I have no central air. My house gets hot. The only place for any relief is the cool-cool basement, which can be unbearable when certain people start burning food and the smell seeps through the walls. I’ve discovered that keeping the shades closed and the curtains drawn helps a bit, but it’s nothing like cold air being blow through.
So I have window units that for most of the year sit in the basement and have to be lugged up the stairs by some guy I’ve batted my eyes at, or someone’s husband who’ve I borrowed (no eye batting needed, just a deal made with spouse). If I have 3 of them going, 2 upstairs and 1 big one on the first floor, the house is bearable. Of course, it helps to go outside for a moment, then run back in, so the difference is noticeable and very much appreciated. The house will never, ever get ice cold, but I can sit without the danger of heat stroke.
I keep saying whenever I redo the house, I’m putting in some sort of air system. The problem is, is that I don’t want to rip out the radiators, ’cause I love the radiators. So no central air, because the logical thing would be to rip out the radiators if I did that. Spacpak, has been mentioned, but it ain’t cheap, from what I’ve been told. The good thing about Spacepak is that it can be run through crawlspaces and doesn’t need to be boxed in. Another option is Mr. Slim. I saw a unit in the basement of one open house and was curious and looked it up. I have a small house so I don’t need a big system. Also I tend not to hang out on my top floors for most of the day. Most of the time I’m hanging out on the 1st level, in the kitchen or watching TV in the living room.
Also my house isn’t that big. According to the city I have about 1,000 feet of living space, I don’t think they counted the basement. So I don’t need a really complicated system, and if window units weren’t such a pain to store and lug up and down the stairs I’d stick with them. And the 3 units that I paid less than $100 for each (1 free from co-worker, 1 bought from store, 1 bought used for $50) really doesn’t put me in the mood to spend $12,000 for a cooling system I’ll only use 3 months out of the year.