Keep Your Home Cool When The Temperature Soars
Many areas are experiencing a brief respite from the heat waves around the country and we look at how you can stay cool without using electricity.
Many regions in the country have already experienced soaring temperatures, and when combined with load shedding or power outages you can't exactly switch on the air conditioner to cool down. In this article, we look at how you can keep your home cool when the temperature rises - and it won't cost you a cent in the long term.
Keep your home cool the natural way
When the temperature soars beyond comfort level and you are in the middle of load shedding, you realise there have to be more effective ways of staying cool without having to rely on an air conditioner.
From the sounds around me when the power goes off, more and more homeowners are relying on a gennie to power up. That's all good and well, but unless you spend a fortune on a top-of-the-line generator, most gennies will only give you around 1600 to 3000 Watts of power, and that's nowhere near enough to run an air conditioner or anything else.
With temperatures soaring across South Africa, we have some of the hottest days on record, and this summer shows no sign of respite. If this is to be the case in future, it's time to look at ways to cool down your home without amping up your electricity usage.
Close the Blinds or Curtains
Ongoing research has shown that almost 30 percent of the heat that accumulates in a home comes via windows. That's why blinds, shutter and high-quality curtains can make a huge difference to the air temperature inside the home. A window treatment helps to lower indoor temperatures by as much as 20 degrees. And on windows that receive the most sunlight during the day, a good set of total block-out blinds will keep the heat out.
Adopt a Mediterranean Lifestyle
Mediterranean homes have adapted by closing up tight during the hottest time of the day and taking a siesta! While you should keep windows and doors closed to keep out the heat during the day, opening these in the evenings when the temperature drops will cool down your home interior.
Stand Up to the Heat
Air conditioners are great for cooling down the interior of a home, and can even be managed in such a way as to be more energy-wise. Unfortunately, an air conditioner won't do much when there's load shedding or power outages. This is when you should look at investing in a couple of standing fans, since these require far less power to operate. Shop for a model that has winter and summer mode, so you can use the standing fan all year round.
Try placing a standing fan as close as possible to an open window, or, if you need a quick cool down simply place a bowl of ice in front of the fan for a cool breeze.
Invest in Ceiling Insulation
Yeah, yeah, we all know by now that installing ceiling insulation keeps a home cool in summer and warm in winter. But how many of you have installed it? Ceiling insulation is not an expensive project and you can buy everything you need to do-it-yourself at your nearest Builders store.
Decorate for a Cool Home
It is true that colours indeed affect your mood, and they also affect how you feel. When it's hot and you sit in a red room you will feel much hotter than the real temperature. The opposite effect applies to a cool blue or calm green room, where you don't feel the heat as much.
Decorating a home in cool colours might not lower the actual temperature but they will fool your brain into thinking cooler!
Plant up some Shade
Small trees and large shrubs are an easy and
effective way to control the amount of heat that
enters your home. A small, evergreen tree with
an overhanging leaf canopy will spread shade
over windows and doors and help keep the
temperature down during the hottest time of the
day. Place trees and shrubs strategically in the garden
to block out as much direct sunlight as
possible. Ask your garden centre for advice on
the best trees for your particular location, and
trees and shrubs that don't have large,
spreading roots that may damage surrounding