Cooling Your Home

Tips and information to minimize your energy costs and help you relax in comfort this summer.

Ventilation: an Easy, Low-Cost Way to Cool Your Home

Before buying a new air conditioner or upgrading your cooling equipment, consider reducing the need for mechanical air conditioning in the first place. When the weather is warm, there are a few ways to keep cool that use much less energy than room or central air conditioners.

4 Tips to Stay Cool Using Ventilation

  1. On a breezy day, cool your home by opening up your windows. The wind will create a “chimney effect,” drawing air in through the windows and creating a cross-breeze.
  2. Open your windows and use a fan to pull cool air indoors at night. Nighttime air is cooler outdoors than it is in your home. During the day close your windows and draw your window coverings to keep the cool air inside.
  3. Use room fans to create a breeze that will keep you cool and comfortable. Fans come in a variety of options, including ENERGY STAR® certified ceiling, table, floor, and wall-mounted. Don’t forget to shut the fan off when you leave the room, though. Despite what the name suggests, room fans cool people, not rooms.
  4. Use your bath fan to remove heat and moisture generated by showers. Also, if your kitchen range hood fan exhausts to the outdoors, use it to remove hot air while cooking.

Cooling Systems

When fresh Vermont air is not enough, there are ways to minimize energy use with your cooling choices.

Factors to consider when choosing the best option for your cooling needs:

The size and layout of your home
How air-tight your home is
Your personal comfort preferences
Weather variances

Individual energy savings will vary depending on these factors. We recommend contacting a qualified heating and cooling contractor to best estimate the savings for installing or upgrading mechanical air conditioning systems.

Home Air Conditioning Comparisons

  Central (Ducted) Mini Split (Ductless) Room

These units circulate cool, conditioned air through your home using a system of ducts and registers.

Provides even cooling throughout the home.

Highly efficient and can provide heating and cooling.

Operation of units is very quiet.

No seasonal installation/removal.

Much more efficient than traditional room AC.

ENERGY STAR qualified room air conditioners use 10-20% less energy than conventional models.

Provide spot cooling and can be either window or portable units, providing cooling to select spaces.

Lifespan 15-20 years 12-15 years 10-15 years
Offers &

No current offer available

Up to $400 discount at participating distributors

No current offer available


Can be cost-effective for homes that already have a ducted central heating system installed.

Can be expensive if you do not already have duct work.

Requires professional installation.

A mini split unit can be a good alternative to central AC in Vermont. These units also provide efficient heating.

These units are most effective in a home with an open floor plan.

Requires professional installation.

Look for ENERGY STAR models and choose the smallest ENERGY STAR certified unit for the size of the room.

Does not require professional installation.

Choosing the Right Size Room Air Conditioner

An air conditioner that is too large for a room is less effective at removing humidity from the air and costs more to operate.

Choose the smallest ENERGY STAR certified unit for the size of the room.

Room Size
sq. ft.
Air Conditioner Size
100-150 5,000
150-250 6,000
250-300 7,000
300-350 8,000
350-400 9,000
Room Size
sq. ft.
Air Conditioner Size
400-450 10,000
450-550 12,000
550-700 14,000
700-1000 18,000

Low- and No-Cost Tips to Keep Cool and Reduce Energy Use

  • Delay heat-producing tasks: such as washing dishes until cooler evening or early morning hours.
  • Caulk around window and door frames; use weather stripping on exterior doors and windows.
  • Use energy-efficient lighting: LEDs operate cooler and cost you less to use.
  • Fill gaps along the sides of room air conditioners to keep outside air from leaking in.
  • Clean air conditioner filters on a regular basis. Keep the front and back of units unobstructed.
  • To block heat and sunlight, plant shade trees on the east and west sides of your home.
  • Improve window efficiency: Most windows can be repaired to perform as well as new ones, but at a fraction of the cost.
  • Lower shades during the day to reduce solar heat gain and the need for cooling.

Cut air leaks and add insulation to reduce heating and cooling needs.

Consider air sealing and adding insulation to improve the energy efficiency of your home. In Vermont, incentives are available for completing a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR project.

Learn more about insulation and air sealing.