Published May 12, 2017

Summer-Proofing Your Shanghai Apartment: The Complete Guide

By Ben Cost

Summer is the time of year when you sip shandy on the beach while the ocean breeze ruffles your hair. Or if you’re in Shanghai, “cold-box” yourself inside with the air conditioner cranked to “carbon freeze” and the shades drawn like a beluga with photodermatoses. Not to fear; here’s how to summer-proof your home like a pro. 


Clean your aircon


It might seem like Shanghai’s aircon units are self-aware wall droids spouting cold air in the winter and hot air in the summer just to torture us. More likely, you haven’t cleaned them since you moved in. Open the unit using the two latches on either end and pop out the filters. Wipe off the grime with a damp towel, and hose the remaining dirt off the mesh using your shower head or a detachable sink nozzle. Let the filter dry before putting it back in. Voilà. It should be more effective and energy-efficient now.


Electric fan


Supplement the aircon with an electric fan, which you can buy at Carrefour or on Taobao for cheap. Open windows at night and use the fans to circulate cold air. When you wake up in the morning, close the windows and blinds on the southern and eastern ends of your apartment to block out the heat. At noon, open these windows and shut the ones at the opposite sides of the house.


Cooling vest



Mr. Freeze’s high-tech subzero suit hasn’t been invented yet, but we’ve got the next best thing: cooling vests. Designed to be worn outside your clothing, evaporative cooling garments are generally submerged in water for five minutes and wrung out. As the water interacts with specially-treated cooling crystals, it causes the water to evaporate and reduce body temperature. Find them on


Blackout curtains and umbrellas


Keep sun rays out of your apartment with blackout curtains, which can be bought for around RMB100 at home furnishing stores around Yishan Lu. These keep your room dark, allowing for better sleep. Keep sun rays off yourself with umbrellas while out on the balcony -- they sell traditional paper parasols in Yuyuan. They might make you look like a 19th-century British aristocrat’s wife, but it’s better than having your skin flake off like Peking Duck.


Related:  Look: Chongqingers Beat The Heat By Playing Mahjong Underwater