Tenants who have air conditioning should consider themselves lucky. Air conditioning in Ohio is an amenity and not a right. Ohio law requires landlords to provide tenants with a source of heat, but they have no legal responsibility to provide air conditioning. However, if a rental unit already has air conditioning when a tenant moves in, the landlord is responsible for keeping it in working order.
If you don’t have central air or a window AC, you’re going to need some help beating the heat this summer. You’ve got a few months before summer hits, so keep these ideas in mind to stay cool.
You’ve probably seen the fancy DIY air conditioners made from plastic coolers. There are several DIY videos on YouTube that use USB-powered fans to blow cool air into the room and some equipped with solar power.
If you go this route, beware of the existing plans for coolers because most designs have flaws that cause the unit to fail. For example, you’ll need to install some radiators beneath the outflow tubes and separate the ice from the hot air using an insulated divider. Otherwise, your ice will be melted in ten minutes and you’ll get nothing but hot air.
One man experimented with many existing designs and developed solutions for all the flaws as he went along. He calls his final design the “Frankencooler.” If you want to make your own you can download the plans, buy the components, or if you just want the end result, you can buy a fully built Frankencooler.
If you can’t build your own AC and the prospect of the summer heat is too much, ask your landlord if you can install an AC unit. There are free-standing AC units you don’t need permission to use – they usually come on wheels and have a small drainage hose you just have to stick out of a window or into a bucket. However, always get permission before installing a window unit.
If you have a condition like COPD and a budget, ask your landlord for permission to install central air conditioning. When a medical condition requires that you have air conditioning, installing AC can be considered a reasonable accommodation. Your landlord can’t refuse reasonable requests, but you’ll need to foot the bill.
When the heat gets too intense, drape a wet kitchen towel around your neck for an instant cooling experience. Wearing a kitchen towel around your neck or over your head isn’t fashionable, but when you’re overheated it’s worth the sacrifice.
You can’t stand in a cold shower forever. If you get really hot, wear a t-shirt soaked in water.
If you can, find a way to spend the day in a building with air conditioning. If you work from home, drive out to a local coffee shop or restaurant to do some of your work. Go to the library if you need to.
If you have pets, you might already have some chill pads. If not, you need to get some. Chill pads are a cheap and easy way to keep yourself cool in the house.
A chill pad is like a heating pad, but the inside contains a material that cools you down. Some chill pads take frozen pack inserts and others contain gels that stay cool automatically. If you have pets, it’s important to use non-toxic cooling inserts just in case they scratch or bite through the plastic.
Get a large chill pad (or two) and place it on your bed, your office chair, or the couch, and relax.
If the idea of using a pet’s chill pad isn’t appealing, get a commercial product specifically designed to keep your bed cool. For example, there are mattress pads that plug into the wall and regulate cooler temperatures. For sleeping, the Bed Jet will gently blow cool air under your sheets. You can also use the Bed Jet in the winter to stay warm.
No matter how you plan to stay cool in the summer, remember to drink plenty of water and wear appropriate protection from the sun when you go outside.