Four Effective Alternatives to Running the Central AC


Heating and air conditioning systems

Just because the home you live in doesn’t have central air conditioning doesn’t mean that you have to suffer through the heat of the summer. There are several affordable, portable cooling options that give homes without central air conditioning comfortable temperatures throughout the summer.

Split System Air Conditioner
The split system air conditioner is sometimes called a “ductless air conditioner” because unlike traditional HVAC systems, no duct work is required throughout the house. A split system air conditioner is basically a hybrid of between a window and a central air conditioner. As with a central AC system, the split system air conditioner has an outdoor condenser and compressor. The indoor portion of the split system air conditioner contains an evaporation coil and forced air unit. Air is pushed from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit through pipes or tubes in the walls and is then cooled and pushed into the room. The elimination of duct work, which is a huge source of efficiency loss, gives the split system air conditioner lower operation costs. Another advantage to the split system is that a number of indoor units can be linked to a single outdoor condenser. This allows two rooms within the same home to have different temperatures and provides efficient cooling to as many rooms as necessary.

Window Unit Air Conditioner
A window unit is a cooling device that is installed in the window. They cool the room they are installed in by drawing air from outside, cooling it and pushing it into the room. The biggest advantage of a window air conditioning unit is that since they are only made to cool small areas, your cooling costs remain fairly low. The disadvantage to a window air conditioning unit is that it blocks the window, which reduces sunlight and can appear unsightly. Also, because they are only designed to cool a single room they are not a great solution for cooling a large space.

Evaporative Cooler
In the right climate, an evaporative cooler works very well at a very low cost. The design of the evaporative cooler is fairly basic. A water pump circulates water to wet a cooling mat, and then a fan draws air in from outside through the wet cooling mat, which cools the air by evaporation. That air is pushed into the home and cools the space. The evaporative cooler is available both as a portable unit or to cool the entire home, and is one of the least expensive cooling options. The drawback to evaporative cooling is that it is only effective in areas with very little humidity.

Portable Air Conditioner
Even if you have a central air conditioning, a portable air conditioner is a good way to save a few dollars by cooling a small area instead of the entire building. Like a window unit, a portable air conditioner vents through the window, but can easily be unplugged and moved to a new area. The drawback to a portable AC is that they use more energy and cost more to operate than window unit. Currently, there are no portable air conditioning units that have an Energy Star rating.

Do you live in a home without central air conditioning? How do you stay cool throughout the dog days of summer? Leave us a comment with your input below!

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