Helpful money-saving hints for cooling your home

It costs a bundle to air condition a home. So before flicking a switch for instant cool – and huge power bills – think about your options. When your house is well insulated with ample shade and ventilation, keeping it cool becomes more efficient and costs less. To help, here are some money-saving hints.

Helpful money-saving hints for cooling your home

Keeping it cool indoors

Take a good look around your house to see if you can make any modifications that will help keep hot air out and let cooling breezes in.

Early morning

  • Early on hot summer days, make sure windows, blinds and curtains are closed to keep heat out and the interior shaded and cool.
  • When it's already hot inside, try opening windows on opposite sides of the house to create cooling cross-ventilation.

Evening

  • At night, when the temperature drops, open the doors and windows to let cold air inside.
  • Turning on extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens for a short time can help draw the warm air outside, since hot air rises.
  • Hang damp sheets outside your windows. The evaporating water will have a cooling effect.
  • If you live in a house with two or more storeys, consider using the lower floors during the day, as they should be cooler.

Install shutters

  • Install temporary shutters or awnings over south-facing windows. They will block the sun's heat but can be removed in winter to let the sun in when you need it most.
  • Alternatively, modify the eaves of your house so that they keep summer sun out but let winter sun in. The ideal width of eaves will vary depending on your latitude.

Check your roof

  • Check that your house, especially the roof, is well insulated.
  • Reflective insulation placed under the roof can dramatically reduce heat build-up in summer.

Plant ground cover

  • Remove concrete paving or asphalt from outside south-facing windows as it will contribute to heat build-up – soaking up sun during the day and radiating the heat at night.
  • If possible, replace it with a cooling plant cover such as grass or low-lying plants or shrubs.

Make the most of fans

Fans are effective, cheap to run and energy efficient. Although they do not actually lower the temperature, they help to evaporate moisture by circulating air around the room, thereby making you feel cooler. When the air isn't oppressively humid, they work as well as air conditioners.

Portable fans

  • Portable fans are effective for personal cooling.
  • Look for models that have variable speed settings and oscillate (turn from side to side).

Ceiling fans

  • For cooling a whole room, consider installing ceiling fans.
  • Place the fan above the light fixture (to avoid a flickering effect) and at least two metres (about seven feet) above the floor.

Choose a bigger fan

  • Choose four-bladed fans with tilted or scoop-edged blades for the best air circulation.
  • Despite a higher initial outlay, more expensive fans with stronger motors are quieter and last longer. A reverse function will allow you to use the fan to push heat downwards in winter.

Consider a whole-house fan

  • If you need to cool every room, consider a whole-house fan.
  • It consists of a large fan set in the roof that draws air out of the room below while pulling fresh air in through open windows and doors.

On a hot summer day, it may be tempting to turn on an air conditioner for instant relief from the heat. However, by adopting some simple shading and ventilation practices, you should be able to keep your house cool without needing to flip that switch.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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