When the summer sun starts beating down, homeowners need to use all the tools available to stay cool. We’ve put together the following list of products to help keep your favorite room cool and comfortable this season, while cutting your energy consumption and saving some money in the process.
Frigidaire FAA055P7A Window Air Conditioner
Whether or not your home has central air conditioning, a window AC unit can be a good option for keeping an area like a bedroom cool when you need it. Smaller units are energy-efficient, and work well in combination with other approaches to room cooling. They are also great for evening use with just the fan setting, to bring cooler outside air into the room.
Why It Was Chosen:
The Frigidaire FAA055P7A Window Air Conditioner is Energy Star rated, and has an EER (energy efficiency ratio) of 11.0. The compact 5,200 BTU design works well for rooms up to 165 square feet. It features a variable-speed fan, an auto-cool option, and a timer/sleep function, as well as a remote control. “Ionizer/Electrostatic Clean Air Filtration” helps remove allergens, and Low Voltage Compensation helps ensure smooth operation despite power fluctuations.
You can find the Frigidaire FAA055P7A Window Air Conditioner at Amazon for $134.79.
Unistar 4-in-1 Swamp Cooler
Portable evaporative coolers use much less electricity than air conditioners, yet they can substantially reduce the temperature in a room. Important note: certain parts of the country are better suited for evaporative coolers since the coolers work best in dry climates, and their effectiveness is reduced when ambient humidity is high.
Why It Was Chosen:
According to the manufacturer, the Unistar can reduce a room’s temperature by up to 12 degrees under optimal conditions. It features three fan speed settings and a shut-off timer, as well as a built-in ionizer to improve air quality. The Unistar is a fairly compact design (13”x 10”x 28”) with caster wheels to move it from room to room, and the unit also includes two ice packs for the water reservoir to increase cooling.
The Unistar 4-In-1 Swamp Cooler is available from Amazon for $89.99.
Hunter Bayview 5-Blade Ceiling Fan
A ceiling fan improves air circulation, which makes a warmer room feel much more comfortable. In fact, “wind chill” from a ceiling fan can make an 82-degree room feel like a much-more-reasonable 76 degrees. It will also help distribute cool air if used in conjunction with an air conditioner, allowing the AC to be set at a reduced level while achieving the same results.
Why It Was Chosen:
The Hunter Bayview 54-inch, 5-blade ceiling fan features a quiet, durable motor, and the wide palm-style blades move more air than narrower straight blades. The wobble-free mounting can be attached on level or angled ceilings. It’s also UL damp-rated for settings where moisture can be a problem.
The Hunter Bayview 5-blade ceiling fan is available from Amazon for $159.99.
Seabreeze Turbo-Aire Room Fan
Even in settings where a ceiling fan isn’t practical, a room fan will still help circulate air within a room, or it can be positioned to bring cooler fresh air in through an open window.
Why It Was Chosen:
The Seabreeze Turbo-Aire Room Fan has gotten excellent marks from a MetaEfficient editor, as well as Amazon customers. It’s quiet, and it offers three speed settings capable of moving up to 11,000 cubic feet of air per minute. The fan head rotates 90 degrees, and the 15-inch diameter design is compact enough for floor or tabletop usage.
The Seabreeze Turbo-Aire Room Fan is available for $79.95 at Amazon.
Hunter Douglas Duette Architella Honeycomb Window Shades
Keeping hot sunlight from streaming through the windows means you can reduce (or maybe even eliminate) AC usage. Plus, window shades with a honeycomb cross-section provide insulation as well as light-blocking.
Why It Was Chosen:
Hunter Douglas Duette Architella shades are some of the most energy-efficient blinds on the market. For summertime cooling, the 1.25” opaque style with a light-blocking metalized core offers maximum efficiency, and blocks 87% of solar heat (a shading coefficient of 0.13). Extra bonus: when the weather cools off again next winter, these blinds provide an insulating R-value of over 7, which is a huge improvement over a double-paned window alone. Finally, these blinds are Greenguard-certified for indoor air quality, and they can qualify homeowners for a federal tax credit of up to $1,500.
Learn more at the Hunter Douglas website.
You might also be interested in our tips for helping your entire home stay efficiently cool in the hot weather.
8 thoughts on “Efficient Summertime Room-Cooling Products”
Get a programmable thsoaretmt, and have it turn up to around 80 while you are out, and down to 75 at the lowest when you are at home. That way you are keeping the house from overheating–say it’s 100 outside, but not wasting as much energy. The energy needed to get from 80 to 75, which is usually plenty cool, is far less than from 100 to 75.Most people find 70 or 71 too chilly–unless you have a two story house and the second floor stays hotter.Be sure to keep your windows covered on hot days too. Solar heat coming through the glass can waste a lot of energy.
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My wife and I have a large family/dining/kitchen room where we spend most of our time. Last year I found a high efficiency window unit on clearance at the end of the season and installed it this spring for this large room. We keep the rest of the house at 78 during the day and use the window unit and fan to lower the temperature in this one room. So far it is working quite well. Also of note, we have been insulating the floor in this room (the attic insulation is more than sufficient) to hold the heat and cool better. I am hoping to keep our utility bills under $100 (electric everything in our house). For a 30 year old house, not too shabby on a minimal investment.
For roughly the same price as the Unistar 4 in 1 (an inexpensive version of the Cool Surge) you can purchase the Sunpentown SF-608R which doesn’t use ice packs, has a water capacity of 10 litres and throws more air.
Absolutely correct about the futility of using ice packs in the swamp cooler for the entire home, although there is an arguement for more effectively cooling a single room more quickly (say during the peak heat hours.)
By the same logic however, I think we’re overlooking that one of the most effective ways to reduce home temperature is to increase the efficiency of the refrigerators and freezers. In particular a chest fridge and a smaller volume of net refridgerated space would be very low-hanging fruit.
Shutters and awnings are also extremely effective, although the honeycomb blinds are good as well, it will always be better to block the sun closer to the sun.
I got all excited about the swamp cooler until I read that it wouldn’t work in humid conditions. I live in a high humidity area, so I guess I will stick with the A/C.
Ice packs in a swamp cooler? Silly and inefficient if you’re freezing the icepacks in your home freezer. It just wastes electricity, and makes your house even warmer.
The heat absorbed by the icepack is exactly offset by the additional heat given off by the condenser coils on your refrigerator, so you get no net benefit. Not only that, the compressor on your refrigerator gives off another 1 BTU for every 3 BTU of heat it moves (exact value depends on your refrigerator’s efficiency), so you’re spending money on electricity to HEAT your house instead of cool it.
Swamp coolers are a great idea, but skip the icepacks.