When the summer turns things hot outside, a cool home inside is what you need to escape from the heat so you can relax in comfort.
The way to make that happen is of course to have some form of air conditioning installed, if you haven't got that already.
There are a number of viable types if AC that you could choose from, depending on your needs, your budget and the size of your home.
Many people end up buying a large heating and cooling system that is way too big for their needs that ends up costing a small fortune when a smaller system would have sufficed. Don't get caught in that trap.
Make sure you plan carefully before you buy, so that you know what you actually need before you load up on equipment that will punch a big hole in your bank balance!
Central Air or Distributed Zoned AC?
Which do you choose? A central system can be a big investment but it should last you many years and also double as a heat source for winter.
Zone mini-splits can do that too and might be a better choice if your home is smaller and you often have some rooms that are left vacant for most of the day.
It all depends on what your home air conditioning requirements actually are.
Portable Air Conditioner
Another low cost option that can work especially in a small home or apartment is to buy a portable air conditioner.
It's easy to move it from room to room as you move around your home. It saves on purchase cost of a larger unit and being moveable makes it versatile by only cooling the room you occupy at any given moment.
They come in a variety of sizes and power outputs to suit different size spaces that need cooling. Most have a single exhaust vent hose, while some have a dual hose exhaust system for expelling the hot air out of the building.
Some are patented self evaporating portable air conditioner units that don't need constant emptying, as with many units where moisture generally condenses inside the unit and drips into a catchment tray.
It is even possible to obtain smart air conditioners that are WiFi enabled so you can control them from a phone app when you;re away from home!
Evaporative Cooling Option
For a very low running cost, an evaporative cooler can be a really good choice if you have the right climate to suit one.
An example comes from a reader who said:
"Prior to getting one (portable swamp cooler), when it rose to 102 outside it was 95 inside. Yet after getting a 14,000 BTU unit, when it rose up to 103 outside it stayed well below 85 inside.
That makes it perfect for our use as we are using it in a large living space of approx 1000 sq ft, including a 2 story faulted ceilings. It's not an air conditioner; but when you live in a dry climate some appliances will drop the temperature of a large 850 sq. ft. room by at least 10 degrees.
It's important to make sure to place it where you're sitting so you're in the draft created by this device. For it's size it's actually quite light and that makes it easy to maneuver around the room."
These coolers typically use between 100-200 watts of electricity to produce a lot of cold air in dry climates. That makes them much cheaper to run than a comparable air conditioner that uses between 1,000-2,000 watts to do the same job.
Another reader wrote:
"It's easy to use and it works pretty well, but it works best when you put ice in it. That would be OK if the ice stayed solid and cold longer, but it soon melts.
Having to put more ice in there every few hours is a pain, but it makes it super cold. I can't complain. This type of cooler does its job and it does it real well. Just remember to add ice, for extra cooling!"
There are good reasons for owning an evaporative cooler, but there are also negative aspects that should be addressed here.
Make sure to read the comments on this type of cooler as it is obvious that a lot of people don't understand the concept of a swamp or evaporative cooler. If you live in a humid place these coolers WILL NOT work for you.
However, in dry climates they are superior to an air conditioner in almost every way. I know of a person that purchased one to help deal with the recent unbearable heat in the southwest.
"Luckily it was a very dry climate here so this particular cooler works wonders. It easily drops 15 degrees off the warmest day. Plus it has the added benefit of helping to increase the humidity inside the house, where an air conditioning unit will dehumidify.
You may have to keep filling it about twice a day for it to keep running all day long, set on high during the day and set on low during the evening. The wheels should be a bit larger, as it needs to be moved from room to room as needed. The build quality is good, although it is quite loud but that is a very subjective description.
An example is that it is difficult to watch television with the cooler on high in the same room. To fix that, just place it down the hall about 15 or so feet away and it will still cool but now it is quiet enough to hear the TV!"
Window Air Conditioner
Another alternative is a window AC where it is allowed depending on the rules if you live in an apartment block.
These units are quieter than portables but lack the portability benefit. They also block some light from the window they're fixed into, but that can be a small sacrifice to have cool air on a really hot day!
However, they do represent the cheaper running cost end of air conditioning solutions so if portability is not high on your list of requirements, a window unit might just be the solution to keeping your house or apartment cool in summer.
All in all, having a comfortable home to come home to is a major benefit and a good air conditioning solution is a must!
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