystems and a lush jungle just below your feet!

Situated right in Shadyside, Mellon Park is the ideal location to relax, read a book, catch up on some work or enjoy a picnic.

The hidden sanctuary is rich in history and known for its Walled Garden located right behind the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts building and the Phipps Garden Center.

Mellon Park is home to many wonderful, family friendly events like Bach, Beethoven and Brunch! Also, stop by the park to find the freshest local produce and baked goods at the weekly farmers market, held every Friday afternoon.

 

As you can see, summer activities don’t have to break the bank, many things are even free for the public. Before we know it Pittsburgh will be back to snow and ice so don’t pass up the chance to enjoy the sun and warm weather at all of the outdoor Pittsburgh events this summer.

We hope this list inspires you to get outside and try new things, venture to a new place and meet someone you otherwise wouldn’t have, or commit to taking yourself out of your everyday routine to mix things up. Make this summer one to remember.

Now, what are you still waiting for… go celebrate!