How should I get/keep my (Mac) laptop warm? And other temp Q's.

It’s been VERY cold where I am (down to below 20 at night, though it’s getting warmer). The main living areas of my apartment are “served” by a “heater” that’s too small (bedroom is better), and too close to my desk, to really warm up the space properly. Thus, I never bother. That’s had the effect of plunging temps in my apartment (I don’t know how much - all I have is a meat thermometer, which I waved around in the air; it registered high 40’s).

This has brought up concern about my Macbook Pro, whose minimum operating temperature is 50 degrees F. I’ve read that using below that can cause lubrication in sensitive areas to stiffen, and thus cause damage. While I don’t know how cold it is where I use and store my laptop between uses (either asleep or shut off), I can say that a couple of times, immediately after power-up, the HD has been less than 50 degrees. (May have had something to do with recent minor problems: the battery not charging at first when plugged in, and a long pause between start button and startup chime.)

So does anyone have any thoughts on how I could keep my computer warm enough so I don’t have to spend an hour “thawing” it between uses? Or how to GET it warm to begin with, given the coldness of my apartment? Or how much damage I might’ve done so far?

Also, a general temperature question: suppose it’s 16 degrees F outside and 50 degrees inside. If, on another night, it’s 20 degrees outside, does that necessarily mean it must be 54 degrees inside?

Thanks in advance.

I understand heating a home can get expensive, but are you seriously living in an apartment that’s 50°F? Yikes!

The only thing I can think of doing that would be safe enough for your Mac, is raising the ambient temperature of the room it’s in. Which means getting a space heater. I wouldn’t try heating it by any direct means, or concealing it in insulation.

Well, it usually doesn’t get this cold around here (second of three floor apartment, and down to 16 or so outside, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was like 48 indoors or something - not that I know what that’d feel like). And like I said, the only signs I have of how cold it is indoors are the temp on my HD when I first power up, and a meat thermometer waved around in the air a little. I really don’t have any idea how cold it is (which is why I’m gonna buy a thermometer tomorrow, and why I asked my questions).

Wait, this can be bad for laptops? Crap. When I’m gone during the day, my house gets down to the outside temp (ie there’s no minimum thermostat setting I keep on). During the winter here that’s often around 10-20 degrees F. I turn on my heater when I get home-- should I wait for the room to heat up before turning my laptop on?

Yes, and yes. Actually you should wait a bit more than for the room to warm up, as the air gets warm faster than the laptop will, and what you’re waiting for is the interior of it to get up to a decent temp before turning it on. I’m fairly certain that most machines shouldn’t even be be stored at those kinds of temps, and quite certain that they shouldn’t be run at them.

Laptops get very warm, very quickly. Think about it like this, you wouldn’t store a glass in the freezer and then take it out and warm it up with a hairdryer. It won’t usually break the glass but it will shorten its lifespan. Same thing.

Well, the Macbook Pro’s specs say it can be stored at up to -4, I believe, but yes, 10-20 is probably pushing it even by those standards, and who knows what it is for non-MBP laptops.

So now that there’s someone else interested in this question, storage and warming tips are still appreciated! :slight_smile:

I leave mine plugged in to run climate models. That puppy gets warm and is contributing signiciantly to heating my apartment.

How expensive is electricity where you are?

Uh…I seriously doubt that the meat themometer is remotely accurate. Mine claims that it’s 130F in the kitchen.

If it were really in the 40s in your apartment, you’d be miserable. We were last week when it was in the mid 40s to low 50s for a week last December. That’s really cold for sustained an indoor temperature.

Just keep it running 24/7. The heat from the laptop should be enough to keep it warm. Nothing bad is going to happen if you boot it up at below 50. That’s just apple trying to cover it’s ass.

Okay, I bought a real thermometer. According to it, my living room is 42 degrees F (it was colder, I believe, in the last couple of days). Heck, even with my heater on in my bedroom, it’s only about 51F. (The HD, however, is 55F; I don’t know how warm the fans and other stuff that needs warm lubricant is).

How much potential damage am I looking at here (from the times I used it in the living room, and/or now)?

ETA: How can I keep it running 24/7 without putting it to sleep? And doing so doesn’t really solve the problem of the ambient temperature being lower than it should be for proper running, is it?

elfkin: It is cold, yes. But I put on blankets and sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt. It helps. :slight_smile: It isn’t usually in the low 20’s outside, really, so maybe this won’t be a common problem, but I would like to get ahead of it, and know if I have (or I am) damaging this computer just by running it.

Oh, and I’ve been told the reason why the ambient temperature needs to be at least 50F is so the lubricant in the HD, fans, etc. don’t stiffen and mess them up. I think I’ve already seen symptoms in the past of such a mess-up (battery not charging at first, long pause between start up and startup chime), thus my concern about damage.

Try installing SETI@Home. It’ll keep all your processors going when idle, and you can be looking for aliens while freezing your ass off! :wink:

Would I be able to close it in that case? Or would I need to keep it open forever?

Also, I’ve seen a claim that at 42 degrees, the cold of the surrounding air and the heat of the laptop itself could have caused condensation inside. True? I assume I’d know it by now if that had happened…

This thread is bizarre. I think you ought to trade your Mac for a cheap ass Dell and invest in a couple space heaters.

Also, generally speaking, it burns WAY more fuel to rewarm a house every single day than it does to maintain a steady temperature if you have anything remotely resembling insulation. Turning off the heat completely is bad for the environment, bad for your bank account and bad for you pipes. Your PC is the least of your problems.

Yeah, well, I’d spend the money all over again on frustration and anti-virus software. :smiley:

Seeing as how this is an apartment (mentioned in my OP), it doesn’t.

bolding mine

I don’t believe this is true. Here is a thread by Una Persson, who is knowledgeable in these things.

I live in the Frozen North. Last year, in early January, temperatures in the high minus 20’s C, the furnace died and it was about four days before I could get any repair service to even come to my house as they were swamped with calls.

Had a couple of small space heaters so I did not die!!

Both Macs (desktop and laptop) were fine and it certainly was frigid here at times as I had to keep the spaces heaters moving around to prevent frozen pipes etc.

The desktop was essentially left to its own devices - I did not use it during this time.

The laptop I used often during the day and wrapped it in a fleecy overnight.

No apparent ill effects in either.

That said. This is an extremely dry climate. If you are in more humid conditions with the possibility of dampness, condensation or similar. Maybe your problems are very different.

Have you talked to your landlord? I think keeping an apartment building that cold would be illegal where I am. It’s probably only a matter of time until a pipe bursts somewhere. Even “snowbirds” who flee the frozen north for bingo in Arizona are told to keep thermostats at at least 50 to avoid damage to the house.

I have a Macbook Pro and that sucker stays toasty warm when you are using it. Might be better to keep it running, perhaps with that SETI at Home program. Treat it like a car in Siberia.

Well, the weather’s warmed up some; it’s now about 50F indoors, which should be okay for operation. Still, if something like this ever happens again, I’d love to have the tips. I’ve done a few things after those first couple of cold days (stuck to my smaller bedroom that’s easier to heat, rearranged the furniture a little to allow the living room heater to blow the warm air more efficiently, bought thermometers to keep track of the indoor temps), but more is always appreciated.

Get a program called Caffeine for your Mac to keep it from going to sleep when you aren’t using it (and make sure you plug it in). The heat the laptop itself generates is more than enough to keep it warm, and is probably the cheapest way to keep it warm. Just don’t cover it up–I used to keep my old laptop in a well-insulated case. One time it didn’t shut off, and it was well over 100[sup]o[/sup]F inside after a couple of hours.