Summer is already here and whether you’re excitedly packing up the car to head to the beach or evacuating to the northern hemisphere to avoid the El Nino effect, there are still some handy tricks out there to help you keep your house cool and inviting. Obviously there are times when the heat is so oppressive that only air conditioning can provide a modicum of relief. However, the key is to keep the heat from getting in so that you don’t need to burn though fossil fuels to extract the heat with an air conditioner later. There are heaps of simple tips to help you keep your house cool this summer and here are 5 of our favourites:
1. Internal Heat:
Appliances, electronic devices and lighting all generate heat during operation. Turn of any unnecessary incandescent lights and heat generating appliances until you absolutely need them. Replace incandescent lightbulbs with energy efficient lightbulbs that can provide the same amount of light and generate less heat whilst also consuming less electricity. Avoid using appliances like washing machines in the hottest part of the day and hang your washing on the line so that the dryer gets a break from huffing and puffing hot air.
2. Plants:Plants inside the house regulate airflow and can be used to help shade air conditioning units to reduce the running cost. Deciduous trees outside the house can create shade during the hotter months and let sunlight through to warm the house during winter. Try to minimise landscaping with cement and unshaded rocks as these surfaces will reflect heat on to the house.
3. Shades, Drapes or Blinds:
Because the best way to keep your home cool is to keep the heat out in the first place, window covering are a great place to start inside the house. Light colours and fabrics with heat-reflecting treatments work the best at keeping the sun out. If you’re not keen on living like a cave troll but would still like to avoid the AC, stop the sun before it reaches your windows in the first place. Outdoor shades and awnings are a great way of cutting solar heat gain as they create a cooling buffer around the outside of your house.
Ceiling and portable fans are a great way to keep air circulating around the house. For those of us who don’t enjoy the aftermath of sleeping in air conditioned spaces, a ceiling fan is the ultimate. They might not cut the mustard when a heatwave strikes, but they are not to be sniffed at during spring. Try popping a bowl of ice at an angle in front of a large standing pan to create a misty sea-breeze.
5. Cook Outside:
Our ancestor’s built kitchens separately to the main house for a very good reason, they generate a lot of heat which is distributed throughout the main house. An easy way to avoid this is by cooking outside. If you’re building a BBQ into an outdoor kitchen, make sure it is as far away from the house as possible and if yours is portable, wheel it away to the farthest corner of the backyard. Besides being a healthy way to cook and keep heat away from your house, busting out the BBQ is a great excuse to get outside and socialise with friends, family or neighbours while they enjoy an icy mojito and your mad BBQ.