Get the lowdown on cooling off at home this summer with our sweat saving tips.
When the summer is sweltering, your home can go from being a sanctuary to a sweat box virtually overnight. As you peel your sticky self from the leather couch to hang out in front of the freezer, you wonder if there’s a better way to get some relief from the heat. Relax, we’ve got you covered with budget and eco-friendly fixes to bring cool comfort to your home when the heat hits.
Starting from scratch
If you’re renovating or building a new home, your plans will need to comply with your council’s environmental design standards. These could include things like installing awnings or shutters to limit sun exposure. But you can look at all sorts of features and options to keep your new home cool – from placement of doors and windows to catch the breeze to the type of materials you’ll use for your build.
Professional advice from an architect, building designer, builder or sustainability consultant can help you make smart choices about designing a comfortable, sustainable home for all seasons.
Keep out the heat
The very best way to keep your home cool is to stop heat from entering in the first place. In the summer months, think of sunlight and heat as hostile invaders, trying to force you to reach for the aircon remote. Luckily, you won’t need to put bars on the windows or hire an armed guard to keep out the heat. Keeping blinds or shutters closed may be all that’s needed to block out enough sunlight to keep your home cool. If you’re installing new ones, look for materials that reflect heat and offer good protection from UV rays.
Think about where your home catches the sun and at what time of day. It’s often west facing windows that let the most heat in so focus your efforts on these, particularly in the afternoon. And if budget allows, you can actually boost your window insulation with double glazing or low-emissivity (Low-E) glass that has a thin film on the outside to reflect heat.
Make airflow your friend
If heat and sunlight are the enemies, then airflow is definitely your ally. If you’re living near the coast, you might be lucky enough to get some sweet relief from a cool change towards the end of the day. That’s the time to be throwing open windows and doors to draw the air through and bring the temperature down. Installing windows with louvres can be the ideal way to capture refreshing breezes from outside.
Freestanding and ceiling fans are a great way to keep air moving throughout the day. Ceiling fans will need to be installed by a licensed electrician but usually offer better coverage for larger rooms.
You’ve used all your natural defences, had an epic water fight on the lawn but the heat is definitely the winner in this battle. If you have aircon, there comes a time when you just have to give in and use it to keep things bearable. But make sure you keep doors and windows closed and remember to switch it off when you leave the room. And try running aircon in fan-only mode first – it may be enough to take the edge off the indoor temperature and save you, and the environment, from high energy bills in the summer.
What are you doing to keep cool at home this season? Share your thoughts in the comments below.