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You don't need duct work – or even a window – to keep your home cool this summer.

Portable room air conditioners can be moved into whichever room needs to be cooled. This type of unit isn't intended for window or wall installation; instead, it sits on the floor and can be rolled from room to room on casters. Some of these portables eject condenser heat into a tank of water inside the cabinet. The only thing you need to do is occasionally replenish the unit with cold water.

Don't despair if you have your heart set on central air conditioning systems are specifically designed for homes without air-distribution systems. They use small-diameter air ducts that lend themselves to retrofit installation. To compensate for the smaller-diameter ducts, they require a special high-pressure air-distribution fan to cool all areas of your home.

Another option is a multi-split system. This type of system can include up to three indoor evaporator units that are connected to a single condenser section outdoors. This enables three separate areas of a home to be cooled independently. With this system, it's generally easier to retrofit refrigerant lines and to control wiring than it is to install an air-distribution system.

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