Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar
Bringing on a cool change
You can’t control the weather, but you can control how you fit out your home to adapt to the heat and make for more comfortable living
Summer is in full swing and IT IS HOT! And with plots of land getting smaller and houses being built closer together, our homes are feeling the heat. I do have some tips, however, that will help you manage the heat a little easier – and save you a few bucks, too.
Firstly, we spend a lot of money on air-conditioning, so the last thing you’d want is to have that cool air escape. Gaps and holes in either the ceiling, walls, windows and floors provide entryways for outside air to enter and cool air to spill out. These vents can be spotted quickly – look for gaps where walls and floors meet (especially on exterior walls), around electrical outlets, and where fans and recessed lighting connect to the ceiling. Caulk cracks at these junctions and around window and door trims.
Insulation is also key. While there is no match for double glazing, every layer helps and there are several DIY tints that can be easily applied to your windows and glass doors. Tinting not only blocks out the sun, but also adds a layer of insulation.
The area just outside the home, and our alfresco spaces, are also where airflow is usually inadequate.
An external ceiling fan can make a huge difference – not only does it stop air from becoming stagnant, but the movement gives the impression of a cooler environment. And that alone makes it worth the investment.
Plants, trees and greenery are the gifts that keep on giving. Trees that create a canopy above your home height are yet another barrier between your home and the sun. Vines such as bougainvillea, ivy, wisteria and firethorn grow quickly and offer a beautiful layer of insulation.
The roof is another cheap opportunity. The temperature in the roof cavity of your home can climb beyond 50°C and that heat lasts well into the night. A couple of well-placed whirlybirds or a solar-powered exhaust fan can suck thousands of litres of hot air.
Finally, because Australia is a place of such weather extremes, make sure you take this into account when purchasing and installing external fixtures like awnings, pergolas and sails. Mother Nature can be a fickle mistress. Don’t fight her, adapt to her. Barry Du Bois is co-host of The Living Room, which airs on Fridays at 7.30pm on Network Ten.