A summer heatwave is the worst time to have your air conditioner stop working, but it happens more often than you think. While you’re waiting for a technician to repair your air conditioning system, there are steps you can take to keep your home cool and comfortable.

Here are six tips to survive a summer heatwave without AC.

1. Use Box and Ceiling Fans to Circulate Air

If you can’t use your air conditioning, fans are the next best thing you can use to keep your home cool and comfortable. Turn on your ceiling fans and place box fans in any rooms without ceiling fans. Window fans are another effective option and will help circulate fresh, cool air throughout the room.

In the mornings and evenings, open doors and windows on opposite sides of the house to create cross-ventilation. Cross ventilation draws cool air in and pushes hot air out. This effectively cools your home without air conditioning.

2. Cover Your Windows

Keep your blinds and curtains closed in the afternoon when the sun is at its strongest. Windows are responsible for 25-30% of home heating and cooling energy use. Proper use of window coverings can reduce heat gain by up to 77%.

Covering your windows before the afternoon sun arrives will help preserve some of the cool air from the evening and morning.

3. Avoid Using the Stove

There’s a reason summer is synonymous with grilling – it helps keep the home cool. Using the oven in the summer will only make your home even hotter. When temperatures reach 90+ degrees outside, cooking dinner in a 400-degree oven will only make your home hot and uncomfortable.

Try to cook more meals on the grill, or stick to foods that don’t require high temperatures, like pasta salad, sandwiches, and cold dishes.

4. Air Out the House in the Evening

When the sun goes down, temperatures fall. Take advantage of cool summer evenings by cracking open the windows and turning on the fans in your home. 

Just make sure that you close the windows and blinds or curtains before the afternoon heat arrives. 

5. Spend More Time Downstairs

Heat rises, so the second level of your home will be hotter and more uncomfortable than the bottom floor. Try to spend as much time as possible downstairs or even in the basement where temperatures will naturally be cooler. 

On particularly hot days, it may be more comfortable to sleep downstairs. 

6. Close Off Rooms You Don’t Use

Make smart use of the doors in your home. Close off any rooms that you don’t use regularly to keep hot air out. Closing the doors to these rooms also means that you have a smaller space to cool. 

These six tips will help keep your home cooler during a heatwave. Once your AC system is repaired, don’t forget to schedule routine maintenance to keep your system up and running optimally. Regular maintenance can help prevent costly system breakdowns that leave you without AC when you need it most.