It's getting hotter outside, but if you're trying to save on your utility bill or be a little greener, you may be waiting to take your A/C unit out of storage. To help you beat the heat until it's reinstalled – we're sharing some genius tips and tricks to keep you cool sans A/C. When you get around to taking it out of storage, we've got some tips on maintaining your unit so it performs better and lasts longer too.
Keeping Cool without an A/C Unit
- Pack away and store your heavy comforters and polyester sheets in your CubeSmart cube until winter. Use lightweight cotton linens during summer months to stay cool and comfy each night. These sheets are excellent for promoting ventilation and airflow throughout the bedroom. For extra coolness – stick your sheets in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes. On an especially humid night, the blast of frostiness will be a relief!
- If that doesn't do the trick, fill a water bottle with water and stick in the freezer to create a bed-friendly ice pack.
- Since your feet contain loads of pulse points, they are especially sensitive to temperature. Cold feet during a heat wave can be a good thing. Before going to bed, soak your feet in cold water to help you stay cool at night.
Throughout the Day
- If you're spending a lot of time in a humid room, create a cross-breeze to stay cool. Position a fan across from an open window. The wind from outside and air blowing from the fan will combine to create a cooling cross-breeze. If you're feeling fancy, set-up multiple fans throughout the room to increase the cooler airflows.
- You could also point box fans out windows so they push hot air out instead of blowing it around the room. If you have a ceiling fan, adjust the blades so that they run counter-clockwise so they pull hot air up and outside the room instead of twirling it around.
- Feeling crafty? Channel your #DIY skills to create a home-made air conditioner using a shallow pan, ice, and a fan. Fill the pan with ice and position it in front of the fan. The breeze will pick up the cold water from the ice's surface as it melts, creating a cooling mist.
- Summer is not the best time to practice your casserole-making skills. Save dishes like that for when the temperatures cool down in the fall and winter. Cook dishes that don't involve using the oven. If you feel the urge to cook something, fire up the grill instead. Be sure to follow the maintenance and storage tips from our ultimate grilling guide.
- Cool down a whole room by hanging a wet sheet in front of an open window. The breeze that blows in will quickly bring down the room's temperature.
- If you're burning up and need to cool down stat, apply ice packs or cold compresses to pulse points at your wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles, and behind the knees.
- If that doesn't do the trick, hop in the shower for a few minutes. Rinsing off under a stream of cold water will bring down your body's core temperature.
- For a quick fix, do a few minutes of yogic breathing. Start by curling your tongue and pulling both sides upward toward the middle. Then, breathe in through your mouth. Hold your breath and slowly exhale through your nose. After, repeating five to ten times, you'll begin to feel significantly cooler.
Staying cool with your A/C Unit
When you're A/C unit is not performing at its best, it can take longer for your A/C unit to cool your home. Preventative maintenance will ensure that your air conditioning system runs as efficiently as it should. In addition, regular maintenance can help reduce your utility bill.. To help make sure your A/C unit is running at its peak performance, here are a few pointers:
If you are a homeowner with central air, you should:
- Check for efficient air-flow around your unit by making sure it has plenty of "breathing" room. Avoid enclosing or covering it and keep leaves, plants, and other vegetation at least 18" away.
- Clean or replace filters twice a year. Failing to so can result in more dust in the air and the efficiency of your unit can be reduced.
- Make sure your unit is in top operating condition by having a professional check your system twice a year. Ideally these checks should occur during the beginning of spring before you turn your unit on for the summer and during the fall just after you turn it off for winter. Doing so will also give you time to resolve any issues with your unit.
Apartment dwellers and homeowners with window units should:
- Make sure it's unplugged before doing any maintenance checks on your window unit.
- Remove the front grille and clean or replace the filter at the beginning of spring and at least once a month during the late spring and summer. You can clean it using a solution of mild detergent and water. Once finished cleaning, rinse it well and allow the filter to air dry before re-installing. If your unit has a throwaway filter, you should throw it away when it becomes dirty and replace it with a new one.
- Check the power cord that connects the A/C unit to the wall outlet during the beginning and end of each operating season. Check the cord by removing the control panel and unscrewing the cord terminals. Then attach a test wire across the bare lead wires and hook the clips of a volt-ohm-millammeter (VOM) set to the RX1 scale to the prongs of the cord's plugs. If the meter reads zero, the cord is functioning properly. However, if the meter is higher than zero, you'll need to replace the cord. Consult your owner's manual on the type of cord that you'll need to replace your unit with.
- Clean the evaporator and condenser coils using a vacuum cleaner at the beginning of spring and during each operating month. If any of the fins on the coils are bent, carefully straighten them using a fin comb, which is available at most appliance parts stores.
- Clean the drain ports using a short piece of wire at the beginning of spring and each operating month to prevent clogging from dirt.
- Check and clean the fan in your A/C unit if it's particularly noisy or won't operate. Repair it by opening your unit's cabinet and locating the fan. Clean away any debris or dust using a vacuum and a soft cloth. Then, check to see if the fan blade on the motor shaft is loose. If so, tighten the setscrew with a screwdriver. If your fan has oil ports, apply two to three drops of 20-weight non-detergent motor oil (not all-purpose oil) to each port at the beginning of spring.
- Consult your owner's manual or a professional service person if you suspect there's a problem with your unit's motor, compressor, selector switch, or thermostat.
Storing your A/C unit during the winter
When the temperatures get cooler in September and October, you'll need to find a good place to store your air conditioning unit for the winter. Leaving your window unit in place could cause drafts in your home and lead to increased energy consumption and higher utility bills. During the winter months, air conditioning units are best stored in cool, dry, and enclosed places – like a CubeSmart cube!