How to prepare your home for the summer heat
While Australian summers are often filled with barbecues and swimming, they can also be filled with bushfires and sweltering house temperatures.
If you want to find out how to keep your cool in summer – without necessarily needing an airconditioner – then read on for some of the best, easiest and cheapest ways to stop your home feeling like an oven during the hot summer days.
Best ways to keep cool this summer
You can affect the temperature of your home by keeping your north and west facing windows shaded with pergolas, awnings or deciduous trees and vines. Reflective film coatings on your windows can also help to stop heat seeping in through the glass.
Insulation is another prime factor to consider – you can cut energy usage in your home by 45 per cent just by ensuring you have good ceiling insulation.
It’s also a good idea to make use of fans in your home before you switch on the airconditioner. Often a fan will be all you need but if it’s not enough, then use yours in conjunction with an airconditioner and you’ll find that the hot air in the room is moved around quickly and you shouldn’t need to keep the airconditioner running all the time.
Cheapest options for staying cool
If funds are tight, don’t despair, there are other tactics you can use to fight the heat that also save on electricity and help the environment at the same time.
For example, you can lower the overall temperature in your house by being mindful of anything that creates heat. Instead of using your oven in the kitchen opt for your microwave instead; lower the thermostat on your hot water unit; use compact fluorescent bulbs rather than standard incandescent options; and turn off your computer, monitor, television and other electrical devices when they’re not in use.
You can also keep temperatures down by ensuring that you keep windows, curtains and blinds shut on hot days (thick blockout material is best) and then let air into the house at night when it’s cooler. If you have rooms in your home that are just always hot then keep doors to these areas closed so that the heat doesn’t spread to the rest of the house.
Also ensure that you use light bedding instead of thick sheets and blankets and stay cool by opting for light, breathable clothing that will help your body to regulate its own temperature.
Most effective ways to stay cool in summer
Of course, if you would prefer the assistance of an airconditioner on those balmy afternoons, make sure you choose a unit that has a good star rating for energy efficiency, and one that is the right size for the room(s) you wish to cool. Keep the outside part of the unit shaded (with plants, for example) and clean the filters regularly to help the airconditioner stay in top working condition.