A broken air conditioning system in the summertime is inconvenient at best, but can also be quite dangerous during extreme heat.
Hopefully, you’re able to promptly fix or replace your AC. But, for however long you’re stuck in the heat, a few clever tricks can help you cope.
The goal is to keep your cool air in and the hot air out. You also want to avoid unnecessarily generating any new heat within the house.
From your expert friends at Advanced Heating and Cooling, here are our top tips to help you stay cool while your AC isn’t working.
Block West- and South-Facing Windows
In North America, west- and south-facing windows are the ones that let in the most heat. For these windows, use curtains or sheets to block as much of the incoming sunlight as possible. Preventing the light from penetrating the windows will help reduce the amount of heat it generates in your home.
Close Up Windows and Doors
Open windows and doors allow hot air to flow into the home. As long as it’s hotter outside than inside, close up the windows and doors. Since “cold” refers to the absence of heat, hot air will fill any indoor space that is cooler than the outdoor temperature.
Turn on Fans
Fans can’t make the air colder, but they still help provide a cool breeze. Fans blow away the stagnant layer of air that surrounds our bodies. That makes it easier for the air to evaporate our sweat, which is how we release heat and maintain a comfortable body temperature. Spend as much time in front of the fan as you can while you’re waiting for your AC to be repaired.
Take lots of ice out of your freezer or purchase a big bag from the store. Place the ice in front of a fan to blast some cold cold air through a room. Be sure to pile the ice high inside a bowl so that it sticks out to catch the fan current but won’t make a mess as it melts.
Use Ice Packs
Put an ice pack in contact with your body’s pulse points, such as the neck, inner elbow, wrist, and the backs of your knees. This helps cool down your blood, leading to a more comfortable body temperature.
Use Lighter Blankets and Sheets When Sleeping
Swap out the heavy flannel, fleece, wool, or down feather blankets for a light set of sheets and pillowcases. Your best bets for light, comfy fabric are cotton and silk. They will allow more of your body heat to escape during the night so you can enjoy a more comfortable sleep.
Avoid Cooking Indoors
Use a grill, eat cold foods, or order out a few meals until you can get your AC problem resolved. Ovens and stoves generate extra heat that makes your house even hotter. Many people that cook using heat also leave windows open while preparing meals, which will invite more hot air into your home.
Drink Plenty of Water
If you’re hot, then your body is releasing lots of its water through sweat. It’s critical to replace this water by upping your fluids intake. Once you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
Stay ahead of dehydration by starting your day with a tall glass of water and drinking consistently throughout the day. Look out for the hydration of your pets, too. Keep those water bowls full and cool.
Take Cold Baths or Showers
Contact with cold water won’t lower your core temperature but it can bring some quick relief. To get the best cooling effects of a cold shower, let your body dry off slowly and naturally afterward rather than toweling off.
Spend Time in Other Air Conditioned Spaces
If the situation gets desperate, go into your car and run the AC. If you’re able to leave home, consider going out to places where there’s working AC, such as:
- Coffee shops
- Shopping malls
- Big-Box Stores
- Your office
- Public libraries
- Homes of friends and family
You’re likely to find WiFi and other basic comforts in those places. So, as long as you’re welcome, bring your laptop and get some work done, pass the time, and stay out of the heat.
Monitor Your Health and the Health of Your Household
Keep track of how you’re feeling and do the same for everyone in your home. Ask a friend or family member outside of the household to check in on you too, especially if you live alone. If overheating is leading to a medical emergency, don’t wait till later to seek help.
Fixing a Broken AC
Extreme heat is dangerous. Stay safe! And contact a professional ASAP to repair or replace your broken AC system.
Advanced Heating and Cooling is an HVAC service company located in the Treasure Valley region (Boise metro) of Idaho. For a broken AC or other HVAC needs, you can easily get in touch with us by scheduling an appointment online.