What Are My Options If I Can't Install a Central AC?

by Team eLocal
mini split air conditioner outside

Tired of sweating through the summer without air conditioning? Installing central air if you don't already have an existing system can be costly — and it might even be logistically impossible, depending on the layout and age of your home.

Read More Heating and Cooling Articles

Alternative air conditioner options can offer relief from sweltering temperatures. Consider the pros and cons of these alternative cooling options.

Evaporative Coolers and Swamp Coolers

Evaporative coolers are usually installed on the roof. They draw in warm air, which passes over water-soaked pads. The water evaporates into the air, making it feel cooler.

Pros for this option include:

  • Energy efficiency: Evaporative coolers use less energy than many other air conditioner options.
  • Dust reduction: The filters can trap some dust and pollen, which can help improve air quality.
  • Fresh air: While other air conditioning options recycle air, evaporative coolers bring in fresh air from outside.

Potential cons to consider include:

  • Limited cooling: They typically only lower the temperature by about 20 degrees, so they might not help as much in hot climates.
  • Added humidity: If you live in an already-humid climate, swamp coolers will add more humidity. They're best in dry climates.
  • Increased maintenance: You have to change the pads and clean the unit, so it takes a little more work than other options.

A combination of floor and ceiling fans can keep you cool from different angles. Unlike other options, fans don't cool the air. They circulate it to make you feel cooler.

Potential benefits include:

  • Portability: Floor fans are highly portable, so you can use them where you need them.
  • Easy to use: For portable fans, all you need to do is plug them in and turn them on. You don't have to worry about installing them.
  • Inexpensive: Floor fans are usually the cheapest option for cooling, so you can pick up several of them for different rooms.

Fans have some disadvantages, including:

  • Lack of cooling: Because fans just circulate the air instead of cooling it, your home often won't feel very comfortable on extremely hot days.
  • Noise: Box fans and floor fans are often noisy to operate. Ceiling fans tend to be quieter.
  • A limited range: Fans typically only cool a small area. You'll likely only feel cooler if you're sitting in front of the fan.

Window Air Conditioner Unit

Window air conditioners are box-like units that fit into a window. You can also get versions that go through an exterior wall and stay in place year-round.

Benefits of this option include:

  • Saving on floor space: Because the unit goes in the window, you don't lose any floor space.
  • Energy efficiency: Window units are typically an energy-efficient cooling option to keep you cool without high utility bills.
  • Being more cost-effective: A window air conditioner is typically one of the least expensive options.

Potential drawbacks include:

  • Blocking a window: Window units sit in the bottom section of a window. This means you can't open the window on a mild day, and the unit blocks the view and some sunlight from the window.
  • Limited cooling: These units typically only cool one room, so you'll need one in each space you want to cool.
  • HOA issues: If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, the organization might ban window air conditioners.

More Related Articles:

Portable Air Conditioner

A portable air conditioner is a small, freestanding unit that can go in any room. They often have wheels that let you roll them to different areas. These AC units plug into a standard electrical outlet.

Some pros of portable air conditioners include:

  • Selective cooling: You can choose to cool only certain rooms instead of cooling the whole house if you don't use all the rooms.
  • Various temperature options: If you have multiple portable units, you can select different temperatures for each room.
  • Portability: Because it's portable, you can move it to different rooms to meet your changing needs.

Some cons of this option include:

  • Venting: Portable units need to be vented outdoors, usually through a window.
  • Limited cooling: This option typically only cools one room, so you'll need multiple units or only have one room cooled.
  • Being less energy efficient: Portable units typically use a little more energy than window units.
  • A slightly higher cost. When compared to window units, portable air conditioners typically cost a little more.

Mini-Split AC

Also known as a ductless air conditioner, a mini-split system is similar to a central air conditioner but without ductwork. The system has an outdoor condenser and indoor evaporator units. The indoor unit typically mounts to the wall near the ceiling.

Perks of a mini-split system include:

  • Quiet operation: Compared to window and portable air conditioner units, a mini-split is often quieter because the condenser is outside.
  • Controlled cooling: Each evaporator cools a specific zone, which gives you more control over which parts of the house you cool instead of cooling everything.
  • Flexibility: You can decide how many evaporator units you want inside your house based on how many zones you want to cool.

Negatives to consider are:

  • Higher cost: Compared to other air conditioning alternatives, mini-split systems are often much more expensive.
  • Professional installation: You'll need to have a professional install a mini-split AC, which adds to the cost.
  • Appearance: Because this option requires the evaporator to be mounted in the room, some people might not find it aesthetically pleasing, especially compared to the much smaller vents of a central air system.

Finding the best alternative air conditioner for your home comes down to your budget and preferences. Look at the pros and cons of each to decide which is the best for you.

Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. Systems, equipment, issues and circumstances vary. Follow the manufacturer's safety precautions. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of the Blog is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of eLocal Editorial Content is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

Click to Call A ProQuick, easy, and commitment-free connection. Call now! (888) 284-6285