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Summer in Minnesota will be hot.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just released its latest forecast predicting above-average temperatures this summer in much of the country, including Minnesota.

When it comes to keeping your home cool, it’s all about keeping the humidity up. Heating and cooling experts offer the following advice when the city heats up:

SEASONAL GARBAGE CLEANING

At this time of year, poplar fluff and grass cuttings can clog central air conditioners. “It will choke your device and it won’t be able to work properly,” said John Ryan, CEO of Genz-Ryan, a heating and cooling company in Burnsville.

For cleaning, run a garden hose from inside the system. But be careful that the water pressure does not throw debris into the system.

“You want to make sure you don’t spray directly onto the unit because it has electronics in it, so make sure you spray directly onto the heat exchanger,” Ryan said. “Just spray it on or hire a professional to set it up.”

Tim Adams, service manager at Standard Heating and Air Conditioning, said another option is to spray the exterior of the unit one coil section at a time with low-pressure water.

“You don’t want to spray directly on him. Spray on the sides in wide strokes from left to right and work your way down,” he said.

KEEP THE AIR ON

Of course, the instinct may be to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows away from home, but not during the heat.

“People think, ‘If I get a good breeze, the house will be cool.’ It’s not about temperature, it’s about humidity. Opening a window is one of the worst things you can do because you bring in moisture,” Ryan said. “If you want to change the temperature when you’re away, fine. [change it] more than 3-5 degrees.

CLEAN THE AIR FILTER REGULARLY

A dirty air filter will reduce airflow, making your system work harder and cooling your home less efficiently.

“A good rule of thumb is to change your air filter every time you pay your mortgage or credit card,” Ryan said, adding that some types of air filters can last longer. “But 99% of the time, the ones people wear at home need to be replaced once a month, 12 months a year.”

ANNUAL SETUP SCHEDULE

The key is to be proactive and set up the cooling system early in the season. Just like with a car, neglecting it can lead to more damage down the road.

“The problem is, if you don’t fix something, it will fail at the wrong time,” Ryan said. “If it fails and performs sub-optimally, it will put a strain on other components of your systems. If it works optimally, it will use less energy, which will cost you less and last longer.”

COOLING WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONER

Not everyone has air conditioning. During the heat, try to go to a place with air conditioning. If this is not possible, stay in the basement, where the coldest air in your house will come from.

Use fans and if there is a breeze, open windows.

“Cook outdoors as much as you can and also grill or make salads,” Ryan said. “Any excess heat you add to your home will make you feel more uncomfortable.”

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