HVAC companies throughout the nation are frequently inundated with service requests as soon as the warm weather of late spring and summer arrives. That’s because many homeowners wait until they need their cooling systems before actually turning them on, verifying that they work, and performing basic AC maintenance. There are also times when even the most diligently maintained cooling equipment suddenly stops working. If you’re dealing with sudden AC problems, you’ll have to find ways to keep you and everyone else in the residence comfortable until help arrives. The following are seven strategies that might help make your wait for AC service a lot easier.
1. Know When to Leave the Home
Every home is different. Some houses are nestled behind rows of towering trees that provide cooling shade all day long. Others have innovative, shade-producing awnings in place. If your home lacks natural or installed shading structures and gets direct sunlight throughout the majority of the day, staying indoors while you wait for HVAC repairs may not be a feasible option at all. When inside temperatures become too high, the resulting conditions are not safe for anyone for an extended period of time.
Some individuals may be more prone to physical illness due to hot weather. These include elderly adults, those with compromised immune systems and chronic health issues, pregnant women, and infants. It’s vital to note that for those who are at high risk of heatstroke or heat exhaustion, setting up indoor fans may not be enough. A great way to stay comfortably cool and entertained is by scheduling a trip to the movie theater. You can also visit a friend or family member, or take advantage of the free air conditioning at your local indoor mall or library. When deciding whether or not to leave your home while waiting for AC repairs, be sure to keep small pets in mind. Some smaller animals can be just as vulnerable to excess heat as smaller people. If your pets appear to be struggling to cool themselves off, start looking for an alternative place to spend your hours until the time of your service visit.
2. Check Your Ceiling Fans and Make Sure They’re Turning in the Right Direction
The rotational direction of your ceiling fans has a significant impact on where warm air goes. This is true whether the AC is working or not. Throughout the hotter months of the year, these fans should be turning counterclockwise. This draws warm air up toward the ceiling so that the air down in the actual living space is much cooler. During the winter months, the clockwise operation will force warm air down, thereby making cold spaces feel more comfortable. You can find the directional switch for your ceiling fan on the outer side of the fan body, just above the blades. While you’re adjusting your ceiling fans, go ahead and wipe the fan blades off. When the AC isn’t working, dust accumulations like the ones that you’ll likely find here can significantly diminish your indoor air quality and comfort.
3. Keep Your Windows Covered Throughout the Hottest Portion of the Day
Much of the heat that gets trapped and retained in homes comes from direct sun exposure. Close your shades, blinds, or curtains so that no sunlight can come in. Make sure to do this before the mid-portion of the day, and well before outside heat has already warmed the space up. If you don’t have effective, light-blocking window treatments in place, consider hanging up a blanket or sheet or even a plastic trash bag to enhance the effectiveness of the existing coverings. Although this strategy isn’t aesthetically pleasing, it is effective.
Once the sun has set and the outside temperatures have dropped, you can open or remove these coverings to let cooler air come in. If you have to wait a day or more for service, knowing when to cover and uncover your windows is important. During the evening, you may find that opening the window treatments and windows creates a good cross-breeze.
4. Learn How to Create a Nice Cross-Breeze With Fans
Standing fans provide a direct, cooling breeze that can make life without AC a lot more tolerable. Fans cannot actually lower indoor temperatures, so they’re not a good long-term solution. If you’re at home with no cooling technology, however, they are absolutely essential. To get the most out of these appliances, you have to know how to position and use them effectively. One very helpful strategy involves two large-sized, standing or box fans. Position one fan in or near an open window, facing inward, so that air is being drawn from outside and forced into the home. Position the other facing an opposing window or door so that it’s pulling air from inside the house and depositing it outdoors. The best time to use this technique is during the early morning and late evening when the outdoor air is noticeably cooler. With the right setup, you can maximize the amount of air that’s being circulated and drop indoor temperatures significantly.
5. Avoid All Cooking Indoors
Hot days without air conditioning are the perfect days for light salads, sandwiches, and other snacks and meals that don’t require heating as part of their preparation. If you’ve ever had to be without your heating for any significant amount of time, then you know that a warm oven can be a very effective heater on its own. You don’t want to inadvertently add several degrees to your indoor temperature by warming a frozen pizza or cooking a full-course meal.
Take advantage of your microwave or use this as an opportunity to take everyone out. Dining out before a service visit could be the perfect way to miss the oppressive heat of the hottest hours of the day. By the time you arrive home, the sun will have set and you can start the process of opening things up, airing the house out, and creating a gentle cross-breeze.
6. Turn off Lights Everywhere You Can
Any feature, fixture, or appliance that generates heat will contribute to excessively warm indoor temperatures. When your air conditioner is working, this system can easily offset the extra heat generated by lamps and overhead lights. When it isn’t, however, these things are constantly raising the indoor temperature. If you have a larger home with lots of lights, having most or all of them on at once can make a huge difference. Surprisingly, this is something that many people are guilty of doing while waiting for AC repairs. With their blackout blinds or heavy curtains drawn, lamplight and overhead lighting can feel essential. Although you certainly don’t need to wait in absolute darkness, you should be selective about which lamps and lights you use. Lights with incandescent bulbs generate the most amount of heat while LED and CFL bulbs produce quite a bit less.
7. Take a Cold Shower and Relax
Cold showers rarely seem like an enjoyable experience, but they can be the perfect solution to overheating when your AC system isn’t functioning. You can quickly and completely cool down without using or expending a ton of energy. It’s also important to relax. When you’re cold, moving around gets your blood pumping and helps your body warm itself up. When you’re overheated, taking it easy and limiting physical movement just makes sense. If you normally exercise during the day, try scheduling your workout first thing in the morning or later in the day. This is when your home will be its coolest and when you’ll have the best chance at using your fans to create a strong cross-breeze.
A good way to guarantee a cool home is by practicing good HVAC maintenance throughout the year. At Air, Plumbing & Heating Solutions, our licensed HVAC technicians can identify and resolve developing problems long before the hot weather season arrives. For reliable HVAC or plumbing maintenance and repairs in the Randallstown area, call Air, Plumbing & Heating Solutions today. We can also do heating and cooling installations.