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With a blistering summer on the way, it’s time to look at your different air conditioning and air circulation needs. The first thing my Alaskan friends and family always say when I bring up air conditioning is that, “We live in Alaska! We don’t need air conditioning!” But then I remember the family gatherings at my aunt’s house and how we nearly died last summer. We were sweating inside the house and being eaten alive outside the house.

But will ceiling fans be enough to make the inside bearable? Do you need a full blown air conditioning unit? And do you even need an electrician?

Well, there are a lot of options that don’t need an electrician or a HVAC guy. Take a look at some of your options.  

Box Fans

The cheapest option, of course, is a floor or box fan. Those work for small locations, but tend to work best for a direct space, even if they swivel in place. The problem is that they blow directly on you, which is sometimes great, but gets annoying after a while. I have one in my office, but I can’t have it blow directly on me because it dries out my eyes.

This is always a great solution if you have a specific area that needs relief, and you have the space available to have the fan. But if you’re short on space or if you want a different air flow, then a floor fan really isn’t an option.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are great for moving air in a larger space without blowing directly on you. As we know, when the air is hot outside, we close the house to keep the cooler air in. But non-moving air just feels hot.

One ceiling fan in the house might not be enough. You might need to have a ceiling fan in multiple rooms to keep the air circulating effectively. See our post later this week on how to size a ceiling fan for the space.
This is usually a cost-effective way to cool a larger space.

Compare whether you need an air conditioner or a swamp cooler in your home.

Swamp or Evaporative Coolers

When I first brought up the idea of a swamp cooler, each Alaskan native I talked to gave me this weird look like I was speaking a foreign language and they each asked me why I would want to “plug in” an ice bucket. It took a bit for me to get what they were saying. During hot summer weeks, they would get a bucket of ice and a box fan and cool the room that way. Once they said that, I remembered doing that as a kid.

However, there are these new fangle things called swamp coolers you can stick in a window, plug into a regular power outlet, hook a drip line to, and just turn on the coolness. They’re neat and they’re sold in Alaska. Last year, they were in Home Depot and Lowes for less than a week. I’m not even kidding.  There are a few things you need to know about swamp coolers though.

  • Swamp coolers have to be installed and taken down every year.
  • The window needs to have a vertical or horizontal slide function. If you have the casement windows (those that open outward), a swamp cooler will not work. The reason for that is the face will not fit in the casement opening.
  • They need a drip line connected to the cooler, and this can be from the outdoor water spicket.

Window Air Conditioners

There are window air conditioners and whole-house air conditioners. The window air conditioner is going to be the easiest and most cost affordable. It’s very similar to a swamp cooler, but there’s a hose option for casement windows, and it doesn’t add humidity to the home. There are a few things to consider here as well.

  • These also need to be installed and removed each year so you can close the window and cut down on drafts in the winter.
  • These can be used with any type of window.
  • They have a higher electric draw because they’re not using water to help cool the air.
  • These are great if you have to keep all of your windows closed.

Central Air Conditioners

These are super common in the Lower 48 and in office buildings. They’re easy to use and keep your home at the temperature you want. These are larger units and can be quite expensive initially. They can be mounted on the roof if your roof can structurally hold it, or it can be mounted on a pad outside your home on the ground.

They’re installed one time and only need to be routinely serviced, typically by a heating and plumbing specialist.  Some models do require a water line as they use an evaporative cooling system.

They are connected to an in-door thermostat and are centrally controlled.

Most of these units use refrigerant and come charged, but that is something you should check before you purchase.

If you’re interested in central air conditioning, we highly recommend speaking to a heating and plumbing specialist. However, you should also give your friendly, neighborhood electrician a call to look at the power requirements and to make sure your panel can handle the load. These can range anywhere from 30A to 60A draws, depending on the size.


There are a lot of different options when it comes to cooling your homes, and you don’t need specialists for all of these options. I will warn you that when spring arrives and the air-cooling supplies come to town, get them while you can. Don’t wait. They disappear quickly.

All Phase Electric can help you with anything you need electrically, but we recommend only calling us if you are adding a ceiling fan and need assistance with the installation, or if you’re adding a central air conditioning unit.

Get The Help You Need

If you would like to have an All Phase Electric certified electrician help you with your ceiling fan or breaker needs, be sure to give us a call at 907-376-1200, or you can text us at 833-221-3150.

Why choose All Phase Electric for your certified electrician residential electrical upgrades and installs?

  • Over 134 cumulative years’ experience of residential electrical installations
  • Up-front pricing. If you text your information and pictures to Frankie at 833-221-3150, she can provide you an estimate over the phone.
  • Fully trained and insured technicians.
  • Lifetime guarantee on All Phase Electric installation work.

Don’t wait until the heat is beating you! Contact us today!

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