It’s possible to keep you and your house cool this summer whilst still being friendly to the environment. Here’s how.
The warm summer months bring with it many time-honoured traditions. As soon as it starts to get sunny you’ll begin to see the BBQ smoke wafting around your neighbourhood, children running around outside and families gathered outdoors spending quality time together.
For those lucky people who live by the sea or by a pool they have a natural way of cooling off, however for the rest of us there are those harsh summer days where the sun isn’t quite so fun and turning on the air-con at home feels like the only option.
We’ve all been there- those times where the indoors feels hotter than outside and you succumb to the temptation of turning on your air-con and fans to cool yourself down. However- we need to remember that this decision has big consequences, both for next month’s power bill as well as for the environment. Cooling down your entire house uses a lot of energy and it’s one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming during the summer months.
Check out our top 10 tips that can help keep your house nice and cool, save you some money and help you reduce your carbon footprint and be kinder to the earth:
Keeping your blinds closed, especially the ones facing north and west, will significantly cool down your house. Even better- invest in some black-out curtains to block out that hot summer sun.
If you stop the heat getting into your house in the first place then you’ll spend a lot less on cooling it down in the summer. Keep your windows and any patio doors covered and blocked with things like external coverings, awnings, blinds and large house plants.
If you want a more long term solution which will last you for years to come then try planting some deciduous trees that will cast shade over your home in the summer, but will still allow sunshine in during the winter.
Another long term solution to blocking out the heat is tinting your windows and invest in topping up your ceiling insulation- that’ll help you keep warm in winter as well as helping you be kinder to the earth.
If you feel like you have to use your air conditioning to deal with the heat, set the thermostat to between 24-27 degrees celsius, or as high as you would feel comfortable with. Raising the temperature on your thermostat by just 1 degrees celcius in warm weather can reduce the running cost of your appliance by around 10%.
If you’re looking to upgrade your air-conditioner, you should pick one with a high energy-star rating and research which appliances are the most energy efficient so that you can pick the best one for your house.
It may feel like when you turn your ceiling fans on that it just blasts us with already hot air, and you’re not wrong- fans that are on the wrong setting may be doing just that!
Make sure you set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise in the hot summer months, this means that the hot air is pushed straight down creating a cooling effect. In the winter you should have it spinning clockwise as this pulls cold air up and pushes it around the house. In warm weather set the fan speed to high and in cooler weather keep it on low.
Ceiling fans can also be used to enhance other ways of cooling down, so make sure they’re rotating the correct direction so they can help you keep cool.
If you’re not using a room then close the door, you want to keep the cold air circulating in rooms that you are using. Seal the gaps under doors and windows and consider using a draught excluder to make sure the cool air can’t escape.
If you can avoid going outdoors then it’s best to stay inside with your windows and doors shut during the hottest parts of the day. However, when evening comes make sure to open everything up and let your house cool down naturally- just remember to lock up before going to bed!
Cooking dinner in the garden or having an evening picnic at the park may be a cooler option to sitting in your steamy kitchen, so make the most of the cool breeze whilst you can.
Try some natural methods of keeping cool, such as sipping ice cold drinks, putting a damp cloth on you neck and over your body, or having a cold shower or bath. These tricks will keep your body cool without the need for air-conditioning.
Haven’t got air-on? Don’t worry! A well-positioned bowl of ice in front of a fan will turn your fan into a cool mist machine. This refreshing trick is a good way to stay cool without breaking the bank.
Natural fabrics such as cotton and linen are breathable and help your body breathe and maintain and cooler temperature. Try wearing light, loose clothing made of natural fabrics, and put cotton sheets on your bed.
If you’ve tried everything and still aren’t cool, your lightbulbs may be to blame. Incandescent lightbulbs aren’t as popular anymore, but they’re still found in some homes. They create a lot of heat, so switching to energy-saving bulbs will help you keep cool whilst also helping the environment- a win win!