Air conditioning is one of the comforts of the modern world. But what do you do when your air conditioner breaks down and you can’t afford to fix it? Here are some cheap alternatives for home and car air conditioners, as well as some tips for troubleshooting a broken system.

Cheap alternatives to home air conditioning

There is no replacement for a functional home or car air conditioning system, just like replacements for car heaters are often in short supply . However, depending on where you live, there are some things you can try to get some relief from the heat without air conditioning.

Keep your home as cool as possible

If your air conditioner isn’t working, the most effective thing you can do to keep yourself warm is to keep your home from overheating. Follow these tips to keep your core temperature under control.

  • Don’t add extra heat to your home : Avoid using ovens, incandescent lamps, and other heat-dissipating devices. Keep the refrigerator closed as far as possible, as refrigerators work drawing heat into the house to keep the interior cool.
  • Keep the curtains down : Although bright sunlight and blue skies can cheer you up, the sun coming through open windows can raise the temperature inside your home.
  • Use solar screens or window films . If you want curtains to be open, buy screens or films that allow light to pass through without heat transfer.

Use fan

Fans are a great source of relief when you don’t have air conditioning. Fans don’t actively cool the air, they just move it around the room. However, fans are cheaper and use less energy than air conditioners.

If the humidity in your area is low, take a fan. It won’t do much good in sweltering climates and it can make things worse. If you live in an arid environment, a fogger might be helpful.

Use an evaporative cooler

If the humidity is low enough, an evaporative cooler is an effective alternative to a base air conditioner. Under the right conditions, an evaporative cooler lowers the room temperature by several degrees. Evaporative coolers are not as efficient as real air conditioners, but more efficient than using fans alone.

Quick air conditioning solutions for your home

Hiring an HVAC professional is the surest way to fix a problem with any air conditioning system. However, before calling a repair technician, check out these troubleshooting tips.

The air conditioner does not turn on:

  • Make sure the thermostat is set to cool : lower the thermostat. If you have sophisticated digital thermostat check the manual.
  • Check if the condensing unit is noisy from the outside : if the capacitor is making noise but the fan is not spinning, it could be a bad capacitor .
  • Check circuit breaker and fuses . If the air conditioner does not turn on at all, open the circuit breaker and check if the fuse corresponding to the air conditioner unit is blown. If so, replace it with a new fuse. If everything looks good, call a professional.

The air conditioner works but does not blow out cold air:

  • Check for blockages in the condenser : After turning off the air conditioner, go outside and check the condensing unit. Look inside to see if debris has gotten in and remove leaves and weeds that have gathered around the block. Remove anything that might block airflow into or out of the device.
  • Check air conditioner filter : If the filter is clogged, the system will struggle to draw in enough air.

The air conditioner blows cold air but does not provide sufficient cooling:

  • The device may not be large enough for your home Note: If you are running the air conditioner for the first time, the air conditioner unit may not be suitable for your home.
  • The device may require professional repair A: If the air conditioner is properly sized but cannot maintain an indoor temperature that is 20 to 25 degrees lower than the outdoor temperature, it may require professional attention.

Cheap alternatives to car air conditioning

Here are some workarounds if your car’s air conditioning system is broken.

open the window

There is a myth that says it’s cheaper to roll up windows than run an air conditioner because it creates drag. But this is not necessarily true. When driving on surface streets, roll down your windows to keep them cool without using up a lot of gas. Driving on the highway with the window down creates more drag and, as a result, uses more gas.

Compare the risks and benefits of repair versus buying a new air conditioner on a case-by-case basis.

Use an evaporative cooler

If you live in an area with low humidity, such as the US Southwest, purchase evaporative cooler . These devices have been known as swamp coolers for many years and were installed on the passenger windows of cars like tiny jet turbines.

swamp coolers work through evaporative cooling. These coolers rely on the evaporation of water to remove heat from the surrounding air, leaving it cold inside. The disadvantage is that they do not work well in humid climates.

You can buy a tiny 12V evaporative cooler or build one with an ice chest and a fan. If you’re building one with a fan, pour ice into an ice chest when you want to use it.

Place wet rags on the vents

If you want to simulate the effects of an evaporative cooler without buying one, throw a wet rag over your dashboard. It’s not the most efficient way to cool a car’s interior, but it’s better than nothing.

Quick Fixes for Your Car Air Conditioning

If your car’s air conditioning system is not working, there are a number of things that could be wrong. Here are some troubleshooting tips for your situation.

Hand pressing the AC button in a car
Stephen Shepard / Photo Library / Getty Images

The air conditioner blows cold air, but not cold enough:

The air conditioner turns on but does not blow cold air:

The air conditioner does not turn on at all:

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