Air Conditioning Alternatives for the Home
Summer can get miserable at the height of the season. It can make the air inside our homes increasingly uncomfortable to live in. This is why many homeowners ask themselves if they should consider purchasing some sort of air conditioning system. Of course, the most comfortable would be to install a centralized air conditioner but in some homes, this is not always the best and most cost-effective option.
How central air conditioning works
With central air conditioning through a traditional HVAC system, most people recognize a large box unit that sits somewhere on the exterior of a home. This unit transfers hot air from inside a home to the outside while also cooling air with refrigerant and releasing it through vents into each room.
A central air conditioning system’s efficiency depends upon its age and if the system receives regularly scheduled maintenance and air filter changes. Air conditioners cost homeowners a collective $29 billion per year in upkeep according to the department of energy.
Other types of air conditioning units
Ductless air conditioning
Installing ductwork between walls is not always an option in some homes. The less invasive way to bring an air conditioning unit into a home is with a ductless system. It can also be called a mini split system. This type of system includes a condenser unit outside the home similar to refrigerated air conditioning but much smaller. Connected to the condenser are small units that run in each room attached to the wall.
The advantage of a ductless conditioner is that it gives you the ability to adjust the temperature room by room. The downside is that the more rooms you need to cool the more it will cost because each room needs its own unit.
Window Unit air conditioner
The window unit is the most recognized alternative to a traditional central air conditioner in a home. This type of air conditioner cools one single room. The advantage of a portable window air conditioning unit is that it can be a fast and effective way to cool a room. Once the unit is purchased all you need is a window and an electrical outlet.
The downside to a window unit is whether it is installed in a window or you are able to let it sit on the floor these units must release exhaust outside to keep the inhabitants of the home safe. This is why most people prop their units up in the window. If you do not have a window and an exhaust hose needs to be positioned in the opening of the window which is not always easy or convenient.
Is also called an evaporative cooler. It is most often used in dry climates. This system uses a fan and a water-soaked sponge or a pad as air is blown by the fan through the pad allowing the water-cooled air to blow into the room. This still requires you to crack a window to allow hot air to escape as cool air comes in. The advantage of the system is that it is small and uses just a little water and is much less of an impact on energy bills.
The disadvantage to this system is that it is only effective in areas where humidity is low as often the system is installed on the roof of a home. The more humid the air the less effective this system is going to be.
This is very similar to a swamp cooler but it avoids humidity limitation and is great when the weather is warm but not overly hot. This works by circulating air and pushing stuffy warm air out of the house and providing a consistent breeze inside the home. If you have proper attic vents the fan can be reversed to pull in cooler air through the home when windows are open and expel the hot air out of the vents.
In areas where it does not get insanely warm, this can be huge cost savings as compared to running an air conditioner. The downside is that without a cooling agent the fan will not be incredibly helpful when temperatures are above 80°.
Simple household fan
This is probably one of the simplest and cheapest alternatives to having an air conditioning system. A fan works by plugging it in and increasing air circulation throughout the room. The advantage of a simple fan is that it is cheap and can be found in pretty much any store. Fans that sit low to the ground and that tilt upward may be the most effective for pushing cold air around the room as cold air tends to stay at lower points.
The disadvantage is that a fan does not technically take warm air and make it colder. In more humid climates a mister or evaporative cooling fan may seem helpful but they only make a room more humid.
For information on available homes in Columbus and surrounding areas please contact us anytime.
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