How to Stay Cool When The AC Goes Out?

by | Energy Conservation, Energy Resources

When the AC goes out, it’s usually at the worst of times, leaving us scrambling for alternative forms of relief. Luckily, you do have a couple options while you’re waiting for repairs. Take this opportunity to make some cooling optimization changes in your home so that the next time you lose power or your unit freezes up, you’re not stuck sweating it out at home.

Naturally Lower Your Temperature

Take a Cold Shower

If you need some quick relief from the heat, a cold shower is one of the best options available to you. Even if you’ve lost power temporarily, you should still have plenty of refreshingly cool water available. Taking cold showers has additional benefits beyond cooling you down, too. It can improve your mood, increase your alertness, stimulate weight loss, ease stress and depression, and improve immunity and circulation.[1]

Use Menthol or Mint-infused Body Products

Switch out some of your regular lotions and body masks out for a few that are infused with menthol or mint to get a temporary cooling sensation. If you have some lightly scented or unscented lotions, add a small drop or two of peppermint essential oil to about a tablespoon of body lotion- or sunflower oil- and slather on. You’ll immediately feel the cooling effects.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is essential when you’re trying to regulate your temperature. Stay hydrated so you can sweat more effectively. Without adequate water, your body will have to work harder to find spare water for sweat. Dehydration can fool you in dry climates because the sweat will evaporate faster, so it’s best to be safe and keep drinking throughout the day.[2]

Use Your Freezer to Stay Cool

Chill Your Sheets

Sheets aren’t really something you’d think about putting in your freezer, but it can actually provide some short-term relief when you’re feeling overheated. All you have to do is put your sheets in a plastic bag, like a clean grocery bag, and place them in a freezer until it’s time to use them. It’s important to use a plastic bag to make sure no moisture accidentally gets on the sheets. Your body will warm your bedding up after a few minutes, but it is some temporary relief from the heat.[3]

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Make Frozen Treats

Before air conditioning was the norm, people turned to sweet treats like ice cream, frozen ice pops, and snowcones to stay cool on hot days. Take this as another chance to get the family together and make something tart and delicious! Check online for frozen fruit pop recipes and use up your summer produce and fruit juice to make some mouth-watering pops.

Make the Most of Your Box Fans

Box fans are relatively affordable and can be used in many ways to keep your house cool while you wait for your AC unit to be repaired.

Create a Cross-ventilation System in Your Home

You can cool your home use cross-ventilation that is created by opening your doors and windows, and adjusting the size and location of the openings to ventilate different parts of your home. If you want to cool more of your home, we suggest that you force the air to take longer paths between inlets and outlets.

Try using a smaller window that’s near a shaded area as an inlet to allow the air to enter the home, then use a larger window or door to let the air out. This will increase the speed of the air flowing through your home and improve the cooling effect. Of course, you can experiment with different windows and doors of your home to see what works best for you. It’s best that when you find a working cross-ventilation pattern, you keep all other windows and doors closed.[4]

You can also create a cross-wind by using two standard fans. Place one facing outside of the window in the room you want to keep the coolest. Then, use the second fan to create airflow towards the first fan. Set up the second fan so it’s facing inwards and is either in front of a second window or pushing air into the room. This will help circulate any stale air and bring in fresher, colder wair.

Build a Box Fan Fortress

If you have plenty of box fans readily available, place them around your house in the rooms you use the most to help cool the house down during the day. If your home doesn’t have any ceiling fans, this will be very useful in making sure the hot air doesn’t build up in the rooms you’re using.

Wake Up Early to Beat the Heat

Crack Your Window

Early bird gets the worm! Wake up early to use the morning air to cool your home before it starts to heat up outside. Crack the windows a couple inches before 7am, and you should be able to direct some of that crisp morning air in your house. Once it starts to heat up, you can close the windows and lower the shades to keep things cooler. Or try setting up the cross-ventilation system up above.

Cook in the Morning

Kitchen appliances generate heat when you cook, so if your air conditioning is out, try to prepare everything in the morning so that you aren’t adding heat to your home when it’s hotter out. There are also a few no-cook meals you can make while you wait for the AC to be fixed, which is also useful for when the power is out!

Small Changes to Optimize Cooling

Invest in Heat-blocking Curtains

Using blackout curtains are one of the cheapest ways to keep your home cooler during the summer. This will help reflect the sunlight and keep it out of your home. Blackout curtains can help reduce the amount of heat that comes through your windows by up to 24%.[5] They also help you sleep a little better without the sun peeking through your blinds in the morning!

Change Your Sheets

Switching to cotton or linen sheets when it gets warm will allow your body to breathe easier. These fabrics also feel cooler on the skin at night compared to flannel or synthetic materials. Likewise, you should sleep in breathable fabrics to avoid getting overheated.

Unplug Electronics

Some electronics generate a bit of heat like your kitchen appliances. If you aren’t using them, it’s best to unplug them to reduce the amount of heat in your home. If you must have them on, be sure they aren’t near any sunlight and that they aren’t stacked on top of each other. It’s best to keep two to three inches of space between any electronics.[6]

Use a Dehumidifier

If you live in a humid climate, dehumidifiers could be the key to surviving the heat when your AC is out. It can also reduce the chances of mold and mildew growth. If you’re going to be away from your home during the day, set a dehumidifier in the middle of a room that you use a lot- like your bedroom or living room. Turn it off when you’re sleeping or spending a lot of time in your room to keep the humidity level comfortable.

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  1. Borreli, L. (2016, June 07). Benefits of Cold Showers: 7 Reasons Why Taking Cool Showers Is Good For Your Health. Retrieved from
  2. How to Help Your Body Acclimate to the Summer Heat. (2016, June 01). Retrieved from
  3. Henry, A. (2013, June 24). How Can I Stay Cool While I Sleep? Retrieved from
  4. Cooling Your Home With Fans And Ventilation. (2001). Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Retrieved from
  5. Will Blackout Curtains Keep You Cooler This Summer? (n.d.). Retrieved from
  6. 5 Tips to keep your electronics cool this summer. (n.d.). Retrieved from