A blown fuse or tripped circuit may cause your air conditioner to break. Other times – nine out of 10, according to consumer reports, it may be that your air conditioner’s filter is clogged with dirt causing it to run without delivering any cooling effect, as it should.
Whether your air conditioner is broken or there’s just no electricity, you can use a few easy tricks to stay cool. These include closing/opening your doors, using blackout curtains, popping your attire in the freezer, or using a fan but with an added trick, as explained below.
This article explores all of the above-mentioned strategies and more ways that you can implement to stay cool during the day or at night. Read on to learn everything in great detail.
Take a warm shower.
When it’s hot, you sweat a lot. Blood circulation increases as the body tries to expel the heat, and as a result, you appear flushed. On the other hand, when it is cold, there’s not much blood circulation to the surface of the skin. This is why under very cold conditions, the skin appears pale.
Given that we want to stay cool when it’s unbearably hot, it would seem like taking a cold shower to cool off would be the best solution to any heat problem. However, it is not, and this why.
The body has a core temperature. And against fluctuations in external temperatures, the body tries to maintain a stable internal temperature, which only differs by about 0.5℃ (33°F) across a wide range of ambient temperatures.
Nonetheless, we’re not consciously aware of this core temperature. For instance, if it changes by more than the said 0.5℃ (33°F), we may end up falling ill and exhibit common symptoms such as having a fever, heatstroke, or heat exhaustion.
Now, because we respond more to changes in skin temperatures than the core temperature, a cold shower will indeed lessen the blood flow to the skin, thus decreasing skin temperature; but only for a short while.
Since the body detects temperature change within a split period of time, a cold shower (water temperature of 20-25℃ or 68-77°F) prompts the core temperature to get warmer due to the sudden decrease of blood flow to the skin. As a result, you end up feeling hot again after a while.
However, if you took a warm shower (water temperature of above 33℃ or 91.4°F or higher than the body temperature), the body will respond by increasing blood flow to the skin, causing you to sweat more and thus increasing the amount of heat lost from the body to almost ten times.
Just don’t forget to stay hydrated for more cooling down and the needed moisture.
Close/open your doors.
If the temperature in your room is higher than the air temperature, it’s only natural to open the door to let cool air in. However, if the air temperature is higher than room temperature, keep your doors closed to prevent warm air from entering your room. Apply the same when it comes to opening and closing of windows.
For instance, if the weather is cold during the mornings, you may open the doors or windows for ventilation. But once the sun comes out and the heat increases, you may close the windows or unused doors.
Close your window blinds, drapes, and curtains.
Studies show that 75% of residential window coverings remain in the same position each day.
However, to maintain cool room temperatures, it is advisable that you keep your blinds and curtains closed. Doing so can lower room temperatures up to 20℃, according to HuffPost.
Use medium-colored draperies.
Having curtains and drapes with the right fabric and color can go a very long way in maintaining low temperatures whenever an AC fails. According to DOE, medium-colored drapes with white plastic backings are your best bet since they can reduce heat gain by up to 33%.
Quilts can also be used in keeping cool room temperatures. They are opened by rolling and closed by unrolling. Since they fit snug against the trim, they are effective in controlling air leakage similar to cellular shades but less costly.
In terms of thermal performance like cellular shades, quilts reduce unwanted daytime heat gain while reducing night time heat loss through windows.
Use a box fan.
A box fan can also help you to stay cool in place of an air conditioner. All you need to do is place it facing out of the room you’re in. You can also add another fan for that added effect.
To use this hack effectively, just place the first fan facing out of the room you want to cool as mentioned above, then place the second fan facing inwards to push air into the room you’re trying to cool.
Since you do not want to push in warm air, position a bowl of ice in front of the second fan for that faux sea breeze effect.
This technique is also known as creating a crosswind.
In case you have tall windows, place the fan as high as possible to get the warm air out. Because hot air is lighter, which makes it rise above cold air, this technique will help you stay cool effectively.
Sleep in cotton bed sheets of linens.
Just like fabric matters when choosing curtains and drapes, it also matters when picking out the best bed sheets that can help you stay cool.
Unlike flannel sheets, which are good for insulation, cotton and linen bed sheets are lightweight, breathable they soak up sweat, which in turn gives you a cooling effect whenever you perspire.
Amazingly, such fabrics work similarly to an air conditioner by allowing heat to escape your body and hence helping you to stay cool on those hot days or nights.
In case you don’t have cotton or linen bed sheets, pop the sheets you have in a freezer before bedtime. You may also sleep with a bottle full of frozen water placed on the foot of your bed.
This will help keep your feet cool.
Sleeping on the floor is also an alternative.
Install tinted window films.
Another way to keep heat off is to install tinted window films. Insulating your windows, especially east and west-facing windows can prevent hot air from permeating your room, thus ensuring that there’s not an increase in temperature and maintaining the cool you desire.
If you opt for this option, choose silver mirror-like films since they are said to be more effective than transparent ones.
Install them on east, west, and south-facing windows since they are likely to gain more heat than north-facing windows.
The good thing is that window films are also inexpensive, easy to install, and they do not block your views.
Switch the direction of your ceiling fan.
If you have always switched on your ceiling fan to move in the clockwise direction switch, it moves counterclockwise. What this does is that instead of blowing the warm air, which is high above and close to the fan, to you and across the room, it will push cold air, making you feel cooler.
For safety, turn off the fan before adjusting it to suit your needs.
If you’re looking to cut down your electricity bill regardless of whether your air conditioner is broken or not, these nine quick life tricks are some of the strategies you can implement to stay cool on hot days/nights.
Be it leveraging operable window coverings, finding the opportune periods to open or close your doors, or focusing on cooling yourself, you are indeed equipped with both short term and long term methods that will help you survive an air conditioner emergency.