When most people think about keeping their homes cool, they immediately think about an expensive, professionally installed central air conditioning system, but that may not always be necessary.
In many cases, there’s something else that can serve as your home’s air cooling system — and in almost all cases, there are units that can be used in addition to an air conditioner to keep your home cool.
Here are a few examples:
- A whole house window fan like the Air King 9166 can be installed in any window and used to exhaust hot air from a home before turning on the air conditioner or instead of using an air conditioner at all.
- A whole house attic fan serves the same purpose as a window fan, but it is permanently installed in the attic of a home and serves to vent hot air through the attic while reducing the temperature of the entire home.
- A window air conditioner can keep the rooms you use most cool, eliminating the need to cool your whole home. This works especially well for small homes with only one or two occupants, especially when there is no existing ductwork.
No matter what you ultimately decide to do to keep your home cool, considering all your air cooling system options is a smart idea. In addition, here are eight things you should consider before buying any kind of air cooling system for your home.
1. Can any existing systems in my home be repaired?
In some cases, it makes sense to simply repair your existing system and worry about finding a suitable replacement during the off-season when prices for systems, labor and other home cooling systems are lower.
2. Would a less obvious type of unit work best?
In addition to whole house attic fans, window fans and window-unit air conditioners, there are through-the-wall units and other specialized systems for certain climates, like evaporative coolers for drier climates.
3. Do I need automatic cooling?
If you need a full-automatic system that will keep pets and heat-susceptible belongings cool when you’re out, a central air conditioning system might be best. An automatic whole house window fan like the Eco Breeze might work fine if you live in a mild climate.
4. How energy efficient is the unit?
No matter what type of unit you choose, energy efficiency should be a consideration. But if you live in a very warm, humid climate where evenings don’t cool off much, there may be no way to avoid running an air conditioning system constantly in the hottest weather to keep you cool. The more efficient the unit is, the less these times will cost you.
5. What cooling capacity do I need?
No matter what kind of air cooling system you choose, the system will show a rating for how large an area it can cool. For some small window units, this may only be 150 square feet. A professionally installed central air conditioner may be able keep several thousand square feet cool and comfortable even in the hottest weather.
6. How realistic are my goals?
Many systems can only make a difference in internal home temperature of about 20 degrees. If you have a poorly insulated home with lots of uncovered windows, expecting a 72 degree inside temperature in 105 degree weather is unrealistic, no matter how powerful the air cooling system. Covering windows and otherwise reducing the ways heat gets in can help.
7. Where is my information coming from?
Every manufacturer will claim their products are the right solution for every consumer, but evaporative coolers don’t work in humid climates and whole house attic fans don’t help when the outdoor temperature is above room temperature. Sometimes, a little common sense is in order when choosing what system to install. Remember that everyone who provides you information has an agenda of some sort.
8. How long will I be keeping the house?
If you plan to sell the home this winter, a window unit in your most used room may be all you need to get you through this summer. If you plan to raise children in the home, it might be best to invest in the highest quality system you can afford now and keep up with repairs so it will last many years.
Air cooling systems aren’t inexpensive, but some solutions cost much more than others. By considering carefully your options and making sure you aren’t overbuying or under-cooling, you can be comfortable in your home — and when you look at your bank statement.