— It’s the type of heat that makes you want to curl up in your cozy bed.
But that heat can be lethal.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that in homes with an air conditioning system, the number of heat-related deaths from the air conditioner doubled during a period of unusually hot weather.
In the winter of 2007-2008, air conditioning systems were shut off in more than 20% of U.S. homes, and the study found that deaths from heat-associated illnesses rose by more than 60%.
It was the first study to examine the relationship between the timing of the shutdowns and the risk of heatstroke.
The findings showed that homes with air conditioning that shut off at the beginning of the winter months experienced an increase in deaths and an increase that correlated with the frequency of the shut-off.
“This study suggests that the shutoff of an air conditioning system can cause a significant number of deaths,” the authors wrote.
More than 50% of deaths related to heat in homes were linked to the shut off, the researchers said.
Researchers said the findings show the risk from shut-offs can be “significant, even if an indoor air conditioners are switched off in the middle of the day.”