How can I keep my office cooler?
July 19, 2006 2:06 PM   Subscribe

How can I keep my office cooler?

I work from home doing design/development work. During the summer (ie, now) it gets absurdly hot in the office while the rest of our house stays around the 68 degrees the thermostat is set at.

I assume the heat of the office comes from the 2 computers, 3 monitors (all LCD) and some lamps that I have in here, but everything that's on and giving off heat is pretty much necessary.

So, how can I keep things cooler in here so that I'm not sweating? I'd say bring in a huge fan, but I have papers everywhere and I don't think client phone calls would go so well with the sound of a wind tunnel in the background.
posted by JPigford to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
I'm assuming, since we're talking about a thermostat, that you have central air. If this room has an air output, shut the vents in the rooms you're not in during the day (bedrooms, etc) to force cold air to where it apparently doesn't want to go. If this room doesn't have one, open the door to the nearest room that does, close all the other doors, and close all the other vents.

Or buy an auxilliary window unit. Many old central heating systems retro-fitted with central air require this, especially on upper floors.
posted by ChasFile at 2:17 PM on July 19, 2006

I'm in the same boat -- home office, cool house, hot office, working at the computer.

In my case, the (ongoing) solution has nothing to do with the trappings of the office, but just traditional cooling. For example, it's hottest after about 3pm, when the sun is low enough in the sky to come in through the west-facing bank of windows and heat things up. So my wife made some curtains., which I close in the afternoon. I run a ceiling fan at a low speed, which is enough to move air over my body and cool me, but doesn't make enough noise that I notice it. I've found that leaving the doors open to nearby rooms helps, because cool air circulates in.

These little things add up.
posted by waldo at 2:30 PM on July 19, 2006

If the rest of the house is cool but this room is hot you can also put a huge fan outside the room facing away so as to circulate air inside the house better - net effect being making your office cooler.
posted by vacapinta at 2:30 PM on July 19, 2006

Maybe you could try some reflective film over the surface of the windows to reflect the sunlight away?
posted by Sara Anne at 2:45 PM on July 19, 2006

I can verify that I have a room that gets very, very hot in the morning (two huge windows, last in line along the a/c system). The only that works is putting tin foil in the windows. It works like a miracle too -- I had a huge floor fan and a ceiling fan that did little to keep it cool. Please put tin foil on the windows even though neighbors will complain.
posted by geoff. at 3:47 PM on July 19, 2006

In addition to using curtains or window reflection as stated, also include hooking up a homemade air conditioner, using ice, using a big fan but at the lowest speed setting, so as not be too windy or noisy. If you are so inclined to tinker, these things really work if you include enough tubing and a fast enough pump.
posted by jldindc at 3:54 PM on July 19, 2006

Water cool your PCs. Get some long pipes and put the heat exchangers in another room.
posted by blag at 4:52 PM on July 19, 2006

Long cables and the PCs outside the room?
posted by joegester at 6:11 PM on July 19, 2006

What kind of light bulbs are you using in the lamps? Halogen lamps or incandescent lights generate a lot of heat. A better alternative would be to use the compact flourescent bulbs. (The bulbs also last a lot longer and use much less electricity.)

You could also get one of those Vornado fans. On the lowest setting, they're incredibly quiet. The breeze created by the fan is also pretty controlled, so you can point away from your papers but still get the air moving.
posted by hooray at 8:15 PM on July 19, 2006

You could always call your HVAC company-- whoever services your air conditioner-- and ask them to adjust the air flow into that room. Sometimes it's an easy fix, sometimes they have to run a larger duct, but it works great. I complained at work because I'm near the window and my little closet of an office becomes an oven about 3 p.m.-- now I'm icy cold all afternoon, thanks to a larger duct. Cost about $100 for them to come out and take care of it.
posted by orangemiles at 8:17 PM on July 19, 2006

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