Why Does 50 Degrees Feel Balmy in March But Frigid in September?

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Plus one easy way to stay more comfortable all year ‘round.

It happens every year: The mercury hits 50 degrees Fahrenheit and Minnesotans act like they’re on a tropical beach vacation. The coats come off, the T-shirts come out, and the sunburns take us all by surprise.

So why is it that when the same temperature shows up for the first time in September, we all run screaming for parkas and pumpkin spice lattes? And is there an easy way to stay more comfortable all year ‘round without cranking your thermostat up and down? (The answer to that second question: Yes, there is. Stay tuned.)

As for the first question—why does the same temperature feel so different at different times of year? Adaptation. Our bodies are very smart and make adjustments to accommodate different climates over time, which makes temperature affect us on a relative basis rather than an absolute basis. People experience temperature adaptation without even realizing it. That’s why, if you moved to Minnesota a few years ago, winters likely no longer feel quite as brutal as they did when you first moved here. (But it’s also why your friend visiting from Los Angeles in January thinks you’re out of your mind for living here.)

About that tip to stay more comfortable…

Wondering why you feel colder in your house in the winter and hotter in the summer even if you keep the thermostat at roughly the same temperature all year round? It’s mostly due to humidity. Drier air feels colder, and humid air feels warmer.

In Minnesota, we’re notorious for winters that are not only very cold, but also full of very dry air—and summers that are not only relatively hot, but also very humid. Aren’t we lucky? (Actually, we are. We love this state, crazy weather and all.)

PRO TIP: Adjust your home’s humidity levels to stay more comfortable all year ‘round without cranking your thermostat up or down as much.

A whole-house humidifier can not only help the air inside your house feel warmer in winter, but the right humidity levels can also help keep wood floors and furniture in good shape.  Your house plants will like the humidity as well.

In summer, we turn all this information upside down: keeping the air inside your home DRIER will help you feel cooler.  A big part of your air conditioner’s job is to dry out the air inside your home.

And of course, a solid and reliable heating and cooling system (one that doesn’t break down on the hottest or coldest days of the year) is critical to staying comfortable, too. Yours should be tuned up at least once per year. If you’re due, we can help. The experts at Bonfe know a thing or two about making homes more comfortable. Get ahead of the problem by calling us today.

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