We have already hit 97 degrees this year and it's only going to get hotter when summer is in full force. For anyone who has already survived a summer in their Chico apartment, you know it's a challenge to stay cool. We have nights that don't drop below 80 degrees until after 10 PM! The easy solution is to run your air conditioner 24/7, however you will have the unfortunate side effect of an astronomical power bill. Is there a smarter way to beat the heat? Check out these [12 tips]...
#1 Open Windows at Night
Even though the summer nights are warm, it eventually cools off. Plan on opening up the windows late in the evening to let some fresh, cool air blow through. In the morning you should open them up again but plan on closing them by around 9:30 AM when it starts to warm up. If you have a small box fan you can close in the window, it really helps to push the cooler outside air into your apartment. Once inside [tip that most people never think of]: turn on the exhaust fans in the bathrooms and above your stove to help pull cool air in from outside and send the hot air up and out.
#2 Get the Most Out of Your AC
There are smarter ways to use your air conditioner. Don't waste money on inefficient AC habits! Try this instead:
- Change your filter. An old dirty filter isn't doing it's job and also can put a strain on your AC unit as it tries harder to pull air through a clogged filter.
- Close vents in rooms you don't need to cool.
- If your vents are on floor use a fan to circulate the air since cool air stays low
- Only run your AC when you really need it. If you're going to be at work all day, program your AC to turn off while you're gone, then turn back on 45 minutes before you get home. This will also save you money, since California is moving towards charging higher prices for power used during peak hours. This means you will benefit from scheduling your power usage during non-peak times:
#3 DIY Air Conditioner - It Actually Works!
Believe it or not, the old block of ice in front of a fan trick actually works! It looks like something out of a cartoon, but if you put a bowl of ice cubes in front of a fan, it will blow cool, moist air through your apartment as the ice melts and evaporates.
Fun tip: You can use a block of dry ice if you want to avoid the watery mess and also have your apartment look like a haunted house (dry ice gives off a white fog as it evaporates).
#4 Run Ceiling Fans Counter-Clockwise
Run your ceiling fans counter-clockwise during the summer. This forces air directly down towards you, cooling you down. In the winter switch the fan (there's a switch on the housing of the fan motor) to run clockwise, which circulates the warm air throughout the room more efficiently.
#5 Upgrade to LED Light Bulbs
Replace your old incandescent or compact fluorescent light bulbs with super efficient LED bulbs. Their cost has come down significantly and they will last for 10-20 years!. Aside from saving energy, the LED bulbs produce far less heat than both compact fluorescents and incandescent bulbs. Don't think this is a big deal? Did you know that incandescent light bulbs release 80%-90% of their energy as heat? Compact flourescents are better, but still release around 70%-80% of their energy as heat. LED lights only release around 20% of their energy as heat and they are getting more efficient all the time.
#6 Cook Outside - BBQ Time!
Most apartment complexes have an outside community area with with a grill. Instead of cooking inside your Chico apartment and adding all that heat, have a BBQ outside. If there's not a community BBQ area, most complexes allow a gas grill on your patio - just ask your apartment manager!
#7 Blinds and Blackout Curtains
When the sun is up, close your blinds. It may be depressing to live in a dark cave during the day, but it's certainly a lot cooler. The sun is about 27 million degrees Fahrenheight; you may want it to keep most of that heat to itself.
#8 Switch to Iced Coffee and Tea
If you are a hot tea or coffee person in the morning, you may want to consider switching to an iced alternative. You can make your own cold brew coffee concentrate really easily. Cold brew coffee is less bitter and less acidic than coffee that is brewed hot. It can also keep longer, living in your refrigerator for an entire week. Make a big batch on Sunday morning - it has to steep for 24 hours to be it's best, then just pour it over ice, add milk or cream, and you are good to go each morning.
#9 Cool Shower Instead of Hot
Whether you are a morning or evening shower kind of person, don't take a steaming hot shower in the middle of summer, it can raise your body temperature and make you sweat before you even leave the house. Try a cool shower, or if you can't do that, just finish with one cool rinse for the last minute.
#10 Turn Off Appliances When Not in Use
All electronic appliances give off heat. If you can turn off appliances when not in use, you will avoid generating that extra unnecessary heat. Your TV, game consoles, DVD players and especially desktop computer towers emit heat into your apartment all day long when left on, even in sleep mode.
#11 Stay Hydrated
Water is your body's natural coolant. Staying hydrated is extremely important in the summertime. Carry a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day. You can pick up a top quality one made by local success story, Klean Kanteen.
#12 Hit the Pool!
If your Chico apartment complex has a pool [most Living in Chico properties do!], then spend your hot summer days cooling off in the water and working on your tan. Just don't forget to follow the rules for pool etiquette. Being submerged in cool water is one of the quickest ways to lower your core temperature if you are overheating. Just be sure to always have a swim buddy; even adults need to practice safety first!
On a hot summer day it can reach 110 degrees outside your Chico apartment, but if you follow the tips above you will be able to survive it with at least some level of comfort. Don't run your AC more than you have to, unless you don't mind paying a $300 power bill, and always open up your windows in the late evening and early morning for some fresh cool air before the sun is beating down.
For ideas on where to go during the hot summer days, check out our Funner Than The Phonebook Guide. Whether it's a place to eat or a movie theater with good AC that you're looking for, you'll find tips on the best places around Chico to check out.
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