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Why Don’t a lot of Homes in Hawaii Have Air Conditioning?

One question that is often asked particularly by Mainland buyers is, “Why are there so many houses in Hawaii that don’t have air conditioning?” On an island with a climate that is hot almost year round, this doesn’t seem to make much sense. There are, however, two understandable reasons for this.

Design. First, many of the homes without A/C were built prior to the 1950’s. Following the post-war economic boom, air conditioning installation became common practice. However, prior to this, it was almost non existent. In Hawaii, the plantation style homes unique to the islands were built to be able to ventilate and cool themselves naturally. The jalousies or slanted windows common in most homes here are not only an architectural nuance, they also promote airflow, utilizing trade winds to keep homes cool. Newer homes that are built without A/C tend to not have jalousies primarily due to personal preference.

Price. Many newer homes are built with multiple ceiling fans as it costs much less than installing A/C. Installing central A/C for a 2,000 sqft home can cost around $3,500-4,000. Including the cost of electricity at 45c/KWH, it definitely adds up. The option that is most common is split A/C, which allows separate A/C units to be installed in a select amount of rooms and are able to be controlled individually.

More Information

Whatever option you decide to look for in your new home, there are many different options out there to fit your preference and financial needs so you can be comfortable. With summer approaching, I hope that everyone finds different ways to keep cool. If you would like more information on the Hawaii lifestyle, or are interested in Oahu real estate opportunities, please contact me.

About the Author

Alexander Fudge

Alexander Fudge is a REALTOR Associate with Hawai'i Life. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Hawaii has been my home for 5 years now. With my wonderful wife, 2 young kids, 3 dogs and a cat my feet are firmly set in Honolulu. Having lived in Sydney, London and New York, Hawaii is by far the most beautiful place to call home and it also has the kindest people!. Prior to moving to Hawaii I was involved in the Art World, both as an artist and as a gallerist buying and selling art for my clients. My understanding of their unique needs, not to mention desire for discretion and privacy have followed me into the real estate services I am able to provide here at Hawaii Life. It's important for me to get to know each client well so that I may best help them take their next step in buying, or selling property, and that the process in smooth and easy along the way. I enjoy triathlons, running, SUP, surfing and hiking, as well as walking our dogs on the beach. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 344-8240.

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