How To Avoid Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke When Your AC Goes Down

homeowner suffering from heat stroke and heat exhaustion from broken air conditioner

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), common health hazards in summer include, among others, dehydration, heatstroke, and sunburns. To give you an idea, about 1,300 Americans die from heat-related conditions every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Therefore, staying cool on the hot days of summer is vital as overheating can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. With this in mind, you should take the necessary measures to prepare your HVAC system for the summer.

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Ways To Avoid Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke When Your AC Goes Down

In this article, we discuss some ways to keep cool should your air conditioner malfunction at the peak of the summer. It is important to note, however, that many air conditioner breakdowns can be avoided by scheduling an annual air conditioner tune-up.

Why Would My Air Conditioner Stop Working?

According to the US Department of Energy, you should set your AC thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. However, at times, summer storms can cause a power outage, and this means that your air conditioner will remain off unless you have a power backup. In other cases, the air conditioner can just go down due to reasons such as lack of maintenance, overworking, an old AC unit, or the wrong size cooling system.

To avoid cooling system issues in the first place, be sure to schedule an annual air conditioner tune-up in the spring, before the heat rolls in. Unfortunately, should your air conditioner break down, you and your family will be susceptible to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Thankfully, the tips below will help you prevent such conditions when your air conditioner is not working as expected.

Contact An HVAC Contractor Right Away

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This should be the first action you take once you notice that your air conditioner is not working properly. An expert HVAC contractor will inspect it and solve the problem that is causing the malfunction. Within a few minutes or hours, your AC should be back up and running, depending on the nature of the problem. In case the issue is bigger, you may have to wait a few days for the HVAC contractor to gather replacement parts, replace faulty parts, or even reinstall a new HVAC system.

Be sure to stay cool while you are without an air conditioner. Don’t forget about your pets as they can also suffer from excessive heat.

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Stay Hydrated

As a response to heat, your body will naturally start sweating to cool itself down. If the water lost to sweating is not replaced, you can be dehydrated, according to researchers at the Pennsylvania State University. It is for this reason that dehydration is a common problem in summer. With this in mind, keep your body hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day, as recommended by the Harvard Medical School. Typically, staying hydrated will save you from heatstroke and heat exhaustion that may result if your body stays at high temperatures for a long time.

Take Cold Showers

image of a shower head

Taking cold showers throughout the day is a simple yet effective way to keep yourself cool in the summer. It relieves your body from the burden of getting rid of the excess heat from inside. A cold shower also refreshes you, something which is much needed on a hot summer day.

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Avoid Using Heat Generating Gadgets

As you strive to reduce heat in your home, beware of the appliances that generate heat when used. Such gadgets include, among others:

  • ovens
  • computers
  • washers
  • vacuum cleaners
  • stoves
  • toasters
  • dryers

While these gadgets can be lifesavers in winter or on a cold day, you definitely don’t need them in summer, especially when your air conditioner is down. That said, avoid using them for some time to avoid generating more heat in your home.

Stay Downstairs

Considering it is closer to the roof; your upstairs rooms will tend to be hotter than the ones downstairs in summer. Additionally, the fact that warm air rises will make your lower rooms cooler than the upper ones. With this in mind, be sure to spend most of your time downstairs, preferably in the basement.


Dress Appropriately

While wearing fewer clothes is the norm in summer, it won’t help cool your body down, as reported by the National Public Radio. Instead, it makes you lose more water through evaporation considering more skin is exposed. Regardless of how heavy or light you dress, go for clothes made of natural cotton or linen. These materials hold sweat to your body by slowing down evaporation, and this saves you from losing too much water to sweating. On the other hand, avoid tightfitting nylon and polyester since they will most likely increase heat in your body.

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Open Windows Appropriately

During the summer season, temperatures usually remain relatively high during the day and at night. However, at night, the outdoor temperatures tend to drop significantly. This means that you should take advantage of this pattern to cool your house by opening and closing windows appropriately. More specifically, open windows during the night when outdoor temperatures have dropped and close them during the day, per the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Take note that a single open window can heat your entire house in minutes on a hot summer day, especially if it is located on the western side.


Block The Sun’s Heat

If you have a window that directly faces the sun’s rays, closing it alone won’t be enough to keep your house cool. Therefore, be sure to block any sun rays from penetrating your windows by closing curtains and blinds or cover your windows with tin foil to reflect the light.


If your air conditioner malfunctions in the summer, you should contact a professional HVAC contractor immediately. As you wait for the contractor to show up, follow the tips in this article to stay cool and keep heat-related illnesses at bay. To ensure your HVAC system does not break down unexpectedly, schedule regular air conditioner tune-ups. Additionally, make sure that your AC unit is the right size so it does not overwork and break down in the process.

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Call McAllister Energy For Superior Heating & Cooling Solutions

McAllister Energy

McAllister Energy offers high-quality HVAC services in Camden County, New Jersey. We hire only the best professionally certified technicians who conduct superior heating and cooling services. Some of our HVAC services include HVAC maintenance, heating and cooling installations, repairs, ductless systems, and much more. All our techs provide accurate HVAC services on time, every time.

Our company guarantees affordable heating and cooling service rates. Our maintenance services can increase your home’s comfort, energy efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. We can also provide you with a highly energy-efficient HVAC replacement system that fits your budget. Your satisfaction is important to us, so all our work comes with a guarantee. Book a service appointment with McAllister Energy today. We provide free, in-home estimates.

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