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As you snuggle into your bed on a warm summer night, have you ever thought about how essential it is to keep cool while sleeping? Using an air conditioner offers several benefits during those sweltering nights, and maintaining optimal temperatures can do wonders for your health.

For example, staying cool as you sleep helps improve sleep quality by preventing overheating that could disrupt restorative REM cycles. Additionally, well-regulated temperatures reduce thermal stress which impacts both concentration levels and overall mood the next day.

In this article, I’ll delve into the remarkable science of air conditioners, revealing their essential role in battling intense summer heatwaves. Join us as we shed light on how these powerful allies create cool and refreshing sanctuaries to ensure a restful slumber while skillfully tackling thermal stress.



Disclosure: Sponsored post.


Thermal Stress: Decoding The Hidden Culprit

When discussing thermal stress, we’re often talking about things like heat index, relative humidity, and dew point temperature. These factors contribute to our perception of how hot it feels outside on those miserable dog days, and directly impact the levels of thermal stress we experience.

The universal comfort heat index (UTCI), for instance, takes into account air temperature, relative humidity, wind-speed, solar radiation, weather-appropriate clothes and the body metabolism under these conditions. It provides an equivalent temperature of how oppressive the conditions may feel.

UTCI thermal stress categories without air conditioner maintenance
Universal Thermal Comfort Index (UTCI) and the related thermal stress. You can achieve thermal comfort by adjusting what you wear only between 48.2 and 78.8F (9-26oC).


As relative humidity rises, our body’s natural cooling  mechanism via evaporation of sweat becomes less effective. The closer relative humidity is to 100%, the less sweat can evaporate to cool your body in hot weather. The consequence, you experience the air as hotter than it really is and feel thermal heat stress! Moreover, unless you wear breathable and moisture-wicking clothes you will be bathed in sweat, and your clothes stick to your skin.


thermal heat stress in the diurnal course on July8, 2015
Example of thermal stress in the diurnal course on July 8, 2015 in Fairbanks, AK. Color coding is the same as in the UTCI thermal stress category diagram above. While according to the outside air temperature a person should feel no thermal stress, the high humidity, solar radiation and low wind speed lead to moderate stress from about 8 to 9am, and to strong stress until 2pm when clouds formed and reduced the solar radiation reaching the ground.  From: Mölders 2019. License CC BY 4.0.



How Air Conditioning Counteracts Thermal Heat Stress

In contrast, air conditioning systems work by removing moisture from the air within your living space, effectively regulating indoor relative humidity levels while also lowering room temperature. By doing so, they create comfortable conditions that counteract the effects of thermal stress experienced during sweltering days.

Moreover, air conditioners are especially beneficial in combating high dew point temperatures – the threshold beyond which condensation occurs in saturated air (typically when relative humidity reaches 100%). When high dew points coincide with elevated outdoor temperatures during a heatwave event, potential health risks can escalate if proper in-home cooling measures don’t exist.

So whether you’re dealing with soaring heat indexes and oppressive spikes in dew point temperatures, employing an efficient air conditioner throughout warmer months remains key for mitigating thermal stress. The science behind these cooling systems is not only fascinating, but also exemplifies our continuous efforts to adapt and thrive within ever-changing weather conditions.


Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips for Hot Summer Nights

When dealing with inevitable heatwaves (remember we’re talking about unusually hot periods relative to expected local weather patterns), having an efficient air conditioner becomes even more important. These hot spells not only bring discomfort, but also pose risks to vulnerable populations such as children or older persons if proper cooling measures aren’t in place.

In addition to performing the basic maintenance measures for your air conditioner, remember to schedule preventive maintenance of the heating system before the cooler weather arrives. This will ensure that the heating system operates efficiently and safely during the colder months.

In addition to these basic maintenance measures for your air conditioner, don’t forget to also schedule preventive maintenance of heating systems before cooler weather arrives. Did you know that thermal cold stress already sets on at 48.2F(9oC)?


Tips to Stay in Thermal Comfort at Home Year-Round

These tips will save you from potential issues during winter months by ensuring optimal operation when needed most. By taking care of both cooling and heating needs throughout the year, you’ll maintain comfortable living conditions indoors no matter what Mother Nature has in store.


  1. Clean the filters: Ensure that your air filters are clean and free from debris by cleaning or replacing them every 1-2 months during peak usage.
  2. Inspect the coils: Check both condenser and evaporator coils annually to ensure they’re clear of dirt or dust which could hamper cooling efficiency.
  3. Remove any obstructions: Keep outdoor units free of yard debris, leaves, or trash that may inhibit airflow around the system.
  4. Check the drain line: Regularly inspect your AC’s drain pipe to prevent clogs which can lead to water leaks and damage inside your home.
  5. Look after electrical components: Periodically examine connections for signs of wear or corrosion, seek professional help if you spot any issues.
  6. Maintain thermostat settings: Use programmable thermostats when available to save energy costs during more temperate hours and days while still maintaining comfort levels indoors when needed most.


post banner showing an air conditioning maintenance guy


Avoiding Thermal Stress with Air Conditioner Maintenance in a Nutshell

Understanding the science behind air conditioners and their ability to combat thermal stress during heatwaves is essential for promoting a healthy and comfortable living environment. By reaping the benefits of a well-maintained cooling system, you can ensure quality sleep during hot summer nights while keeping potential health risks at bay! Therefore, air conditioner maintenance is time well invested.

Saving tip: Check the 24-h weather forecast and adjust the AC accordingly to reduce the costs of your electricity bill.


Tip: Use satin bedding because this weave is the coolest to the touch.



Founda, D., Pierros, F., Katavoutas, G., and Keramitsoglou, I. (2019) Observed Trends in Thermal Stress at European Cities with Different Background Climates. Atmosphere, 10 (8), 436,

Jin, M.S. and Huff, R. (2019) Urban Heat Island Effect on Building Electricity use. Global Journals of Research in Engineering, 19(J2), 1-12.

Mölders, N. (2019) Outdoor Universal Thermal Comfort Index Climatology for Alaska. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 9, 558-582. doi: 10.4236/acs.2019.94036.

© 2013-2023 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Amy Johnson

    Such an informative post of air conditioning. We’re still trying to wam up here in Wisconsin. I have a fire going in my wood stove as I type this. 🙂 Thanks for linking up with Ageless Style.

  2. Hi, Nicole – This is quite an in-depth treatise! I suppose I should make sure our central air is in top shape. You are also inspiring me to find some satin sheets. They are supposed to keep your hair and skin looking good when you wake up, as well as having a sensual and romantic look and feel. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! – Angie,

  3. Thank you for the compliment. Glad you like the information.

  4. Elisa Durban

    Great information. Thank you.