I'm currently renting a studio apartment basically a single room apartment with only one window and I'm having a really difficult time sleeping during this hot summer (Live in Vancouver) because my studio feels like its like 5-10 degrees hotter than outside with no fresh air.

The lay-out is essentially the following (I copied a similar layout from another question but they lived in a 2-story apartment)

|                        / door
/ window door   ————————-|
|               | bath   | 
|               | room   |

To make things worse, my window is fairly small crank/hinge type window that opens from the top into my apartment. The opening is approximately 13'' tall and 4' wide. Here's front-view:

|H-----------------H|        H = where the hinges are
|window opens out   |
|                   |
|                   |
|      Glass        |

I'm wondering what my options are for cooling down my apartment.

Stuff I've done:

  1. Open my door to the lobby and blow air in using a tower fan (But I'm not willing to do this at night)
  2. Put my fan right beside me (works okay but at some point it's just blowing hot air towards)
  3. Already blocking sunlight using white poster paper layered with aluminum foil

Stuff I haven't tried and would like to get your opinions:

  1. Get a portable AC (unsure about single hose or double hose)
    • What happens if I run the AC in fan-mode? What about a double hose AC in fan mode?
  2. Get some type of window fans that blow air in alternating directions to get circulation
  3. Possibly get a ceiling fan? (I don't know if it's possible in a rental apartment...)

Stuff I would prefer not to do:

  1. Move?

Would really appreciate any thoughts or comments about my options here...

  • 1
    This is a comment not answer as it is shopping, not a hack, but you can get intruder-proof "door ajar" locks such as this one which can only be released (from the inside) when the door is fully closed. It might be useful to provide some air circulation at night. You could use a small free-standing screen for visual privacy. Aug 9, 2021 at 18:57
  • 1
    I use an upstairs room a lot both by day and night which can get very hot. My basic strategy is to keep the window closed during the day and the curtains closed (it faces the sun), until the inside temperature reaches the outside temperature, when I open it to try to limit its temperature to ambient. I leave it open through the night to allow the room to cool down, and close it in the morning. Aug 9, 2021 at 19:06
  • 1
    You have a door too, with gaps around it. Your apartment isn't airtight. Just put a fan in the window. Or get a floor fan and aim it at where you're sitting. That's pretty much what everyone does unless you want an AC. Aug 9, 2021 at 23:14
  • 1
    Is there a restrictor on the opening window that prevents it being opened more than a certain amount? Are you tool-competent enough to remove it and refit it when your lease is up?
    – Caius Jard
    Aug 17, 2021 at 6:34
  • @Caius Jard, it would be a little difficult because the window opens outward, but it's a good point, I think I could remove and put it back. This makes a window AC maybe viable? But it would still be hard to install the supports since I don't have access to the outside Aug 18, 2021 at 7:13

5 Answers 5


Getting airflow in a studio apartment with one-window?

Sensing that this question may pertain to many others in various situations, I will give a response as follows:

We all know hot air rises.

Thus I would recommend getting two of the largest fans possible that would conveniently fit into your open window. Place the two fans into the same opening. The lower one should be place bringing the cooler outside air into your complex. Place the second fan as high as possible towards the ceiling.

Build a 2 by 4 square (rectangle) support between the two box fans. The 2 by 4 a square (rectangle) should be covered with thick plastic on both the inside and outside to help the hot outside air coming into the unit and allowing light to come in!

A window fan is a fan designed to be placed inside the frame of a window. Window fans have been used for many decades to maintain comfortable temperatures and ventilation within one's home, and operate at a tiny fraction of the cost of central air conditioning.

My windows will support a 20” fan.

Hurricane Box Fan - 20 Inch

Hurricane Box Fan - 20 Inch

Smaller windows can utilize smaller twin fans.

Two-fan (or “twin”) units feature two small side-by-side internal fans. They’re more compact, and while they offer a slightly lower airflow on average, two fans work more efficiently, cooling a room faster. Bonus: In a two-fan unit with electrical reversibility and independent control of the two fans via two intake/exhaust switches, you can have one fan perform intake and the other on exhaust simultaneously to maximize cooling efficiency and indoor comfort.

CCC COMFORT ZONE 9-inch Twin Window Fan

The Best Window Fans for Cooling Down a Room

You can place the twin fans normally, on their side or even angled downwards, but supported, if your window is very small.

Also place wedges on the sides to help hold them in place.

We have both systems in our apartment because we do not have cross ventilation here and I feel uncomfortable having our door open.

Our fans are somewhat different from the images in this post, but you get the general idea.

During the hottest part of the day keep your windows closed and your blinds and/or curtains closed also. Curtains and blinds should also have a white backing to avoid absorbing more heat. I have dark heavy curtains which are back lined with an off-white backing. It works great at keeping the heat out. Not prefect, but it helps.

Fans blowing 24/7 will generally help. Stagnant air heats up terribly!

If you go the route of a portable air conditional unit, make sure it is big enough for your open square footage air space.

  • My window opening is horizontal, meaning there would be no lower or upper fan. Should the fans be spinning in alternate directions or same direction? If the same direction should I be pulling air in or out? Aug 10, 2021 at 17:08
  • @ArashOutadi The fans blow in and out at the same time. You could place them on a stand or dresser as close to the window as possible.
    – Ken Graham
    Aug 10, 2021 at 20:25
  • Just keep in mind that most of the fans suck the air in from the sides of the fan, not in front of it. Aug 20, 2021 at 13:34

In a similar vein to KenWhite's answer I think I would look at:

  • Taking the restrictor off the window
  • Propping it open as far open as it'll go (maybe horizontal..)
  • Getting a couple of square shaped fans that are electrically reversible or..
  • Designing an enclosure that you can slot the fan into, and take it out, flip it round physically (if the fans arent reversible electrically) to change the airflow direction

During the day, when you're in and maybe don't mind your door being open, open the door and a window somewhere else (kitchen? hall?) and put your fans on to either both evacuate or both draw in (if the local takeaway is right under your window, set them to evacuate).. Now they're achieving airflow through the room. As it gets to night, and the environment cools you can drop the speed

If you then want to shut your door whilst sleeping, you can (having hopefully kept the room to a lower temp during the day) turn one of the fans round, down the speed of both of them and have a circulation of air at a lower speed (quiet fan to aid sleep) to keep the room cooler. Building energy use and insolation drops at night so the cooling requirements are lower

I'd fit baffles to the fans to channel the airflow:

  • Internal face - one baffle points to ceiling, one points to floor
  • External face - left hand fan baffle (as viewed when standing in the room) points down and left, right hand fan baffle points down and right

Then at night the fan with the two downwards pointing baffles should be flipped round/set to reverse to bring air in. The aim of sending cooler air downwards is to try and help establish stratified air where it's cooler near the floor (where you sleep) than the ceiling

You might also want to consider insulating your floor (big rug?) if you suspect that an overheated apartment underneath you will have a hot ceiling/will warm your floor (your floor acts like under-floor heating)


You may have some success with heat management
. . . (I made-up the name for the following lifehacks).

There will most always be a heat differential (difference) between the inside and the outside. There are also a lesser ones from top to bottom and prairie dogs build their dens to take advantage of airflow from windward to leeward directions.

Fine. Here's how to apply some of the differences: The temperature change will be gradual and slight but these work. If you're persistent, you will get results.

  • If it is warmer outside than inside, close the windows to slow the warming of the room.
  • If it is cooler outside, open the window to allow the warmer air to escape—in the evening, say. Don't forget to close the window before the outside air temperature rises above room temperature.
  • Bathrooms almost always have a ceiling vent. Ensure it is working as efficiently as possible to evacuate the warmer air nearer the ceiling. Leave the bathroom door open to allow the maximum air circulation. (During winter, block the vent if you wish to minimize heat loss.)
  • One or more computer ventilator fans will fit inside the narrow horizontal window opening to maximize airflow in or out as conditions vary. They're small, efficient, quiet and inexpensive.
  • If the air is dry enough a light water-vapour mist in front of a fan can be refreshing as it evaporates. (Forget it in Vancouver, though.) If the air is not dry enough, you can add high humidity to your misery.
  • Hoses to and from a remote A/C do work but are not very efficient. There are several videos that rate them online. One would probably be better than being miserable (or brave.)

Good Luck.

  • Never ever block vents in your home. In apartment buildings, it messes up the ventilation not only in your apartment but also for the neighbors. In single-story buildings it risks ruining the building with mold. Aug 20, 2021 at 13:31
  • I'm surprised by the recommendation to use computer fans - those typically only move tens to low hundreds of cubic feet per minute, which is several times too small to ventilate even a small apartment. A typical window fan moves many hundreds to a few thousand CFM, and the window opening doesn't seem small enough to make a normal fan infeasible. Sep 30, 2021 at 13:51

Make or buy a swamp cooler. The name is misleading, but it works with water vapor. It will be amazing.

  • As Stan wrote in another comment, "If the air is not dry enough, you can add high humidity to your misery."
    – piojo
    Sep 29, 2021 at 9:46

I have a casement window that opens outwards and the best fan thats fitting in that window is a twelve inch Sea Breeze TurboAire or an XPOWER FC-250AD 13 INCH AIR CIRCULATOR, and as good as both of those are having a second window that opens would offer some great alternate strategies.

  • 1
    This adds nothing to the accepted answer and could be interpreted as spam.
    – Chenmunka
    Mar 24, 2022 at 7:32

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