You’ve got an apartment. Now you get to set the temperature where you’d like it. No one’s here to tell you not to touch the thermostat. There are a couple of things you need to know, though, about your heating and air conditioning system, and some things to think about.


Apartments on middle floors will use less heat or air conditioning, and thus provide a reduced energy bill. On a middle floor, you’ll automatically get benefits from the units above or below, or both. (Heat rises and cool air sinks).

Northerly facing apartments will typically be cooler and southern facing apartments will be warmer. So, if you’re living in a city that gets cold, you’ll use less heat in the winter if you have a southern exposure. Conversely, if you’re moving into an apartment in a city that gets hot, an east- or north-facing unit will save you from the hot afternoon sun.

If you like fresh air as well as savings, an apartment with windows on two sides of the building (optimally opposite each other). When they’re both open, you can typically enjoy a draft of free, fresh air flowing through your unit.

If the temperature outside is cool, open your doors or windows and shut off the A/C, or set your system on “Fan” only (switch your thermostat from “auto” to “on” and turn the cooling off).  If you live in a humid area, this might not work: higher humidity will make you feel more uncomfortable.

Ceiling fans will also help save on your electric bill by circulating more air, making you feel more comfortable. If your unit doesn’t have a ceiling fan, you can purchase a small box or table fan for under $30. You’ll get that money back in energy savings during the course of the year.

Your filters

Filters remove the dust, dirt, cat dander, other allergens and other particles from your interior air. The management may or may not change for you.  If have allergies, you’ll want to change it more often than they will, and you’ll want a better filter than they’ll provide.  Look for HEPA filters if you want the best.


There are many kinds of thermostats. Yours may be intuitive or you may need to read the instructions, so ask your manager if you need some instructions. You’ll want to master your thermostat. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a programmable thermostat, allowing you to create a temperature schedule in your apartment. If not, you’ll have to manually make these adjustments . . . which save you MONEY. When you’re gone, turn the temperature up about five degrees above where you normally keep it.


Newer apartments typically don’t have floor vents, but if yours does, it’s important not to put furniture on top of them. Not only will you lose the benefits of the vent, you can ruin certain furniture if too much heat hits it over time.

Most vents have directional levers and can be pointed where you want. You can also completely shut off a vent (as in a bathroom).

When winter arrives, and you turn your heat on for the first time, it is normal to smell a slight burning smell.  That’s your system burning off a little dust which has accumulated on the heating source.


If you’re going to have a roommate, ask them if they’re hot-natured or cold-natured. If you two are on opposite ends of the spectrum, you’ll have a hard time getting the temperature to a point where you’ll both be comfortable, and this could cause friction between you. There’s nothing worse than being hot-natured and coming home to a hot apartment because your roomie’s always cold.

What are your tips for keeping cool? Do you have any apartment air conditioning horror stories? Get social with us!