Welcome to the cooling section of the website that includes a range of articles dedicated to explaining, informing and advising ways to keep cool in hot weather indoors and out.
By far the most attention will of course be placed on cooling the interior of buildings of some description. That can include your home or place of work as well as outbuildings such as the garage, garden shed or workshop for example.
For most people, being able to keep their homes cool during the heat of summer is a major concern. Not only achieving a comfortable indoor temperature throughout the day and night, but doing so effectively, reliably and economically.
Let's take a look at the main options for keeping things cool inside when it gets really hot outside.
Easily the most popular way of maintaining a comfortable internal temperature is with an air conditioning system of some description.
There are a number of variations in this type of cooling solution that I'll touch on briefly here, then expand upon in the articles associated with this category in the website.
Central Air and Heating (HVAC)
A popular choice for larger dwellings is a central air system that both keeps things cool in summer and warm in winter.
Central air, or Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems as they're commonly known are certainly effective and reliable, but they're not always as economical to run as we'd like. This has become more pronounced in recent years as electricity prices have risen substantially.
The ambient temperature in the home is controlled by a central thermostat that regulates the level for the whole home.
While relatively simple in terms of usage, this can also be wasteful of energy because it means that rooms that are unoccupied are cooled (or heated) anyway, benefiting nobody but the power company!
Zoned Mini Split Air Conditioning
This type of distributed system can be more economical than a central air setup because individual units are installed in each room and are likewise individually controlled, usually by a remote.
They work by installing the compressor unit that provides the cold air inside the room, with the condenser unit located outside the building, connected via internal ducting to each compressor unit to allow the venting of hot, moist air to the outside.
There are single one-to-one systems and also multiple systems where two or more indoor compressor units connect to a larger single condenser unit outside.
While providing a perfectly effective and reliable means of keeping things comfortably cool indoors, this type of system saves energy because units can be simply turned off in rooms that are unoccupied.
Window, PTAC and VTAC Air Conditioning
Less expensive to buy and install than either central or zoned air conditioning, these individual units can be installed on a room by room basis just like mini-split AC units.
The difference is that each of these types of air conditioner is a self-contained unit. This means both the compressor and condenser are inside a single unit that is installed either in a window opening (in the case of window AC units) or through an exterior wall (for PTAC and VTAC units).
Window AC units generally work out the cheapest to buy and are more popular in smaller domestic houses and apartments. PTAC (Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner) units are often seen in hotel or motel rooms installed beneath a window and VTAC (Vertical Terminal Air Conditioner) units are designed to be installed inside a suitable closet or enclosed space and are again commonly found in hotels and other public buildings.
Since these coolers are enclosed in a single unit, their manufacturing and installation costs are lower but they must be installed on an external wall (or window) to allow the hot air to escape to the outside.
Portable Air Conditioning
The last main type of air conditioning solution is the portable air conditioner that does not need to be permanently installed in any one space and therefore can be moved from one room to another as needed.
This cooling solution is popular especially in smaller homes and apartments where window units are not allowed, usually due to building regulations.
Hot Air Venting
To vent hot air, portable units have a flexible hose that attaches to a slim window vent that is semi-permanently installed in a suitable window. As several of these can be installed around a home, portable units represent the most economical way to purchase air conditioning as only one unit can be bought to be used on a per-room as needed basis and simply be hooked up to the window vent in that room.
The major disadvantage of air conditioning in all its forms is that it is costly to run, with even the smallest portable units requiring a minimum of 1,000 watts of electricity on the lowest setting, with larger devices drawing up yo 3,000 watts and beyond.
There is, however a much more economical form of cooling that doesn't require quite so much power to provide a useful form of air cooling.
Evaporative Air Cooling
These are also known as swamp coolers because they produce cold air by evaporating moisture in much the same way as a person's skin feels cool as they perspire in a breeze.
Using nothing more than a fan and sometimes a small pump to draw the water up to soak the cooling medium, very little electricity is needed to run them, with a general draw of 100-200 watts being common.
Swamp coolers have no compressor or refrigerant and therefore produce no hot air, meaning that they require no venting or fixed installation near an external wall.
The major disadvantage of evaporative coolers is they do not work well in humid conditions. This is explained in a separate article covering this type of cooling solution in more depth.
There are a number of options available to a homeowner or business premises owner for maintaining a cool and comfortable internal atmosphere during the hot weather period of the year.
Each type is covered in much more detail in its own informational article and you will find the titles below that are clickable to open the relevant pages and read them.
- Air Conditioning and Electricity Bills
- Single vs Dual Hose Portable Air Conditioners
- How Auto Evaporating Portable Air Conditioners Work
- Should a Portable Air Conditioner be Vented Through a Window?
- Air Conditioning Systems
- How Well do Ventless Air Conditioners Work?
- How Effective are Evaporative Coolers?