This won’t be an option for everyone, but installing a whole house fan can cool your whole home at a fraction of the cost of central air. They’re cheaper to operate than multiple AC units, and the upfront installation costs aren’t too bad. Unfortunately they don’t dehumidify the air, and they can’t cool it any lower than the temperature outdoors. If your summers are hot and dry during the day but cool and dry overnight, though, a whole house fan could be just the ticket.
This story was originally published on June 25, 2016 and was updated on June 25, 2019 to provide more thorough and current information. It was updated again on June 3rd, 2021 to reflect Lifehacker’s current style guidelines, along with new photos and updated links.