What Should You Do If Your AC Isn't Powerful Enough to Cool Your Home?

Lawrence Kim

If you have an AC that is too small to keep your entire house cool, the ideal solution is to trade it in for a new, more powerful model that will cool your whole home comfortably. However, putting in a new HVAC system and possibly adding ducts to your home can be costly. If you're not ready to make that jump right now, there are more affordable things you can do in the meantime. Take a look at these ideas:

1. Close off rooms.

If you have a small window or wall unit, don't let it try to cool the entire home. If you do, it will need to run virtually all the time, driving up your energy bills. Instead, close off the room where the AC is, and let that room be your respite from the heat. To make it easier, you may want to move around your rooms and have a different arrangement for the summer.

For example, if your living room has the AC, considering moving the beds out to that room so that you can have a giant family sleepover until fall brings cooler temps. Alternatively, if the window or wall unit is in your bedroom, set up a couch and TV in there so that you can spend more time in that cool part of your home.

2. Move thermostat.

If your AC unit is connected to a thermostat, make sure that the thermostat is positioned appropriately. For example, if your AC is in a big room, but it only has the power to cool half the room, move the thermostat over to the cool part of the room. If you leave the thermostat in the area that doesn't have any access to cool air, it will constantly register as hot, and it will send the signal to your air conditioning to keep running, which wastes energy.

3.  Add ductless units or portable ACs to hot rooms.

If you are aren't ready to invest in a whole new HVAC system, there are cheaper alternatives such as ductless units and portable ACs. Ductless units can be attached to a wall, and they have a very small compressor that goes on the outside of the wall. These units are ideal for creating individual cooling zones in basements, spare bedrooms, extensions or other areas.

4. Support air conditioner with other cooling methods.

In addition to the ideas above, you can also give your air conditioner a bit of help by supporting it with other types of cooling devices. In particular, consider adding more ceiling fans to your home to help circulate the cool air. Also, if the temperatures cool down in the evening, open windows in areas that are not getting cooled by the AC. Then, when the temps start to rise in the morning, close the windows to trap the cool air in.