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How to Beat the Heat if Your AC Breaks

The rain is officially over. The heat starts creeping in.

It’s the same throughout the Pacific Northwest every summer. We can’t wait for the rain to stop and the summer to get here, yet we complain about the heat as the temperature begins to rise and the sun blasts away from above.

All across Vancouver, we hear the air conditioners kicking into high gear. Occasionally, one doesn’t. It sputters, clicks, and groans as it tries to cycle on. A small spurt of cold air springs from the vents, even if it isn’t effective.
How to Beat the Heat if Your AC Breaks
And of course, it happens on the hottest day of the year.

Without even calling a technician for AC repair, you know you’ll be put on a waiting list. You’re not the only one with technical issues. AC repair takes time. It may be hours, days before someone can come out and visit your home, fixing whatever troubles your AC unit is facing.

Where does that leave you? How do you beat the heat if your AC breaks?

Drink Water
This might seem a little obvious, but it’s one of the most important things you can do. If you wait until you’re thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Drinking water frequently throughout the day – especially when it’s hot outside – replenishes your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. The CDC recommends two to four glasses of water per hour, depending on your amount of activity.

Eat Cool
There’s nothing like a warm, cooked meal; except when it’s hot outside. Leave the oven off, the cooktop unused, and the barbecue tucked away. Turn to raw food instead. Vegetables and fruits somehow taste better when it’s too hot to cook. Try a new salad recipe with a seasonal dressing. Don’t forget to stock up on frozen treats like popsicles for a quick snack that can cool you down.

Fans
Even with air conditioning, you should invest in a fan or two. Fans are a great way to make you feel cooler, even though they don’t produce cold air. Make sure your ceiling fans are spinning in the right direction. Because of the angle of the fan’s blades, counterclockwise works to push cooler air down toward the living space. Clockwise direction will keep the upper side of the blade moving forward, which pushes warm air trapped toward the ceiling downward, which is perfect for making your furnace more efficient in the winter months.

Lights Off
Have you invested in LED lighting? We highly recommend it. But if you still have incandescent bulbs, they produce enough heat to add to the warmth of a room. Shutting off unnecessary lights is a great way to bring down the temperature of your home a degree or two. Not only will it help you cool down, but it can also help you use less energy too.

Windows
The natural reaction without air conditioning is to throw open the windows to let a breeze blow in. But a hot breeze will only add to the discomfort level in your home. Open up windows at night if a cool breeze is available, then shut them down again before the heat of the day. Use blinds and drapery to control the sunshine streaming in. Block out the sun’s rays to keep the inside cooler during the day.

All of these are tips that can help you stay cooler on the hottest days of the year. You can use them whether your AC unit is on the fritz or not.

But nothing changes the fact that if your AC unit needs repair, getting a highly qualified repair technician in as fast as possible will ensure your home stays cool and more comfortable throughout any heatwave we may face here in Vancouver.

It’s also good to know that air conditioning systems rarely go out without a little warning. There are signs. If you recognize them early, you can avoid losing access to cool air on the hottest days of the year.

Lack of airflow
One of the first signs you’ll notice when your AC needs repair is the lack of airflow. You’ll start to notice less air coming through the vents, a sign that your unit’s air compressor is failing, or even that your ductwork is clogged.

Strange sounds
You’ll also start to notice your AC unit is making noises you’ve never heard before. Those creaks and groans aren’t normal. When air conditioning systems kick in, it’s normal to hear a popping noise as the ductwork changes temperature with the airflow. What isn’t normal is to hear grinding, groaning, or hissing throughout the air cycling process. Strange sounds indicate there may be a growing problem with your AC unit, and it’s time to call a repair technician.

Odor
You’ll often find a dusty smell coming from your vents the first time you turn on your system if it’s sat unused for a while. We’re talking about odor beyond that dusty smell. If you notice a musty smell every time the unit turns on, it may be a sign of mildew or biological growth. Bad odors can also be caused by burned out wire insulation, which also should be looked at and replaced as soon as possible.

Leaks
Air conditioners aren’t supposed to have water buildup around the AC unit. If you find moisture where it shouldn’t be, you may have a leak. For starters, it could be a refrigerant leak, which can pose serious health risks for your family. It could also be a problem with the condensation line, which could either be blocked or cracked. Either way, it needs to be looked at as soon as possible by a reputable AC repair person.

No cool air
Of course, this tends to be the problem of last resort. When the problem is big enough in your air conditioning system, cool air will stop flowing into your rooms. No matter how much you adjust the thermostat, the cool air doesn’t flow. When this happens, there’s a chance the system’s compressor has failed or the refrigerant is too low, indicating a leak in the system.

Resolve your air conditioning issues today. If you’re in need of AC repair here in Vancouver, give us a call.