What is the best way to cool your home when the scorching hot sun and its blazing rays of heat seem to microwave your living space while pushing your AC to its limit? I have travelled around a lot in my career and lived in many different types of homes and apartments.
Naturally, I needed to figure out the most efficient methods of cooling my home to a comfortable temperature. Air conditioners use quite a bit of energy, and if you have a small kids or pets like I do, then you understand that saving on energy is not as important as maintaining healthy temperatures for living.
Air conditioners and cooling systems come in a variety of types from your basic cooling fan to more complex cooling machines such as window air conditioners, swamp coolers, and HVAC central air systems. Obviously, with more power comes more frigid air that will circulate throughout your home, but is it always necessary? The answer depends on a couple factors like external temperature as well as humidity levels. There are efficient ways of cooling down your living conditions with just a fan, or a fan and air conditioning combination that will reduce energy consumption and save you money as a bonus.
Before we get started talking about what is the best cooling technology for you, it’s important to understand how much power you would need from an air conditioning unit to cool your home properly and efficiently.
*The general rule is an A/C unit needs 20 BTU for every square foot of space. So, if your home is 800 square feet, you would need an AC unit giving no less than 16,000 BTU.
Best A/C Options
Let’s say you have an 800 square foot apartment, but your bedroom is about 350 square feet. You may only need a small portable 7,000 BTU air conditioner or evaporator to move in between rooms and a fan to circulate the air throughout the rest of your apartment.
Another way to save on energy and provide efficient cooling to your home is with smart AC that is Wi-Fi ready. Most have features that will allow you to control it when you’re not around and even set a schedule for when you would like it to run. Get too cold in the middle of the night? You won’t have to get out of bed to turn it off. Do you work out of the house, and no one is home? You can leave the AC off most of the day and turn it on 1 hour before you arrive back home. Some smart units can even let you know the temperature, so if you have pets, you can easily monitor that your home maintains a comfortable healthy temperature while you’re away. These units may cost a bit more to buy but will save you money as these machines are more efficient and reliable than cheap air conditioners. Friedrich has a vast selection of Wi-Fi ready units that offer a range of BTU options, as well as wall air conditioners and portable 3 in 1 air conditioner, heater, and dehumidifier units.
Some of the benefits of a wall air conditioner vs conventional portable or window units are, slightly lower costs, no reinstallation for season changes, and no blocked windows or floor space. Additionally, these types of units usually offer cooling, heating, fan, and other features which makes them a more permanent option for all year around.
Honeywell is a highly recommended top brand for portable air conditioners and swamp coolers. Portable AC units are fantastic and have plenty of benefits. Of course, they’re portable, so you can use them anywhere and save energy by cooling only where you need it to. Many of Honeywell’s portable options are for indoor our outdoor use which is great for certain occasions. I personally own one that I use in my bedroom at night, instead of using my central air to cool a bunch of empty rooms.
A swamp cooler takes warm air, cools it using moisture from pushing that hot air through cooling evaporative pads and then will push that cool air from the fan into your living space. These types of cooling systems are designed to not use any chemicals that you would find in a typical A/C unit which means you’re breathing in eco-friendly, green, fresh air. Swamp coolers on average can lower the temperature by 20 degrees while purifying dust particles thus improving your air quality. Even though these are generally easy to maintain, they will need to be cleaned to avoid dirt and mildew since they do function with water. Also, it’s good to know that if outside temperatures are too hot, you may find smaller portable types of units struggling as they are not powerful enough to battle 95+ degrees of heat.
Best Fan Options and Tips
Fans are a simple science as they recirculate the air pulled through from behind the fan. One of the reasons fans work well is because they speed up the moisture evaporation process on our skin, keeping our bodies dry and cool. It is worth noting that fans don’t reduce humidity in the air and won’t work well if there is no cooler air for intake and/or temperatures are too hot. This would just recirculate hot air and actually increase the chances of illnesses related to heat. The CDC recommends not using a fan if temperatures are over 95 degrees. These drawbacks are minor and most likely account for a small % of potential use.
The most common fan that can be used instead of an air conditioner would be a window fan. You would not use this in conjunction with an air conditioner as it requires an open window. This option is great for cool sunny days where its only moderately warm outside, but the sun is baking your home. The window fan pushes cooler air from outside into your home. A strong fan will continue to push this air further and further into your home for even better circulated air. If you like fresh air or enjoy outdoor aromas like the smell of freshly cut grass, then you would really enjoy a simple window fan.
Every other type of fan, excluding window fans, can be used to enhance your air conditioning or at times alleviate the need for air conditioning. The most notable type a fan for your home is a ceiling fan which are typically strong enough to pull any cool air from you’re A/C or an open window to circulate in a specific room. Even a small portable fan or battery powered fan can often make a big difference in your room’s temperature. I have a hand held fan I clip to my work desk that cools me off and keeps my laptop from overheating when I need it to. There are many uses for fans and many creative ways that will reduce the need to run whatever air conditioning unit you have nonstop. When I lived in Chicago, every house has a sump pump that would often cause flooding when it rained too much. I quickly learned from my neighbor to buy a high velocity utility fan to dry my flooded basement when this happens. These fans are powerful and can also quickly provide a home with tons of fresh air when positioned correctly.
Sometimes the most basic of fans can work the best. Your simple pedestal fan with oscillation may be all you need. I think these are the most effective types of fans for solo use, or to combine with an air conditioner. Place it in front of an open window and oscillate fresh air from outside throughout your home or place it in a doorway to push air-conditioned cold air from one room to another. For high quality fan options for any situation, I suggest looking Lasko as it is considered one of the most popular and reliable brands.