Keep cool this summer
Get the most out of your AC, stay comfy on your commute, more...
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- It's the first day of summer - are you set to stay comfortable as we enter the dog days? If not, today's Five Tips can help.
1: Prepare yourself
Five of the past 6 summers have been some of the hottest on record, and there isn't much relief expected this year, according to Gerald Mohler of Accuweather.com.
Temps are going to be rising about 3 to 4 degrees above average if you live in the Central Plains or North Texas. The Midwest will be about 1 to 2 degrees hotter this season.
The Northeast, the South and the Pacific Northwest will see relatively normal temperatures.
2: Get the most out of your AC
If you're putting in an air conditioner, put it in a window or wall area near the center of the room and on the shadiest side of the house. Also make sure it fits snugly into the opening. Seal gaps with foam weather stripping.
And if you're pulling out your air conditioner for the first time this season, replace your filters. They cost just a few dollars at your local home improvement store - a dirty filter is one of the major reasons why air conditioners don't function at their highest efficiency. You should also clean the area around the condensing coil.
Outside, make sure to remove any debris, and trim foliage back at least 2 feet.
3: Cool your commute
Sweltering on the highway isn't our idea of fun. Cut down on the heat by investing in sunshades, recommends Phillip Reed of Edmunds.com. Sunshades are transparent shades that you can attach to your car window by a suction cup. This will block about 75% of the sun.
You can also invest in tinted windows. This can block about 40% of the sunshine, but be careful. States have different rules when it comes to how much tinting you can do.
If you have a car that's older than 6 or 7 years and you find the air conditioner doesn't blow cold air anymore, get your AC recharged at a garage instead of replacing the entire system. It may cost about $200. "It's a very inexpensive fix, and it's much easier than replacing the whole system," says Reed.
When it comes to parking, try to park in the direction where the sun will be shining on your rear window or passenger side for most of the time it will be parked
4: Plan your activities
The hottest time of year is mid-July, according to Mohler. And the hottest time of day is from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. So if you plan on exercising or doing any strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., according to the Red Cross. You may want to consider carrying around a small, portable, battery-powered fan and a spray bottle that mists - and drink tons of water.
If it's really sweltering outside, proceed directly to your nearest mall, museum or library and take advantage of the air conditioning.
5: Get the right office temp
One place you may want to be a little bit warmer - your job. A study found that office workers in a warm environment are more productive than they are in colder spaces. When the office temperature was turned up, from 68 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, typing errors fell by 44% and overall typing output increased by 150%. Employee productivity was up about $2 per worker.
Considering you may spend up to 90% of your time in an office environment, you should talk to your manager if you're too hot ..or cold. But some words of caution here. When you approach your manager, make sure you don't seem as if you're complaining, says Richard Bayer of the 5 O'Clock Club. "The temperature is a small thing to go to bat for," says Bayer. Just keep it casual, don't put it in writing and don't go above your supervisor's head. If the temperature is still a problem for you, bring a sweater.