The full heat of the Queensland summer is creeping ever closer, and homes all around Brisbane already have their air conditioners operating for large parts of the day. You just know that when that next electricity bill rolls around, it’s going to be through the roof!
But there are ways that you can keep your house cool without air conditioning. We know that air conditioning is convenient and comfortable, but it also takes a toll on the environment and on your wallet. We’ve put together a list outlining ten ways that you can cool down your home, without switching on the air con. Making small changes can dramatically reduce the temperatures in your house and the cost of your electricity bill!
1. Turn off unnecessary appliances
This may sound a little strange at first, but most appliances actually generate a significant amount of heat. Have you ever stuck your hand behind your TV unit on a hot day? It’s like a sauna back there! Be sure to turn off and unplug appliances when you are not using them. It’ll eliminate a few major heat sources, and protect your expensive electronics from frying.
2. Use bed sheets made from a breathable material.
Chances are, if you live in a very hot climate, you’ll spend the majority of summer sleeping without bed sheets at all. But some people can’t doze off without the comforting weight of material on top of them. So be sure to make it a breathable and lightweight material such as bamboo, which is also much more eco-friendly than cotton. If you’re a sweaty sleeper, try moisture-wicking sheets for sensitive skin. They’re designed to soak up your sweat faster than your body can produce it, so you don’t wake up a hot mess!
3. Avoid using the oven.
While we all love a good potato bake or casserole, summer isn’t the best season to indulge in dishes that require you to use an oven. Your oven will heat your kitchen in the blink of an eye and radiate this heat throughout other areas of the house. If you want to cook hot food, try to use the barbecue instead. But there are no rules saying dinner has to be hot! Experiment with refreshing dishes that don’t require an oven, such as salads, rice paper rolls, bruschetta or a good old-fashioned ploughman’s board.
4. Close your blinds on sun-facing windows.
If one side of your house cops the full brunt of the morning or afternoon sun, be sure to close the blinds to try and ward off unwanted heat during these times of the day.
5. Harness natural light.
Having all the blinds closed in your home in the middle of summer can feel a little suffocating and depressing. If you work from home, consider setting yourself up so that you work in a room with windows facing away from the sun. This way, you can still enjoy natural light without feeling like you’re in a furnace. If you have skylights installed, pick this room for your study. Try not to turn on lights, as incandescent bulbs emit heat. If you need extra light, invest in energy efficient LED light bulbs.
6. Ensure your ceiling fans are moving counter-clockwise.
Most ceiling fans installed in Australia will move counter-clockwise by default, but it’s always wise to double check. Many people don’t even realise that their fans can go in a different direction or that they can be used to circulate air without cooling you down in winter. When your ceiling fan moves counter-clockwise, it pushes cool air down. When it spins clockwise, it sucks cool air up and pushes the warm air across the room. If you use your ceiling fan to ventilate your room in winter, make sure you remember to switch it back to a counter-clockwise direction in summer. You can do this by hitting the reverse button on your remote or at the base of the fan itself.
7. Have a good think about your roof.
This one is a serious undertaking and a long-term approach to keeping your home naturally cool. If you live in a very hot climate such as Brisbane or Far North Queensland, it’s definitely worth the investment. If you’re building a home in Australia, it’s really the only way to go. Choose a roof that’s light in colour and thermally efficient. Many tiled roofs absorb heat rather than reflecting it. Darker roofs tend to heat your attic to shocking temperatures, which can filter down into your home. Colorbond steel roofs, on the other hand, undergo stringent testing in some of Australia’s harshest climates and incorporates ThermatechⓇ technology to reflect more of the sun’s heat. This is a worthwhile long-term investment for those serious about passive cooling.
8. Invest in double glazed, uPVC windows.
Another long-term consideration when looking at your home’s passive cooling abilities is the energy efficiency of your windows. Much of the cold air in your house can escape through the windows, even when they’re closed. This may be due to poorly insulated window frames or cheap single panes of glass that cannot stave off the heat of the sun. Double glazing provides an extra barrier against the outside heat, and when paired with uPVC window frames, they make an unbeatable team for keeping your house cool in summer.
9. Open your windows at night.
When temperature lowers at night, there is often a cool breeze that can provide natural ventilation within your home. Opening your windows in the evening is always a smart idea to make use of the chilled air and get rid of any stuffiness lingering in your rooms. Most uPVC double glazed windows can be fitted with fly screens, making them perfect for Australian homes. You get to feel those cool breezes wafting around your house without the hassle of swatting away bugs!
10. Close off unused rooms.
Focus your efforts on cooling the rooms that you regularly use throughout the day. If you live in a large family home but have a lot of empty rooms, there’s no point in wasting time and energy trying to keep heat from entering those empty spaces. You can always cool those rooms overnight, when the temperature drops, by opening the windows. During the daytime, simply close off unused rooms and concentrate on cooling the areas you spend the majority of your time in.
Energy Efficient Windows is Australia’s leading provider of uPVC double glazed windows and doors. Our energy efficient window systems work hard to keep your home cool through superb insulation, and natural ventilation. Contact us today to discuss how we can halve your energy bill by installing quality energy efficient, uPVC double glazed windows and doors.