Sometimes summer in Minnesota feels like a test of endurance, surviving one heat wave after another. When it’s late at night and you’re lying awake feeling like you’re being slowly baked in the oven of your bedroom, it can be tempting to just crank the A/C and deal with the costs later—after a good night’s rest. But there are more cost-effective ways to deal with the heat that don’t require sabotaging your end-of-month energy bill (or your sleep schedule).
Cost-Effective Ways to Cool Down:
Crack the Window – As hot as it gets during the day, the heat usually breaks once the sun goes down. Open your window a crack before bed to get a nice breeze circulating through your room, hopefully bringing sweet relief that will lull you straight to sleep.
Sleep Smart – If you use flannel sheets or fleece blankets to keep warm during the winter, make sure you switch them out for lighter bedding in the summer months. Cotton has good breathability that makes it a popular choice for summer sheets. You can also put your hot water bottle back to work by filling it with water, freezing it, and then tucking it under the covers at the foot of your bed. Close the blinds on any windows that have a direct angle on your bed; that morning sunlight may help you wake up, but the warmth can also cause you to overheat during those last couple precious hours of sleep.
Close the Door – The hottest hours of the day transpire when most of us are out of the house and unable to benefit from A/C in every room of the house. Closing off smaller rooms that don’t receive any traffic during the day will keep cool air concentrated in the areas where it will count when you get home to appreciate it.
Turn on a Fan – Sometimes the problem isn’t that your thermostat is set too high, but just that the cool air isn’t circulating enough. Turning on a personal or ceiling fan can get the air moving so that it’s more evenly distributed throughout the room, and can create a breeze effect that will help you to feel cooler even though the temperature is the same. Running a portable fan for a few hours a day adds to your energy bill in increments of pennies, whereas lowering your thermostat by even one degree can have a significant impact on your bill.
Fire up the Grill – As anyone who’s ever lived in a small apartment without central air can attest, running the oven or the stove on a hot day can raise the indoor temperature by multiple degrees. Save yourself the sweat by firing up the grill more often during the summer. Energy savings aside, the seasonal veggies and tasty summer meal options like burgers or kabobs are reason enough to get more mileage out of your grill.