Attic Fan/Whole House Fan
This is an old idea, but it works. You install the fan on the second level, or first level if you have a ranch. They suck air through the open windows and doors and move hot air into the attic. Ideally, you run the fan at night or morning when the temperature is lower. You will cool down your home and be less dependent on the AC system. These fans can easily be installed as DIY, or any handyman can install an attic fan relatively inexpensively. If you have allergies, don’t do it. The major downside to these fans is the extra pollen and allergens sucked into your home. But, if you’re one of the lucky folks without allergies this is a cheap way to cool your home, they use mush less (up to 90% less) energy than your AC units. They even have solar powered attics fans now for even greater energy savings.
Portable AC Units
Portable units can help cool down the room you’re in the most, likely the bedroom. However, they do use more power than standard AC units, but if you’re cooling a much smaller space it will still save money. Make sure not to overuse these units, but if you can depend less on your AC unit it’s worth doing.
Ductless AC Unit
Similar advantages to the portable units, but a more permanent solution. These units install the way the name suggests, without duct work. Meaning they can be added to specific rooms after construction. They are a little more involved, but here’s a great video explaining the installation. Or, if you’re not comfortable hire an HVAC professional or Handyman.
Permanent Window Unit
Window units are annoying, they look bad and take up a window. However, you can frame window unit into a wall. Doing so means you don’t have to move it in and out of the window every year and it looks better. Basically the unit is framed in during construction just like a window would be. You may not want this in your house, but for a guest house, shed, garage, it makes for an inexpensive fix.
This is a little more involved, but installing a ventilator fan is a good way to use your cool air more efficiently. The fans install in your warmer rooms and pull more cool air in. So if your house stays pretty consistent except for one room this is a better solution than turning down the air in the whole house to address the warm room. Even is the room is not warm, but you would prefer it was colder than the rest this is a good solution. Installation is a little more involved, so if you’re not handy you should hire help.
Running the AC can be expensive and energy wasteful. Take some time to think about the rooms you want to be cool, maybe you can do without the whole house being the same temperature. For most folks, keeping the bedroom cool is the main concern. Implement one of the ideas above for keeping the bedroom cold and the rest of the house a little warmer. Even a few degrees warmer makes a big difference over an entire summer. Most of these are great DIY projects too, so you won’t need to spend a ton of money.