How To Keep A Home Cool During A Heat wave!
If heat waves are going to a normal occurrence in the future, here are some way to keep yourself and your home cool!
Regular heat waves during the spring and summer are becoming the norm for South Africans but keeping your cool and trying to relax isn't easy when the sweat drips off your brow. Since this year you might not be taking an annual break to the coast, perhaps it's time to look at how you can keep your home - and your family - cool.
I must admit to finally investing in an air conditioner, which is a milestone for me because I've always believed you can live without them. Well, that might have been before we started having spring and summer heat waves where the temperature goes as high as 38-degrees Centigrade.
Air conditioners don't come cheap, the units themselves are fairly pricey and then you still have installation costs if you're not going to install it the DIY way. It is important to know the difference between all the different models so that you better understand what you need and how to get the best cool for your buck!
If you want to win the battle of a cool house when it's hot outside, make sure your home is insulated. If you don't, you will find cool air rushing out the door while electrical bills pile up.
There are several factors to consider when buying an air conditioner:
- Portable or Installed?
I live in a double-storey dwelling, one where the upstairs gets uncomfortably hot during heat waves. With an upstairs lounge-office arrangement and bedroom, I decided to opt for a portable air conditioner rather than have to buy 2 fixed air conditioners. This allows me to move the unit from room to room as needed. It can be a bit of a hassle having to squeeze the outlet pipe through the windows, but this arrangement saves me money in the long run and lets me keep both rooms cool when in use.
If you want to keep your entire house cool you are probably going to have to look at installing one or more air conditioners in specific locations to cool down the interior. This is where having a home properly insulated comes into play. Home insulation will assist air conditioning units to cool down the interior temperature by blocking heat loss or gain through windows, underneath or around doors, and through the ceiling.
- Cross Ventilate your Home
Cross ventilation is the process of using an air conditioning unit in conjunction with nature. Being able to allow cool breezes to flow through rooms and push hot air to the outside. One method of doing this is to let your air conditioner cool down the interior throughout the day but switch off in the evenings to allow naturally cool breezes to flow.
- Keep the Heat Outside
Another way to manually assist an air conditioning unit is to keep sunlight out. Keep windows and doors closed during the day and ensure window treatments such as curtains and blinds are also closed. This will assist in heat loss or gain through windows and doors and prevent cool air from escaping.
If you have a home that has no form of window treatments, or window treatments only on certain windows, it would be in your interests to look at having a window film installed or consider the installation of energy-efficient glazed window systems.
- Architectural or Natural Shade
When designing an energy-efficient home, architects look carefully at how sunlight might enter the home during various times in the day. With this information, they are then able to orientate a home for optimum benefit or incorporate a structure or design element that protects the house by shading certain windows.
For those who aren't in the process of having a house built, there is always the option of fitting retractable or fixed awnings to your windows or looking at planting a few shrubs or suitable trees around the house to offer natural shade.