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How to Keep Your Home Cool Despite Load Shedding

Load shedding is forcing up to re-think how we live and how we heat and cool our homes and we offer a strategy on keeping a home cool when the hot weather arrives.






When the power is out, using an air conditioner to keep the house cool - or warm in winter - is not a possibility. These appliances use a lot of power and are not something that can be powered by a UPS, inverter or generator. That means we will have to look at options that use less power and can be run on standby-power.









Keeping Cool Indoors - Day or Night

There is nothing better than the trusty desk or pedestal fan to cool your body down during the day or night. Place the fan in front of an open window when the sun has passed, and the fan will suck cool air into the room. It is also a good idea to have air flow through the room and this can be achieved by opening a window on the opposite side to create a cool breeze. If you have high windows, and since hot air rises, opening these will increase airflow and let hot air escape.



Placing a fan close to an open window allows cool air to be circulated throughout the room.





Keep Annoying Mosquitoes at Bay

While we all love saying goodbye to winter, the end of winter usually heralds the arrival of the dreaded mosquito. Spring and summer and the warm, sometimes wet weather, bring on the hordes of annoying mosquitoes that plague us both indoors and outdoors. What is more annoying is that load shedding means that we can't plug in the mosquito deterrent and are we are at the mercy of these blood thirsty pests.







Mosquito nets have been used for centuries as protection against mosquitoes and are still one of the best methods of getting a peaceful night's sleep. Hang one from the ceiling that will cover the entire bed.





Investing in a fan is not only a way to stay cool but also a way to deter mosquitoes. A fan makes it difficult for mosquitoes to home in on your body scent and also hampers their flight, making it difficult for them to fly around and make your life miserable. Even an inexpensive fan, one with low wattage, will help keep pests at bay while you sit and relax or sleep and won't take up too much capacity on your UPS or inverter.



My favourite mosquito repellent for outdoors and at night is Tabard lotion, and while it is quite expensive - a little goes a long way, and a bottle will last me throughout summer. Combine a fan with mosquito repellent and your sleep will be undisturbed.







Once the sun has passed its zenith, open windows to let in a cool breeze and air out the home.





Let in the Cool, Fresh Air

When the days are scorching and the nights are humid, keeping cool is a priority but it doesn't help if you keep the windows open all day. The best way to keep the house cool is to block out the hot sun when it shines in the home with curtains or blinds and only open the windows when the sun has moved away. Windows are the main culprits in a home heating up in summer and being cold in winter and fitting a double window treatment such as curtains and blinds, particularly insulated shades, can reduced unwanted heat build-up.



Popular in many other countries, window screens fitted to windows help to keep annoying pests, and particularly mosquitoes, outside.





Placing a fan in front of an open window will pull air into the fan and circulate this cooler area around the room, so take full advantage of this while you can. Plus, the fan will keep pests at bay. It might also be a good idea to consider installing window screens - a frame with a tight mesh screen - fitted over a window to keep out unwanted pests such as flies and mosquitoes.





Keep the Heat Outside

If we are looking at ways to cool down the house when the weather gets hot and the power if off, a permanent solution would be to install shade awnings around windows and doors. Small trees and large shrubs take a long time to be established whereas installing shade awnings will instantly offer shade and block out sunlight. Window shades over windows and doors can reduce solar heat gain by as much as 60%, making them a worthwhile investment.



Cut down solar heat gain by as much as 50% by installing solar window film to all north-facing windows.





Another worthwhile investment is to have all north-facing windows fitted with a solar-blocking film. This can be done as a DIY project and Builders and other hardware stores stock a variety of films that can be applied to windows. If you don't fancy doing this yourself, there are plenty of companies that offer window film installation.



Don't Overlook Home Insulation

I know that I probably cover this topic a lot but incorporating home insulation does make a difference. And it's not just about ceiling insulation. Maintaining windows and doors to be draught-free goes a long way towards keeping a home insulated in both summer and winter. Sealing around windows and window frames, adding weatherstrips around doors and fitting a draught excluder all contribute to home insulation.








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