When the summer heat becomes unbearable, and window air conditioner installation is out of the question, it is wise to explore alternative cooling solutions. From central air systems to good old-fashioned ceiling fans – several alternatives exist that can keep you cool and comfortable.
For those interested in knowing more about their cooling options, check out this guide on determining if you have a heat pump or a conventional system at Autumn Air Heating and Cooling.
1. Central air conditioning
The first – and most obvious – choice for an alternative to a window-mounted AC, is central air conditioning. Here are some reasons why it’s the perfect alternative to a window AC:
- Whole-home cooling: Unlike window units that only cool one room at a time, central AC delivers consistent, cool air to every room of the house. This is particularly beneficial for larger homes or those with open floor plans.
- Energy efficient: Central air conditioners are more energy-efficient than window units. They use less electricity to cool the same amount of space, which can significantly save energy bills.
- Aesthetically appealing: Central AC units are less obtrusive than window units. They’re usually installed outside the house or in an attic or basement, so you won’t have to give up window views or worry about an unattractive unit sticking out of your window.
- Quiet operation: Unlike window units, which can be quite noisy, central air conditioners operate quietly. The noise-generating compressor and fan are situated outside the home, allowing for peaceful indoor environments.
- Improved air quality: Central air conditioners also improve indoor air quality. They feature filtration systems that remove dust, pollen, and other airborne pollutants from the air, promoting a healthier living environment.
In a nutshell, while the initial cost of a central air conditioning system may be higher than that of window units, the benefits make it an obvious choice for long-term comfort and value.
2. Portable air conditioners
Portable air conditioners (PACs) offer an effective and flexible cooling solution, serving as a versatile alternative to window air conditioners. Unlike window units, PACs do not require permanent installation, and their mobility allows you to move them from room to room as needed. This can be especially beneficial in homes or apartments where only certain areas need to be cooled at specific times.
With a self-contained cooling system, PACs work through a cycle of warm air intake, internal cooling (via refrigeration) then expelling the cool air back into the room. Most models also come with a hose that can be easily fitted to a window to remove the heat extracted from the air.
PACs can be more energy-efficient than central air conditioning systems when you only need to cool a single room or a small portion of your home. When used strategically, they can lead to considerable energy savings.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that their cooling capacity may not be as powerful as window or central air conditioning systems, making them more suitable for moderate to mildly hot climates or as supplemental cooling solutions.
3. Ductless mini-split systems
If you want complete control of the temperature in your home, ductless mini-split systems provide real power. These systems offer innovative options like zone cooling capabilities, allowing room-specific temperature regulation.
This can be particularly beneficial if your sunroom or other space gets warmer during the day than other parts of your house, and it is also great for older homes where installing new ductwork may not be an economical solution.
Ductless mini splits boast very high SEER ratings, making them more effective than traditional HVAC systems. Furthermore, Energy Star rebates may be available.
Many ductless mini-split brands, including Gree Sapphire, Mitsubishi, LG and Panasonic models, have earned the Energy Star’s “most efficient” designation.
Fans – a tried-and-true solution for cooling homes – can serve as a viable alternative to window air conditioners. They work on the principle of air circulation, moving the air around the room and creating a wind-chill effect that makes the environment feel cooler than it actually is.
There are several types of fans available, each with their own unique benefits.
Ceiling fans: These fans are installed directly into the ceiling and distribute air downwards. They’re especially effective in rooms with high ceilings where warm air tends to rise and can be used in conjunction with other cooling methods to improve their effectiveness.
Tower fans: Tower fans stand vertically and oscillate to distribute air across a wide area. They are often equipped with features like timers, remote controls, and multiple speed settings.
Pedestal fans: These fans have a large, circular head mounted on an adjustable height stand. They’re capable of pushing large volumes of air, which makes them suitable for larger rooms.
Box fans: Placed in or near a window, box fans can pull in cool air from outside or exhaust hot air out, contributing to a cooler room temperature.
Fans provide more than just cooling: they also promote air circulation to address issues of dampness or stagnant air, using less energy than air conditioners while being more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly.
It’s important to note fans don’t actually lower temperatures in a room – rather, they make you feel cooler by dissipating perspiration off your skin and creating the illusion that cooling has occurred.