Cooling a warm condo in the winter?

I am seeking ideas for cooling an overly warm condo in the winter time. I live in Canada and being on the upper floor of my condo building, it is generally too warm in winter (24C/75F) a lot of the time even if it is well below freezing outside…my heat doesn’t turn on due to hot air rising from the unit below. We’re not supposed to have windows open when it is below freezing due to risk of water pipes freezing and causing flooding.

Ironically, heat isn’t an issue in the summer because I run a couple of portable air conditioners.

Does anyone have any Ideas for how I can cool my place in winter without risking freezing my water heating pipes? I’m looking for real ways to lower the temperature…not things like swamp coolers or fans that only make it feel cooler. Due to condo bylaws I can’t drill into the exterior of the condo.

You can’t open your windows at ALL? If the only heat coming into your apartment is from the floors below you, venting the hot air for just a couple of minutes and then sealing back up should cool things down considerably, and for a good while. You could further expedite the process by using a box fan to expel the hot air more quickly.

How cold do you want it ? … and why ?!
Is pipe freezing temperature still too warm ?
Can’t you run the portable air conditioners in the winter ?
So many questions.

Is the hallway cooler? If so open the front door and put a fan there to draw in some outside air.

This is likely a fire code violation. The halls are over pressure to keep them clear of smoke and the open door would defeat that.

But he is already on fire!

But seriously I would love to not have to pay heating bills in the winter in Canada. Are there exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen? Getting some air flowing could remove some heat, not clear about the only feels cooler aspect of fans. Removing heat from the place by exhausting it to the cooler outside would be making it cooler.

I’d open the windows anyways. There’s a huge margin going from too hot at 75F to below freezing at 32F. Pretty sure you’d be closing the windows back up before it even dropped below 60.
The risk of your pipes freezing is almost nil unless you plan on leaving the windows open and leaving town for a few days.

How is the air from the unit below getting into your condo? Do the units have a shared ventilation system? If there are vents, there may be a slider where you can close the vent.

I am not sure of the exact Canadian laws and codes, but in the US :
The ASHRAE 62.1 (“Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Residential Buildings”) recommends homes receive no less than 0.35 air changes per hour of outdoor air to ensure adequate indoor air.

I think air temperature is not your only issue but fresh air (good oxygen levels, good CO2 levels, etc) too.

If it was me, I would talk to a local HVAC company - show the pertaining codes to the Condo managers and get permission to install a fresh air fan. The fan needs to have a thermostat which will turn it off when it gets too cold in the condo.

The no windows open thing is just the management being overly cautious. If your unit is 75-degrees there’s no chance your pipes are going to freeze just from having a couple windows cracked to cool it down a few degrees. Just don’t forget and leave them open.

It’s more likely it’s just the downstairs unit functioning like underfloor heating. Interior floors are usually not insulated for heat. I’ve lived in many places in cool climes where my downstairs neighbors did all my heating for me.

Only pipes in unheated areas can freeze and opening a window or two cannot cool the unheated parts.

I can open windows briefly and can and do crack the windows if it’s not too far below zero, but I tend to forget they’re cracked which can be dangerous if it gets really cold out.

My experience living in several upper floor apartments is they’re almost always too warm from heating rising below.

So you need a box fan and an alarm clock. :slight_smile:

This is what i’ve been thinking, but can it be done without drilling into the building?

I do open them but one of my heaters is right by my patio door which concerns me. If I forget to close the window and it drops to -20 out (very common here in winter) I’m sure the pipes could freeze pretty easy.

One simple thing you could try is to point fans at the windows. It will help circulate the cold air from the window into the room and transfer the heat from the room to the outside through the window. I’m guessing the windows are double-paned, so I’m not sure how effective it will be. But it’s something pretty easy to try and see if it helps. If the window is cool to the touch, then pointing a fan at the window will likely help cool the room down.

I run my bathroom fan 24/7. The kitchen has a fan/vent to push air out but it’s super loud so I don’t use it much.

This, plus I don’t want to risk the cats escaping. Hallway is only a bit cooler.