How to Handle an Air Conditioner Emergency
Living in a hot, humid or muggy climate can make the summer heat unbearable without air conditioning. Luckily, there are multiple ways to handle an air conditioner emergency that can help you and your family beat the heat the next time the AC goes out.
Check the circuit breaker
Before you start panicking about how much your local HVAC contractor will charge for an emergency AC call on a sticky summer night, check your breakers. In addition to the rolling blackouts that can occur in some parts of the country during the summer, the energy demand of some air conditioners can sometimes be enough to kill the power. Remember, even if the power is working fine in the rest of your home, still check because many homes will have major systems like heating and air conditioning on their own breaker.
Avoid DIY repair work
Unfortunately, your home’s HVAC system can be a complicated and dangerous one, especially when you don’t have significant experience working on the equipment. While the temptation can be strong to save a little money by following an online repair tutorial, one slip of the hand is all it takes to damage it worse than it already was or injure yourself in the process. Even if the original repair would’ve only cost a relatively small amount, the damage a novice can cause to an HVAC system can skyrocket repair costs.
Assess the situation
Let’s face it; it can be difficult to think clearly when you’re uncomfortably hot, but the loss of your air conditioner when the mercury is only in the mid-80s isn’t necessarily an emergency unless health factors are in play. Since many air conditioning companies will assign a higher fee to service calls that take place outside of their normal business hours, you may save quite a bit simply by delaying service until the next day.
Of course, it’s also worth a call to the HVAC company of your choice to find out how much more an emergency service call fee is. If you’re comfortable with the upcharge – or there isn’t one – there’s no reason to delay repairs.
Cool down the environment
Whether you choose to push back the appointment for a day or two or that was the soonest you could get service, there are things you can do to make your home a more comfortable place in the meantime. In addition to running your ceiling fans, you can also cool down a room significantly by running box fans. In fact, placing a pan of ice between you and the box fan can work as a makeshift air conditioner in a pinch. If humidity is an issue in your area, running a dehumidifier can help to better condition the air.
If, however, you or someone in your family suffers from a condition that makes them prone to heatstroke and you’re unable to get air conditioner emergency service, you may want to explore other places to stay until the system is fixed. While this can be a more expensive solution when you don’t have local friends or family to stay with, avoiding a health emergency is certainly worth the cost.