If you look at real estate in Hawaii, you’ll notice that there are plenty of homes that don’t have air conditioning.
Heat and humidity being as high as it is would make you think that air conditioning is necessary to stay comfortable.
At least, that’s how it is on the mainland. You wouldn’t dream of owning a home in the tropics if it didn’t have air conditioning, but it’s not always like that in Hawaii.
Here’s the scoop about why you may or may not need air conditioning in your island home.
Single Wall Plantation Homes
Older homes in Hawaii are built as single wall plantation houses, and so are designed for proper ventilation.
Single wall plantation homes have windows on opposite sides to the trade winds can work as a natural source of cooling, as do the post and pier foundations.
In these older homes, air conditioning isn’t as needed, but it would be a nice-to-have amenity. Do keep in mind, though, that the old homes are purposely not sealed the same way newer homes are, so it would take monstrous amounts of electricity to maintain a cooler temperature.
Mainland Style Homes
Newer homes that are built in more of a mainland style don’t have the ventilation that the older homes do, and so to stay comfortable, air conditioning is a must.
Sealed houses make it nearly impossible to get a crosswind moving through the house to keep the inside cool.
Ceiling fans help to circulate the air, but the truth of the matter is that to stay even moderately cool, an air conditioning unit is going to be a good idea.
Your Location Matters
In case you couldn’t tell, the location of your home also makes a difference as to whether or not you should have an air conditioning unit.
The elevation makes a considerable difference as to how your house will cool even if it is built in an older plantation style.
Some neighborhoods are hotter no matter how the ventilation is designed, so in these areas, air conditioning is a must, even with temperatures in the mid-80s regularly.
A Few Final Thoughts on Air Conditioning
Energy is expensive in Hawaii with costs for electricity so high that most people can’t afford to take advantage of air conditioning. You’ll want to check in your area for your local rates.
You don’t have to go with central air conditioning either. While that is the most popular choice on the mainland, you could consider going with a split AC unit to take care of the most popular rooms.
Something else to think about is the possibility of how you see temperatures. If 85 degrees with high humidity are hot to you, then you probably want to have an air conditioner.
On the other hand, if you prefer warmer climates and don’t mind the heat, then you may not need an AC at all.