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Cool Comfort - Ways to Beat the Heat


Economical & No Cost Cooling Solutions

You can take measures that cost you very little or nothing at all, but will make your home more comfortable during the hot weather.
  • Close windows, entrance doors, draperies and blinds early in the day, before the sun has had a chance to warm up the inside of your home. Open them once the sun has gone down later in the day. This will make the inside of your home cooler than the outside temperature.
  • Strategically planting trees to provide shade to the house can reap some cooling benefits in the future.
  • 5 Ways to Keep Your Kitchen Cool
  • Adding awnings to windows will also provide shade.
  • An exterior air conditioning unit will function better and more economically if it is shaded by trees.
  • If the air in the room is dry, a portable humidifier can reduce the temperature in a room by a couple of degrees.
  • Open opposite end windows to improve cross ventilation.
  • Cool down before bed with a swim or shower.
Table, Stand and Tower Fans

Small electric table fans, either the stationary type or the oscillating models, may be all you need to circulate and cool the air in your den, guest room or personal workspace. They start as low as $10, use the least energy and are so economical you can place one in practically every room in the house.

Storing is easy since they take little space, and these would also be compact enough for a recreational vehicle. My preference generally would be the oscillating type, but I do have a couple of small stationary fans that can easily sit on the windowsill to draw in cooler outside air and are sufficient for small rooms.

Stand models are extremely handy since you can position them anywhere there is an electrical outlet with no table required. Tower fans are usually positioned on the floor and provide excellent air movement.

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Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a great lighting and decorating accent and can easily become a room's focal point. But their biggest benefit is the cooling potential during hot weather, and ability to circulate warm air during the colder season. This reversing of blade motion involves only a switch or button selection. Read about correct blade rotation for summer cooling in Which Way Should the Ceiling Fan Rotate?.

You can purchase ceiling fans with or without light fixtures. They generally use the same installation principles as changing a ceiling light fixture. However, there are some things like space requirements that need to be considered before buying a ceiling fan. See Ceiling Fans Can Provide Cooling Benefits for more information.

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Window Air Conditioners

A practical solution to cooling a single room such as a bedroom or living room, to make it more comfortable during hot humid evenings. A window air conditioner can be easily installed into a window opening and be plugged into an outlet nearby. You should take the measurements and style of window opening with you when you shop, to ensure your purchase will fit properly.

Always buy an airconditioner that is rated for the room area you are placing it in. Window air conditioners can easily be removed and taken with you if you relocate to another home.

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Built-in Wall Air Conditioners

These units compare closely to window units in size, performance and price. However, these are built-in models that require wiring and custom installation directly through an exterior wall and this type of permanent installation is not recommended unless you own your home.

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Portable Air Conditioners

Portable air conditioners are cooling units that do not require breaking into a wall or reconfiguring a window. They do however, need a window nearby where the flexible hose can be positioned for the unit to operate properly. Many portable air conditioners are multi-tasked, adding to their versatility by providing other air quality functions. Read about the benefits of these units in Portable Multi-Function Cooling Units.

Portable air conditioners can be used in any rooms that have accessible windows, and are especially suited for apartments or rental homes where installing wall, window or central units is not an available option. Multi-function and portability are generally why these units are more expensive than window or wall air conditioners.

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Central Air Conditioning & Cooling Systems

These whole home cooling systems require specific manufacturer recommended installations which involve ducting and wiring considerations. They are more expensive but may be the best solution in warm climates if you own your home. Ideally, these are best installed when a house is newly built or under renovations, but may still be an option depending on your home’s layout and structure.

These units will increase your energy costs, but adjusting the thermostat a couple of degrees higher will probably not be noticeable, but will result is significant energy savings. Consulting cooling professionals is strongly recommended, in order to know which type is best suited for your climate and home.

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