Winter Special: Getting Hot Air Faster

Cold Morning in Car

Warming your car up on a cold morning can’t happen fast enough.

For most of us, it’s cold outside this time of year—especially when you get in your car first thing in the morning. Your car heater can’t get hot fast enough. You frantically turn the heat all the way up with the fan blowing on max, enduring the constant blasts of cold until it finally warms up (usually right as you pull up to your destination). There’s got to be a way to heat up your car faster, right?

Well, there are some theories. Some people start the car 5-10 minutes before they drive to warm it up. Some people do what we mentioned before and turn the fan on high until the heat comes on. Either way leaves you sitting in the cold for a good while. We’ve found a theory that is rooted in the mechanics of the system.

Heating/cooling system in a car

Heating/cooling system in a car

So let’s get into it. All cars have a heater core inside the dashboard. Hot liquid from the engine passes through the tubing as air passes through the spaces, picking up heat to blow out of the air vents. The engine has a cooling system that draws heat away from it, to avoid overheating. It cools the engine by transferring some of its heat through the radiator and to the passenger compartment. A cold engine has no excess heat, which means cold air out of your vents.

To heat your engine faster, you need to stop that heat loss. Just like your oven, if you leave the door open, the heat escapes. To “close that door,” you’ll want to turn the heater off by moving the temperature control all the way to cold (our favorite side). You’ll also need to turn the fan off to be sure it’s not blowing across the heater core, transferring heat away from it.

To keep your hot air hot, be sure the recycled air switch is turned on. On a cold day, it takes less time and effort to reheat warm air than it is to heat the frigid outside air.

If your car has an automatic climate control system with a thermostat that lets you determine the temperature, you can ignore these suggestions—you car is probably doing this automatically.

Try this tip and let us know if it worked for you. Stay warm, A/C Pros!

A big thanks goes to Broken Secrets, whose post inspired this blog. You can see their post here.