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

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

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that dehydration, sunburns, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke are some of the common health hazards that happen in the hot and humid summers. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 1,300 Americans die from heat-related conditions annually. Hence, staying cool during the hot days of the summer is crucial because overheating can cause heat exhaustion and heatstroke, especially when your cooling system is on the fritz. Remember to take the needed steps to prepare your HVAC system for the hot season.

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Avoid Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke When Your Air Conditioner Goes Down

Read on to learn several steps in how to keep cool if your air conditioner malfunctions in the middle of the summer. However, it is essential to note that annual air conditioner maintenance can prevent many air conditioner breakdowns.

Why Would My Air Conditioner Stop Working?

image of homeowner asking why an air conditioner would stop working

The US Department of Energy states that the air conditioner thermostat should be set at 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Unfortunately, summer storms can cause power outages at times. The air conditioner cannot turn on during this time unless you have a power backup. The air conditioner can also fail because of old age, wrong cooling system size, lack of AC maintenance, and overworking.

Make sure to book annual air conditioner maintenance in the spring to prevent issues from happening in the first place. If your air conditioner breaks down, you and your family become susceptible to heatstroke and heat exhaustion. The good news is that the tips below can help you prevent such problems from happening when your air conditioner isn’t working as it should.

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Contact An HVAC Contractor Right Away

Calling a professional HVAC contractor should be the first step you take when you notice that your air conditioner isn’t functioning as it should. An expert will thoroughly check the cooling unit and resolve any issues causing the malfunction. After several minutes or hours, your air conditioner should be back up and running, depending on the problem’s nature. You may have to wait several days if the issue is bigger to allow your HVAC contractor to gather replacement components, replace malfunctioning parts, or even install a new HVAC unit.

Make sure that you stay cool while your air conditioner isn’t available. Remember that your pets also need to stay cool, as they can also suffer from excessive heat.

Stay Hydrated

image of a child drinking water to stay hydrated when an air conditioner malfunctions

Our bodies start sweating to cool down as a response to heat. Researchers from the Pennsylvania State University state that you can become dehydrated if the lost water from sweating is not replaced. This is why dehydration is a common issue during the summer. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep hydrated and drink at least eight glasses of water daily as per the recommendation of the Harvard Medical School. Staying hydrated can usually save you from heat exhaustion and heatstroke that can happen if your body remains at high temperatures for an extended period.

Take Cold Showers

Take cold showers throughout the day. This is a simple and effective way to stay cool in the summer as it relieves your body from having to get rid of the excess heat from the inside. A cold shower gives you a refreshing feeling, which is definitely welcome during hot summer days.

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Avoid Using Heat Generating Gadgets

Strive to reduce the heat in your home. To do so, be aware of your heat-generating appliances, including ovens, stoves, toasters, dryers, washers, vacuum cleaners, and computers.
These gadgets can be extremely helpful during a cold day, but they aren’t needed in the summer, especially when your air conditioner is down. Therefore, avoid using them for some time to keep them from producing more heat in your home.

Block The Sun’s Heat

homeowner closing curtain to block the sun

Closing the window that directly faces the sun is not enough to cool your home. You must block the sun’s rays from entering your house through this window. Therefore, close the curtains or blinds. You can also cover the window with tin foil to reflect the sun’s rays.

Stay Downstairs

The rooms upstairs are likely hotter than that downstairs during the summer as they are closer to the roof. Moreover, keep in mind that warm air rises, so the lower rooms are cooler than the upper rooms. Make sure you spend most of your time downstairs, ideally in the basement.

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Dress Appropriately

It is normal to wear fewer clothes in the summer, but the National Public Radio reports that this won’t help cool you down. As more skin is exposed, it only makes you lose more water via evaporation. Wear clothes made of linen or natural cotton regardless of how light or heavy you dress. These materials help slow evaporation, so sweat is held to your body. This way, you don’t lose too much water from sweating. At the same time, avoid tightfitting polyester and nylon as they tend to increase your body heat.

Open Windows Appropriately

The summer season means temperatures are relatively high throughout the day. However, the outdoor temperatures can significantly drop at night. Take advantage of this temperature change.

Open and close your windows as needed to cool your home. More specifically, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) suggests opening your windows at night when there are low outdoor temperatures and closing them during the day. Remember that even one open window can heat your home in minutes on a hot day, especially if the window is on the western side of your house.



Contact a professional HVAC contractor as soon as you notice your air conditioner malfunctioning in the summer. Follow the tips in this article while you wait for the contractor. These tips can help you stay cool and avoid any heat-related illnesses. Book regular air conditioner maintenance to make sure your HVAC system doesn’t break down unexpectedly. You should also ensure that you have the right air conditioner size so it doesn’t work harder than necessary and malfunction in the process.

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Call Point Bay Fuel For Your Air Conditioning Needs


Point Bay Fuel provides first-rate HVAC services in Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey. We have highly skilled and the best professionally certified technicians for all your heating and cooling service needs, such as boiler installations, furnace maintenance, AC repairs, ductless replacements, and more. All our techs have the experience and knowledge to service your HVAC system properly and promptly.

Our company offers budget-friendly HVAC service prices in the area. Our tune-up services can help increase your energy efficiency and comfort while lowering your home’s cooling bills. If you need an HVAC repair or replacement system, we can recommend the best and most affordable solutions for your home. All our work is backed with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction. Give Point Bay Fuel a call today to schedule a service appointment. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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