May 3, 2018

On the hottest days, nearly all air conditioning (AC) units struggle to chill the air indoors. If your AC system breaks down and you’re waiting to get it fixed, you can’t even count on that modern source of fresh air. However, you can find relief from the blistering heat.

You can help your AC unit on the most sweltering days of summer. Some of the methods can help you keep cool while your AC system is being repaired. Here are four things you can do to help your AC unit and yourself.

Hide From the Sun

Unobstructed south- and west-facing windows receive a great deal of sunlight in the afternoon. The glass panes on most contemporary windows bring in heat from the sun.

Your AC unit must work extra hard to keep a sun-exposed room cool. If your thermostat is located in the sun’s path or in a solar-heated room, you risk creating frigid zones in other rooms that don’t have south- and west-facing windows.

You can use several methods to keep the sun from overheating certain rooms. Some of these methods include:

  • Awnings
  • Light-blocking thermal curtains
  • Energy-efficient windows
  • Window film

You could also plant a shade tree to block some of the afternoon rays. Choose a deciduous tree because it will be lush and shade-giving in warm weather, then lose its leaves for winter. The bare branches allow the warming sun into your home when you want it. If you can’t plant a tree, plant a fast-growing annual vine on a trellis to block the sun.

Seek Out and Extinguish All Heat Sources

The sun creates the biggest indoor temperature boost in summer, but your belongings play a role too. When you want to help your AC unit work more efficiently, seek out and unplug all of those unused appliances and devices that emit heat.

Get in the habit of shutting down computers instead of leaving them plugged into the wall. Both the computer and the cord components generate heat even when no one is using them. Other electronics you should unplug include:

  • Televisions
  • Flatscreens
  • Gaming systems
  • DVD players
  • Stereo equipment
  • Dorm refrigerators
  • Alarm clocks
  • Programmable coffeepots
  • Microwaves

Plugs for chargers and other devices should always be unplugged from the wall socket when not in use, even when they aren’t attached to their dedicated device because they give off heat too. While it is slightly inconvenient to have to unplug devices and plug them back in, your rooms will be much more comfortable.

Use Fans Wisely

Fans provide cooling by addressing stagnant air and humidity. The fan blades move air while they evaporate sticky moisture on your skin. Attic fans pull air through the home and can boost the cooling and evaporative abilities of your AC.

An old-fashioned way to cool your home when the AC is out is to pull in cool nighttime air with box fans, then shut up the house in the morning. If you close windows while the home is cool, the inside will hold on to the cool evening temperatures longer.

Another tip if your AC is not working at all is to place a fan in the window at one end of the home and make the air blow toward the indoors. Place a second fan at the other end of the home with the fan blowing air outside. The two fans work together to move air through your home. Cross-ventilation can be achieved by slightly opening windows in adjacent rooms.

If your upstairs level is hot and unbearable, take advantage of the fact that heat rises. Follow the directions for the first fan as above, then place the second fan to blow out of a second-story window. Cool air from the lower floor is sucked upstairs, while hot air in the second story is blown outdoors.

Tall ceilings help to keep the air at the human level cool. The high ceilings attract and trap hot air above you. If you use ceiling fans to circulate air in rooms with high ceilings, make sure the blades spin in a counter-clockwise direction. This is the summer setting that pulls hot air up and away from the floor level of your room.

Have Your AC Unit Checked Out by Pros

If your AC unit is having a harder time than usual keeping you cool, get a thorough inspection. Your AC system may only need a tune-up and a small repair to make it work as good as new. Some small issues can include:

  • Clogged filter
  • Loose fan blade
  • Low refrigerant level
  • Loose connection
  • Blown fuse
  • Schedule your AC inspection as soon as possible in spring to avoid the emergency-repair rush when summer’s in full swing. If your AC unit is getting past its life expectancy, you can choose from a wide array of innovative, energy-efficient AC systems that keep you cool and use far less energy than old AC systems.

    Contact Smedley Service to schedule your spring home AC-system tune-up. We handle all of your AC service, repair, and replacement needs in the Greater Ogden, Utah region.

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