Having your air conditioning quit on you can be extremely frustrating, especially during the thick of the summer. While there might not be much you can do about fixing the problem yourself, you can still avoid the majority of the discomfort that results. Conventional options exist, but if you're working on a tight budget it's important that you have some tricks up your sleeve that are both effective and affordable.
Air Movement and Evaporation
One of the most effective means of keeping your body cool requires good air circulation, and a conduction medium. Ceiling fans work best for circulating air in a large space, but cheap oscillating fans work well to. A damp shirt will help conduct heat away from your body, and throwing it in the freezer for an hour or so will help as well.
As the moisture in the cloth evaporates, circulating air will draw it away from your skin, cooling you down in the process. This is a common technique used by people who spend a lot of time outside in hot climates, as the damp cloth takes the place of sweat, helping to preserve your body's own moisture. The thicker the material in the shirt you use the more effective it will be at keeping your core body temperature down.
Let the Outside In
Even on the hottest day of the year, the temperature outside your house will be cooler than the temperature inside without AC. Don't overlook this crucial source of cooling, especially in the evening hours before you go to bed. The closed system of your home is designed to retain heat, so it's important that you allow your home to breathe for a few hours each day to prevent your house from becoming a very expensive oven.
Any fan you own should be in a window once the sun has fully set, but avoid only moving air in one direction. Cross ventilation is critical to the efficiency of this approach, so draw air in from the side of your home which has been in the shade the longest, and push it out on the side that was in direct sun for the majority of the day. In the northern hemisphere, the south side of your home will generally receive direct sun all year, and the north side will be shaded.
These approaches will help make staying in your home without AC more bearable, but they're no substitute for actual cooling technology. Set your air conditioning repair appointment as early or as late as possible, to minimize the amount of work your AC will have to do when it comes back on. Midday appointments will mean your AC will have to struggle to bring the temperature down, and can result in a second repair call.