can you stand the heat

Can You Stand the Heat?

It’s a simple question, really: What temperature does your house have to reach before you let the air conditioner kick on?

Well, I know not everyone has central air in their homes, but if you had to guess, what would that number be?

can you stand the heat

AC troubles

I hate to talk about this before Summer even starts, but what can I say, I’m still not used to Southern weather! It’s mostly in the 60s where I used to live, so I feel like it is Summer!

I had mentioned that our AC unit wasn’t functioning properly in my last post, and I guess maintenance doesn’t work on the weekends, so we’ve been without it for the past five days. Let’s rewind.

The issue honestly started around ten days ago, when I noticed some odd sounds coming from the closet where our unit is kept (I’m horrible with HVAC stuff so forgive my terminology; it’s a water heater with some sort of AC ventilation on top. Our actual AC is on the roof.). Then we had something of a cold front, so we kept the AC off for about four days.

When my parents came over, we turned the AC on, since my mom can’t live without it. We normally have it set for around 76 degrees, as I tend to get cold around 75ish. If I have to wear a hoodie in the apartment, it’s kind of silly to keep it cooler!

We noticed it wasn’t really making a difference in the temperature, though. It hovered around 78 degrees, and would routinely reach 80. As a result, it was also running constantly, which I wasn’t happy about. Our recent electric bill certainly reflects that. We didn’t think turning it on and off was the best idea, either, but we honestly have never had to deal with this before.

I ended up putting in a maintenance request once my dad took a look at the unit and discovered that it was frozen! There was ice all over where the air filter sits; it looked like the inside of a freezer.

Thursday

I put the request in Wednesday night, and at around 4pm on Thursday, someone showed up. Long story short, he figured out that the unit was low on freon, and refilled it, saying that everything should be fine.

Everything was fine for a short while. The temperature dropped one degree, and then stagnated. My dad looked at the unit again, and the ice was back.

Friday

I put in another maintenance request Thursday night, and R actually received a call from one of the property managers late on Friday, apologizing for the delay. He was told that backup maintenance guys would arrive within 30 minutes. It turns out there were multiple AC issues occurring throughout the complex! That was comforting.

They arrived on time and defrosted the unit. They then said they were going up to the roof to investigate further. I sat there and waited…and waited…and finally R came home, and went to look for them. They had been gone for about an hour, and we had wanted to go walking.

Turns out they got “side tracked” at the building across from us, and resumed their work on our unit. They did the same exact thing the other guy did, and refilled the freon. Upon their departure, I guess I made a skeptical face when they said we should be fine now, and reassured me everything was fine. According to this guy, there wasn’t a leak to worry about…but then where did the freon go from Thursday?? I had told them what happened!

Can you stand the heat? The hot and sweaty weekend

Sure enough, we turned on the AC, and even though the maintenance guys had an infrared reading at 72 degrees coming out of the vents, the temperature only dropped 2 degrees that night. Yet another maintenance request was submitted, but we didn’t think we would see anyone until Tuesday.

Turns out we were right, and Monday was the hottest day of all. Our thermostat read 85 degrees. Previously, it had topped out at about 81.

Thankfully, Saturday was somewhat cool, and Sunday wasn’t completely unbearable, but Monday was rough. Now, I have to say, I completely recognize that these are first world problems. We could have absolutely no access to air conditioning whatsoever. But we were still asking ourselves if we could endure the summer heat without the help of the AC. Heck, it’s not even summer yet, so it worried us a bit.

I’m usually the person that is either comfortable or cold when it’s 70 degrees out, so normally, I’d say “85 degrees? Whatever!” But this weekend has taught me that I am not invincible where heat is concerned. Plus it makes you tired, which means we had a rather unproductive weekend. We enjoyed relaxing, but I had other plans in store.

I’m also just not happy that it’s going on the third try of fixing this issue. No one likes waiting around all day for a repairman, and I don’t really feel comfortable not being here, so I have to suck it up. We are both hoping that they finally figure out what is going on, as we don’t want to have this recurring issue to worry about.

At this point, I am feeling pretty grateful that we have two little fans and a ceiling fan in the living room. We’ve also been opening the windows, which provides for a decent cross-breeze. On the upside, the cats are enjoying being a little closer to the outdoors! If all else had failed, we could have gone to the pool to cool down, or to a store to bask in the glory of air conditioning. We managed!

I have to admit, when it was around 80, I think my body was adjusting to the warmer temperature. I wasn’t as bothered as I had been in previous days. So maybe we can get away with setting the AC a bit higher. More powerful fans wouldn’t hurt, either. I have to laugh as I wrote that post in July of last year!

Do you have central air, or a window AC unit? What temperature is it set to? What do you do to cool off?

Erin M.

Erin is a personal finance writer and virtual assistant who loves talking about money and how to use it as a tool to get what you want out of life. When she's not obsessing over numbers or working (which is rare), she can be found messing around in Photoshop, laughing at her cat, watching YouTube videos, playing video games, chair dancing, or any random combination of the above.

68 thoughts on “Can You Stand the Heat?

  1. I think there is something to be said for heat acclimation. You really do get used to it the more you sit around in it! We can usually let our inside temp hit 80 before turn on the air, and until it gets truly hot in the late summer for the most part we can get away with turning it off at night and just running a fan. But I know it sucks to not have A/C. I’m sorry you guys are experiencing that problem – I hope they can get it straightened out for you today!
    Kali @ Common Sense Millennial recently posted: 4 Simple Keys to Side Hustle SuccessMy Profile

    1. Thanks! I definitely noticed 80 is becoming the new normal for me, haha. I’m sure we will get used to it, I’m just thinking it’s still Spring and it should be around 70!

    1. That is true! At least I am hoping they can fix it permanently this time around. I’m usually okay, but my boyfriend gets hotter a lot quicker, so he was pretty uncomfortable. We both felt like fanning ourselves last night even with the fans on us!

  2. The heat in the south is different from the heat here, but even still, when it reached 95 a couple weeks ago, I felt like a zombie. Most people on the westside of LA do not have AC because it usually stays cool with the ocean breeze. Fortunately, it’s a dry heat, so you it can get pretty hot before it becomes unbearable, but I work from home, so if we happen to have some kind of freak heat wave summer, I might have to think about working from somewhere else, like the library.

    1. Yep, I might have to think about going to the library as well. I hate to give up the comforts of home, but if I can’t work, what’s the use? It’s going to be around 90 today, and maintenance tends to come later in the day, so I’ll just be putting the fan directly in front of me!

    1. I can’t either, and neither of us slept well all weekend. I’ve definitely been spoiled my entire life; my parents keep their house at 75 and I’m always cold there! If only ours worked half as well…

  3. I wish that I could stand the heat like that. I can’t sleep if it is higher than 70 and typically like to have the air between 70 and 75 in the summer time. It would definitely save us money in the summer, if I could hack it but I can’t. The good news, though, is that we save a bunch of money in the winter for the same reason. I joke that my hubby is going to be really uncomfortable whenever I start going through menopause. :-)
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted: Music Mondays – Tears in HeavenMy Profile

    1. That is pretty much happened with our family with my mom, haha. My dad and I would be fine, and my mom would be dying in the summer. At least everything balances out in the end! I’m sure we won’t really have to use the heat come winter down here. I don’t mind bundling up a bit.

    1. Ugh, the humidity is such a pain. It hasn’t been that bad here yet, it’s just been a bit stifling. Having more of a breeze would really help.

  4. We don’t handle heat well. It’s mostly because we’re not used to it. It can get warm here, and it will get humid, but it’s only for a day or two (a week max) once or twice per summer. We never had A/C before because our windows couldn’t accommodate it (they were crank out rather than slide up). Now with our current apartment we can, so we bought a 2nd hand window unit for $50. Great investment… especially since it’s an old house with poor insulation (aka, it gets pretty stuffy upstairs).
    Alicia @ Financial Diffraction recently posted: Adjusting My Budget After A Pay Raise.My Profile

    1. What?! That sounds like great weather! I’d love to be somewhere that stays 60-70 year round, but I don’t think that will ever happen. $50 sounds like a steal!

    1. Yes – the humidity can be a killer. Thankfully it hasn’t been too bad here yet, which surprised me. There’s definitely a difference from being inland to close to the water that I wasn’t thinking of when we moved!

  5. I usually set it at like 75 or 76 degrees also. I try to conserve electricity, but I really don’t like the heat. Though I should be used to it, because growing up we didn’t have an air conditioner except in the bedroom. A lot of times when it feels hot inside, the balcony has a nice breeze. I also have a vornado fan which is pretty powerful.
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    1. I was looking into other fans on Amazon, but if they get the unit fixed we hopefully shouldn’t need one. Yesterday was pretty hot and still out so the deck wasn’t helping!

  6. When I bought my house we had a central air unit and before we moved in we had an HVAC guy come do maintenance on it because we noticed the same thing you describe with the unit getting frozen and the air not getting cool in the house. He told us the unit is very old so you will have to replace it soon so just use it until it dies. Last summer we turned the unit on and had the same problems again with it getting frozen and not cooling the house down. We decided to buy two window AC units and call it a day. I’m sure the central unit will have to be replaced but that’s not a priority right now and the window units have been doing a fine job.

    We just installed them this past weekend and we like to keep the temp in the house at around 72 degrees. We usually keep them on energy save so they don’t run all the time. Our average bill last summer for electric only was about $125.

    I hope they fix your unit up soon. I would not be dealing well in a room at 85 degrees.
    Raquel@Practical Cents recently posted: Around the House: My Favorite ThingsMy Profile

    1. The odd thing is, these apartments are only about two years old. The second guy that came to look at the unit said he it was a newer model than the complex he is normally at. There’s definitely cause for concern if they are flaking out this early!

      I am glad to hear that the window units have worked well for you. If we weren’t in an apartment I would do the same, as we’re normally either in the living room or the bedroom. I remember my parents having to replace their unit years ago, and it was not a fun time.

    1. I think that’s what we are going to do once everything gets fixed. Now that we are “used” to it being hotter, maybe we can get away with 78 or so. We’ll see!

  7. We have central AC. The strange thing is that I don’t need to turn it on unless it’s 90+ degrees outside. Our building must be really well insulated! My parent’s home is a different story. It always feels like a sauna in there during the summertime. They usually keep the AC at 75, just to keep it comfortable.

    1. That’s great! Being on the third floor right now isn’t doing us any favors, either, plus we have vaulted ceilings in the living room. I suppose our AC needs to work a bit more to cool everything down.

  8. I really hope maintenance gets their act together. It sounds like it’s clear what the issues is, and they aren’t fixing it.

    The AC thing is a different issue for people with allergies – or at least should be. If you have any outdoor allergies the absolute worst thing you can do is open your windows. The allergens blow in and slowly settle – everywhere. So we have the AC running a lot more often than most people because NOT having it run will cause health issues. I set ours at 76 overnight, though, and dabble between 73 and 76 during the day.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted: The Cure for AffluenzaMy Profile

    1. The breeze from the outside was nice, but yes, I was back to sneezing shortly after that. R doesn’t have allergies so he doesn’t really think about that before opening the windows! You could say we were pretty desperate :/. I’m also hoping that somehow, after being exposed to the outdoors enough, my allergies will go away. I can hope, right?

  9. We have central air, and we have our air on once it hits like 74 degrees in the house. We live in St. Louis and the humidity and allergies are one of the worst in the USA, so if just feels super disgusting in our home if we don’t put the air on. Plus, we tried turning it off a few weeks ago and my allergies got so bad that I couldn’t do anything for around 1.5 weeks!
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    1. I totally hear you on allergies. Mine have been killing me since moving here – I guess it was the shock of the change of weather. It had just snowed a week before we moved! I have noticed that my allergies have been worse since we haven’t had the AC turned on, though.

  10. I do have an AC unit, but I barely use it. Here in Oregon, it doesn’t usually get hot enough to be uncomfortable. On the rare occasion that it does, we go to the river or go on a hike and enjoy the beautiful day!

    When we lived in Florida, we consistently had problems with an apartment AC. We got the same run around. It took about 3 weeks of back and fourth with management to get them to actually fix the problem. The AC unit was just old! Apparently it became cheaper for them to replace it than it was to fix it! What made it so bad was that it was in the heat of the summer, 98 – 104 degrees most of the time. I remember ana and I laying on the tile to try and cool off!
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    1. Clearly I need to move to the west coast to solve all my weather related issues =).

      Ugh that’s even worse! We don’t have tile floors here, otherwise I think I’d be doing the same. The guys are currently back here, but the problem seems to be that they’re getting great readings, so once they see that, they leave. This time they said they’ll come back to check on things, but it usually takes about an hour for the unit to fully freeze. These apartments are not old at all, so it’s just troublesome to see the AC units already giving out.

        1. It’s definitely on my list of places to visit! I have no clue where we’re going to end up settling down, and traveling seems like a nice way to explore our options.

          Thankfully it seems to be working now, so no drastic measures were needed =). 85 is my limit!

  11. Our lovely (new) home (is it new after almost 10 months there?) doesn’t have air con. I can’t believe the BF agreed to it, as he hates the heat, and feels it BADLY. Anyhow, it’s got a LOT more windows/doors than my last place, so gets a good breeze at times but is still warmish/

    My old house was like a long box with one opening to the world – sliding doors, which weren’t well positioned for breezes (and only really worked with the front door chocked open). There, I did have an air con and used it a bit. Usually 20 mins on, then off til it ‘heated up’ again. Wiht concrete floors, a good thermal mass, it worked pretty well, summer and winter when I needed heat too. Seeing it’s a split system, there’s no thermostat, so it’s hard to know at what temp I felt ‘hot’ and switched it on. I did often start with a fan to circulate the air, before the air con was put on.

    Even in my ‘new’ home, I’ve used the fan on the counter (it’s a small box one) whilst I prep dinner. Weird looking, but effective, it’s the chest/torso that gets hot, so no point leaving the box fan to fan my ankles, imo!
    SarahN recently posted: Things I learnt this weekMy Profile

    1. I’m not sure if we would have agreed on a place without air conditioning, especially down here. We really wish our patio door had a screen, as that would make for a great breeze. Our last place didn’t have a screen door on the one entrance, either. I love having a ceiling fan as it’s pretty good at circulating the air!

      That’s a good point – we should have used the smaller fan we have in the kitchen. It was getting quite hot using the stove for dinner.

        1. Screens are lovely ideas. My parents don’t have a screen on their sliding glass door, but it leads out to a screened patio, so they can still leave it open and get the benefits. Ah, I hope the stove issue is a minor one!

    1. Whew, I can’t imagine high 80’s in Florida! I hope we get acclimated to the heat soon. We like to cuddle at night as well, but we’ve been steering clear of each other lately! My boyfriend likes to say I’m a space heater even though I’m usually cold, so we like it cool at night, too.

  12. We don’t have AC but we live fairly close to the bay so we get a nice breeze. Still, there are definitely some warm days that test us and I have the fan like 2 feet away from me! Hope you survive the Southern heat!
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    1. Thanks Anna! I am used to getting a nice breeze as we lived close to the water before. Being 3.5 hours away from the coast is certainly a change!

  13. In Arizona, we usually make it until May, and then we turn on the AC. We can hack it until the temperatures inside reach the high eightees, and then we give in. We keep it at 80, which feels surprisingly good when it’s triple digits outside!

    Sorry you’re having troubles but the good bit is that, as renters, you won’t have to foot the repair bills! AC repair/replacement is pricey!
    Done by Forty recently posted: Anchoring in MontevideoMy Profile

    1. That’s an interesting point. If you’re used to really high temperatures outside, then 80 probably feels really nice! My mom would probably laugh at that one. Our AC finally did work yesterday, and when it reached 80 (from 85), it felt pretty nice to me.

      That is very true, but it is somewhat annoying to have to deal with submitting requests and having no control over communication with maintenance. A small price to pay, I guess, but at least if I had been able to call someone myself, it wouldn’t have taken a week!

  14. You know, I think heat is one thing, but humidity is another story. Where I live, it tends to get super muggy. It’s hot too, but what really drives me crazy is when it is that humidity. Our AC unit was turned on this weekend to help with that. On a side note, we have a very old AC and will probably need to get that replaced in the next few years. Not looking forward to it. $$$!
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    1. I really hate when it’s muggy out. I did have my fair share of that where I used to live. Having to replace a unit is costly, but preparing ahead of time gives you the advantage!

  15. My AC is set at 78 degrees while I’m home and 82 degrees while I’m gone during the day. I don’t want to let it get too hot while I’m gone since the pets don’t like heat either and then the AC would have a lot of catch up work to do when I get home in the evening. Thank goodness for programable thermostats. I sure hope you get your AC problems figured out…
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    1. I would love to have a programmable thermostat in the future. It’s definitely useful. I was a bit worried about my cats, but they were troopers. Apparently the little closet door the unit is kept behind was restricting the airflow, and it has been working since we’ve kept it open. Just seems weird that other apartments haven’t had this issue, as all of them are designed the same way, but we’re glad it’s working again!

  16. I am not a big fan of A/C and I guess I am used to the heat as I was born in the Caribbean. We use ceiling fans instead and I just don’t move as much once it climbs to 25 degrees Celsius but it feels like 42 because of the humidity lol!
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    1. I do really like ceiling fans. My parents have one in every room of their house, including their porch and patio! They work pretty darn well. Unfortunately, we only have one in the living room. With vaulted ceilings and the kitchen being open, it tends to get too warm to be effective at times. I’d love to have one in the bedroom, though.

    1. Haha, yeah I get a lot of “deal with it” comments from my family when I say I’m cold. It’s good when I’m outside during the summer, but not so good when I’m inside.

  17. Our AC stopped working last summer when we had a heat wave. It was 35-38 outside (95-101 for you). Our place gets super hot to start with… I was having none of it, it was at least 85 inside for us, too.
    Well, it cost $250 to fix and my spouse was cheesed. The guy wasn’t sure if it would last, either, because the coolant had leaked out, but there were no obvious holes in the system. So far, so good, and money well spent, as far as I’m concerned!
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    1. I am glad it has continued to work! That’s awful that it broke in the midst of a heat wave :/. I should be we had this experience before peak temperatures.

    1. Yes that’s true – and I’m sure with the prices over there it’s always nice to be able to save where you can! I’d love to be able to go through the winter without turning the heat on here so that everything balances out at least.

  18. we put the AC on whenever we’re uncomfortable–i’m not sure what temp that would be. our bedroom is upstairs and it also gets the afternoon sun, so it feels like a sauna in there sometimes. our electric bill never gets too high though. we cranked the ac several times this past month and our bill was $52. Normally, it’s $30, so $22 for some comfort was well worth it. One time, we did pay about $90 when we had the ac cranked the whole month. it was really hot

    1. That’s not bad at all! I would definitely pay up to $50 to be comfortable. Our recent bill was $80, so I am hopeful that it will go down now that the AC is functioning properly.

  19. Most houses here do not have any central temperature control (although it would be heat not AC since it never gets that hot here). 25 degrees C is HOT for Auckland. I’m happy up to that temperature (can probably cope with up to 30, not that it ever gets that high here). My husband hates the heat and starts to get miserable at about 20 degrees or even lower.
    NZ Muse recently posted: A mini Auckland food tour, my wayMy Profile

    1. Oh wow, 20 degrees C would be perfect for me! How did he fare on your travels? I have to imagine you two experienced a wide range of temperatures! Yet another reason for me to want to visit NZ =).

    1. That makes sense! If only we had one. Thankfully they came and looked at it; nothing mechanical was fixed, but apparently leaving the door open to the unit works. I don’t know why they made one in the first place.

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