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Home Cooling

Although your first thought for cooling may be air conditioning, there are many alternatives that provide cooling with less energy use. You might also consider fans, evaporative coolers, or heat pumps as your primary means of cooling. In addition, a combination of proper insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, daylighting, shading, and ventilation will usually keep homes cool with a low amount of energy use in all but the hottest climates. Although ventilation is not an effective cooling strategy in hot, humid climates, the other approaches can significantly reduce the need to use air conditioning.

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Principles of Heating and Cooling
To heat and cool your house efficiently, it is important to know how heat transfers to and from objects. | Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/kryzanek.

Understanding how your home and body heat up can help you stay cool.

Natural Ventilation
Opening a window is a simple natural ventilation strategy. | Credit: ©iStockphoto/Simotion

Natural ventilation is most effective in climates with cool nights and regular breezes.

Fans for Cooling
Ceiling fans circulate air in a room to help keep occupants cool. | Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/jimkruger

In many parts of the country, well-placed fans are sufficient to maintain comfort during the cooling season.

Evaporative Coolers
Evaporative Coolers, sometimes called swamp coolers, is another way to cool air in warm climates with low humidity. | Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/free-stock/">Public Domain Photos</a>.

In warm climates with low humidity, evaporative coolers can be a cost-effective cooling strategy.

Air Conditioning
Air conditioners cost U.S. homeowners more than $11 billion each year, and regular maintenance can keep your air conditioner running efficiently. | Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/JaniceRichard

Air conditioners work much like a refrigerator, transferring heat from the interior of your home to the outside.

Radiant Cooling

Although effective in some circumstances, radiant cooling is uncommon in the United States.