Tips

Don't Lose Your Cool

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Simple changes to your home and habits can make a big difference to the temperature of your house, says Nicky Breen from CHOICE. Here are a few hacks to keep cool in summer. Many of these will also keep your home warmer in winter – bonus! 

1. INSULATE IT 

In-wall and in-roof insulation can help keep the cool air in and the heat out in summer (and vice versa in winter). Uninsulated ceilings can make houses up to 35 per cent hotter.

 2. SEAL IT 

To keep the cool air in and the heat out, use insulation strips around windows and under doors, and close off draughty fireplaces and unused pet doors. 

3. VENTILATE IT 

Consider adding roof-cavity ventilation such as undereave vents and whirlybirds to remove some of the hot air. 

4. SHADE IT 

A well-shaded home can block 90 per cent of the sun’s heat in warmer months. Install artificial shading like eaves, pergolas, awnings, blinds, shutters and curtains. You can also plant deciduous trees near windows and glass doors – they’ll keep the sun off in summer but let it shine through in winter. 

5. GLAZE AND PAINT IT 

Glazed windows will keep the heat out in summer and keep in the warmth in winter. Darker exterior paint colours may be in vogue, but they’ll make your home hotter. Consider lighter tones to help keep your house cool. 

6. TURN THE AIRCON DOWN 

Setting your air conditioner to arctic might seem like the best way to beat the heat, but it can blow out your energy bill and increase wear and tear on the airconditioner’s motor. You’ll generally get better efficiency from your air conditioner if you aim for a maximum temperature differential (the temperature difference between inside and outside your home) of around 8°C. So on a 32°C day, set your air conditioner to no more than 24°C. On scorching days, most people will still want a cooler temperature, but for maximum energy efficiency, try not to go too far beyond the 8°C difference – each degree cooler adds about 10 per cent to your airconditioner’s running cost. Your air conditioner will be more efficient and effective if you give it some love, such as cleaning the filter and ensuring the outside motor is well shaded. 

7. KEEP AN EYE ON THE THERMOMETER 

Use an indoor-outdoor thermometer to monitor the temperature difference inside and outside your home. If it’s cooler outside than in, open up all the doors and windows; if it’s hotter outside, close everything up to keep the heat out. 

8. LIGHTS OUT 

Turn off the lights if you’re not in the room – not only do they use energy to create light, they also create heat, which your air conditioner has to work harder to remove. Replacing halogen downlights with LEDs can help keep the temperature down and reduce your power bills too.

9. BE A FAN 

Ceiling fans make your body feel cool (although they won’t lower the actual room temperature) and so the effect is very immediate, focused, efficient and cost-effective. Pedestal fans are the least-effective option but at times are unavoidable, particularly for renters on those unbearable days. They are, however, cheap to run. We calculated that it would only cost around $30 to run a fan 24/7 for an entire summer. And you can choose exactly how and where to position them to maximise their effect, which you can’t do with ceiling fans. 

10. NIGHT TIME IS DISHWASHING TIME 

Kitchen appliances can generate lots of heat, so if you wait until bedtime to turn on the dishwasher (or delay the cycle), you won’t have to deal with the heat in the kitchen. You can also turn your slow cooker on overnight so you’re not heating the house during the day – and as a bonus you’ll have a delicious cooked lunch ready to pack in the morning.

Article supplied by CHOICE.

 

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