Minnesota is a land of extremes. We’re only a few months out from freezing temperatures and black ice, and already here it is: the full brutality of our humid summer, road construction and all. Your first instinct is probably to run to your AC and turn it up full-blast (we know ours is), but before you do, consider whether or not you really need to.
Think about it: the more you use your AC, the higher your cooling bill will be. If there are easy, cheaper ways to achieve the same goal, then you could keep cool without having to worry about the extra money you’re spending. That’s where we come in. Here are a few ways to keep the heat down without turning the AC up.
Close the Blinds During the Day
Turns out, a lot of the heat in your home comes from the sun! Go figure. Sunlight enters through windows and heats your home like a greenhouse. It might not seem like it, but simply closing your blinds during the hottest hours of the day can make a difference of several degrees of temperature.
If you’re not home during the day, you won’t even miss the sunshine! Feel free to re-open your blinds in the morning or evening, when the sun won’t cook your living room quite as intensely.
Close Some Doors
Open doors in your home get air circulating alright, but unfortunately it’s usually hot air. When you keep doors open, the cold air your AC produces has to spread out further, reducing its effectiveness. Instead of concentrated cool air, you get weak, spread out air that can’t overcome the heat. Your AC has to work harder to cool the home, and you don’t get the benefit of the coolness it’s producing.
Keep doors closed during the hot parts of the day. The closed door will help create a smaller area for your AC to cool, and you’ll feel the effects that much faster and more fully. You could also look into installing zone cooling, if you really wanted to maximize your AC’s efficiency.
Let the Night In
Though the humidity limits the drop somewhat here in Minnesota, it remains a fact of nature that the temperatures fall at night. On cool, dry nights, consider turning off your AC before you turn in and opening up your windows instead. Bring portable fans into your bedroom, and you can even create a cross-breeze of fresh, cool night air.
After opening your windows, see how many blankets you need on your bed. Taking off even a thin sheet can make a surprising difference to how you feel–and sleep! You could also replace your bedding with fresh sheets to cool off. Night air is one of nature’s most effective cooling mechanisms–just remember to close the windows in the morning if you’re going to turn on the air!
Cooking generates a lot of heat. Your oven has to be 450 degrees before it can bake most things, and stovetops pump heat straight up and into your home. Kitchen heat tends to stick around longer than people expect, too. Cooking up a big meal could raise your home’s temperature by several degrees for hours!
We’re pretty sure you’ve already figured out our ingenious solution: cook outside! An outdoor grill produces a ton of heat, too, but that heat simply rises into the open air. When you’re done grilling, just take the food inside to your air conditioned paradise. Keeping the AC bill down is the perfect excuse to grill!
Use the Ice Fan Trick
It’s a classic for a reason. First, set up a stand of some kind directly in front of your portable fan. Next, fill a large bowl with ice from your freezer. Turn on the fan. It’s the same principle that cools the air running through your AC, just on a small, homemade scale. As the ice melts, the air from the fan will blow the icy cool evaporating liquid into the room it’s facing. You get a nice, chilly breeze, and you don’t even need to turn the AC on.
Use the ice fan trick when you’re planning on spending an extended period of time in one room, like an office or den. It’s also great for when you have people over and a lot of bodies are generating heat in a small space. Just be sure to watch the bowl. You don’t want to spill water on the floor or your fan.
Staying cool is the eternal preoccupation of Minnesotans… at least until staying warm takes its place in a couple months. Don’t worry, though–as total HVAC specialists, Blue Ox knows everything there is to know about both heaters and air conditioners, along with the equipment that makes them work.
If you ever have an HVAC problem, give us a call and we’ll get it fixed up right away! Have a great summer, and remember to stay cool!