Many Cape Cod homes do not have any form of air conditioning. Their owners feel it is an unnecessary extra cost. They’ll say things like, “People come to the Cape in the summer for the cooling sea breezes. Who needs air conditioning?”

You can rationalize all you want, but the fact is that most families vacationing in a private Cape Cod vacation home on the Cape in the summer want and expect air conditioning in some form. In fact, our rough estimate is that for 50% or more of the hundreds of vacationers we talk to each year, a property without air conditioning is a non-starter. Just so you know.

Maybe it’s because today’s generation of young parents are coddled and spoiled. Or maybe it’s just because they grew up with air conditioning and don’t see the point of paying thousands of dollars for a summer vacation home, and then being uncomfortable in hot, sticky conditions.

One of our best rental properties, right on the beach, is a four bedroom home without a.c. – at least it was without a.c. last summer during our little July heat wave. The guest in residence that week called one day to report that the temperature in the living room was over 90 degrees! That’s just not fun. The owner has since installed central a.c. so summer 2017 will not be nearly so sultry in that house.

Once you accept that you need air conditioning, you have options and you’ll have questions. We think most of them can be answered by clicking on one of the following links:

Good, simple explanation of the different air conditioning options

Scientific American re: energy efficiency, BTUs needed for a given space, etc. A bit more technical than some will want, but very informative.

Improve home cooling with window air conditioning tricks.  Ingenious!

Oh, and if you’re concerned that your rental guests will be careless with air conditioning and do things like leave it on when the doors and windows are left open.  Well, if the bad news is that most guests are used to having a.c. and therefore expect it in their summer rental, the good news is that most guests are used to having a.c. and therefore typically use it properly and judiciously.  Our experience is that owners’ energy bills do not increase as much as they may have expected once the house is air conditioned.

One last piece of advice if you do have air conditioning: have the system (or if you have window units, have them) checked out and test driven by a reliable air conditioning technician before the rental season begins. Our experience is that guests get rather cranky when the a.c. goes down, it’s really hot and muggy, and the soonest a tech can get there is a week from next Tuesday. Which is what can happen if you need a tech visit in the busy summer season. So do it in the spring. As usual, preventive maintenance is the key.