It's the middle of summer, and your air conditioner dies on you. Of course, your handy HVAC guy will help, when he can. After all, most HVAC service companies stay pretty busy during the summer, and it could be days before your air is back in action. Don't lose your cool; use these five tips to help keep your home comfortable while waiting for the repair man to help you.
Create your own cool breeze
If you have a box fan or a ceiling fan, you're halfway to having a cool breeze in your home. Turning on the fan is not enough to make a cool breeze, you need to provide a source of cold to chill the air. Fans simply move air in a room, they don't actually create cold air. You feel cooler while using a fan because the rushing air aids in the evaporation of sweat, which carries away a small amount of heat. This "wind chill factor" is useful, but temporary. If you want to create cold air, you need to add some ice.
Place a bowl of ice cubes directly in front of a box fan. The wind from the fan blowing across the ice will chill the air, creating a crude version of air conditioning. This will help keep you cooler until you can get your AC up and running.
Put out less heat
While the AC is out, avoid creating excess heat inside your home. Don't cook big meals that involve prolonged use of your oven, and hang clothes out to dry rather than running that hot dryer. Even large televisions can emit heat, so minimize your screen time. Instead, relax in a cool bath or read a book by an open window to take advantage of any breezes that might blow in.
Use your windows wisely
Opening up your windows can help cool down the interior of your home, but only if the air outside is cooler than the air inside. If it's a breezy day, open windows may cool your home down a little, but a lack of breeze won't help much. During the hot, sunny daytime hours, keep windows and drapes closed to block out the sun's heat. Take advantage of cooler nighttime temperatures and open up the windows at night. For an even bigger impact, use window fans to pull cooler outside air into your home. If you have a room with windows on opposite walls, you can use two fans to create a cross-draft that can cool the entire room.
Indulge in chilled treats
You can feel cooler by cooling yourself down from the inside out. Eating ice cold watermelon or sipping icy slush-style drinks can lower your internal temperature slightly, making you feel a little more comfortable in hot weather. Oddly, spicy foods can also make you feel cooler, since they can cause you to perspire, creating a temporary cooling effect. Steer clear of cold beers, whose alcohol content can dehydrate you, and ice cream, which cools you at first, but raises your body temperature as your body digests it.
Swimming, playing in the sprinklers, and taking cold showers are all great ways to cool down on a hot day. Once you're wet, increase the chill factor by sitting under a ceiling fan or in front of a box fan to create a strong wind-chill.
If you are stuck at home with a broken air conditioner, it can feel agonizing while waiting for the repair man to reach you. You can use these tips to keep your cool, but remember that nothing beats regular maintenance of your air conditioning unit to help you stay comfortable during those hot summer months. Look after your air conditioner all year long, so you won't have to use these tips when the temperature rises.
To get more information and tips, contact a local HVAC company.