Even though Melbourne weather is all over the place, sweltering one day and snowing the next, we all know the hot weather is going to hit eventually. And when it does, we want you to be prepared!
Whether you’re focused on sustainability or just want to reduce your electricity bills, we’ve put together our Top Ten Favourite Eco-Friendy Tips on keeping your house cool this summer, without breaking the bank!
Tip #1 – Close the Blinds
Keep your blinds closed on hot days to keep out the sun’s rays. Close them early in the morning before you leave the house. It’s much easier to keep a house cool than to have to cool down a house that’s already hot!
The sun is the hottest in the mid to late afternoon, so close the blinds on all north and west facing windows. If you’ve got exterior blinds, even better!
Tip #2 – Use the Evaporative Cooler
When you know a hot day is coming, turn on your evaporative cooler early in the day. This helps the evaporative cooler to maintain the cooler temperature before the house heats up, which is much easier than trying to cool down a hot house!
Don’t forget to keep some windows ajar so that the evaporative cooler can operate correctly. These coolers pump air into the house, so there needs to be openings to allow airflow. It puts strain on the motor if there isn’t sufficient airflow which can lead to higher maintenance costs. With the evaporative cooler pushing air OUT of the house, you don’t need to worry about the open windows letting the hot air inside (unless you turn off the cooler).
Tip #3 – Switch On Your Ceiling Fans
Make the most of your ceiling fans as they are the most energy efficient form of cooling. A ceiling fan only costs 2c to run all night compared to $1.50 or more to use your air-conditioning overnight! Ceiling fans also produce far fewer greenhouse gases than air-conditioners.
Ceiling fans also help to circulate the cool air throughout the room, and can be used together with an evaporative cooler or air-conditioner to boost the effectiveness of the cooling. For more tips on how to use your ceiling fans most effectively, click through to our blog on 6 Money Saving Tips for Using Ceiling Fans.
Consider installing some quiet DC ceiling fans in your bedrooms as these can run at very slow speeds and use very little power. We recommend the Fanco Eco Breeze which moves a whopping 4091m3/hr of air on the lowest speed using only 4W of power! Compare that to running an air-conditioner all night (a small bedroom air-con will still use around 500W of power based on a 3kW split system air con)!
If you want a new ceiling fan installed, give your local electricians a call on 03 9996 0663 for friendly, reliable service. Kenner Electrics supplies quality ceiling fans to suit your home and will work with you to find a solution for your needs. Need some guidance on choosing the right ceiling fan for your home? Have a read of our blog How do you choose the right ceiling fan for your home?
Tip #4 – Limit The Air-Conditioner
If you have to use the air-con, stick to these guidelines to reduce the cost and energy usage of your cooling.
- Keep your air-con set at around 25-27 degrees Celsius. This temperature is usually cool enough for most people, just don’t exert yourself too much and wear appropriate clothing! Every degree cooler will increase your power usage by 5-10%.
- Close the doors of any rooms that you’re not using. This reduces the amount of space that the air-conditioner is trying to cool down so it doesn’t need to work as hard.
- Check if your filters have been cleaned recently. Dirty filters reduce the effectiveness of your air-conditioner and causes it to use more power.
Unlike evaporative coolers, air-conditioners don’t need the windows open because they condition the air that is already inside your home and just circulate that. So keep the windows closed if you’ve got the air-con on to prevent the cool air escaping outside!
If you rely on your air-conditioner to stay cool in summer, it could be worth investing in a ceiling fan. Running a ceiling fan at the same time as your air-conditioner can boost the effectiveness of your cooling. It does this by circulating the cool air, and by producing an added ‘wind-chill’ effect that makes you feel cooler.
Tip #5 – Insulate the Roof
Is your ceiling insulated? Installing insulation in your ceiling space can have a huge impact on the temperature of your home.
Have you ever had to get into a roof on a hot day? Our electricians will tell you that it’s not a fun experience! In summer the temperature in the roof can be 20 degrees hotter than outside! Insulation prevents the really hot air in the roof from radiating through your ceiling and heating up the room below. It also has year round benefits because in winter it will help to trap the warm air inside your home rather than escaping into the roof.
Tip #6 – Draught Proof the Cracks
All those cracks around your windows and doors are allowing cool air from inside your home, so draught-proofing your home can drastically reduce the energy needed to keep your home cool.
Here are some of the ways you can stop up those pesky gaps:
- Put a ‘draught snake’ in front of external doors to block the gap under the door
- Install weather seals on windows and skirting boards
- Fit magnetic covers on your heating/cooling vents that aren’t being used
- Block chimney draughts with a damper or chimney balloon
WARNING: if you have a gas heater in your room, ventilation is required. So check with a licensed gas fitter before you use the heater in winter to make sure it’s safe.
Tip #7 – Back Draft Shutters
Exhaust fans are basically a large hole that goes straight into the roof, so no draught-proofing efforts are complete without blocking this hole!
Consider having back draft shutters installed on your exhaust fans to prevent heat from the roof space transferring into your home. Back draft shutters stop the hot air in the roof from flowing back into the room when the exhaust fan isn’t being used. They open automatically when the exhaust fan is operating.
Kenner Electrics recommends installing back draft shutters on all new exhaust fans that we install.
Tip #8 - Cool Down Your Cooking
Cooking a meal on a hot day can heat up the kitchen and the rest of your home. The main culprit is the oven and stovetop, as they retain a lot of heat from cooking and radiate it out into the room. Here are some tips to keep your kitchen cool on those hot days:
- Cook outside! Get out the tongs and fire up the BBQ to keep all the cooking heat out of the kitchen.
- Plan ahead. Cook more food the night before and then microwave leftovers for dinner so you don’t have to cook.
- Use counter-top appliances like slow cookers or sandwich press which don’t store heat like ovens do.
- Prepare a salad or meal that doesn’t require cooking at all!
- Cook later in the day when it has cooled down.
- Treat yo’ self and head out to an air-conditioned restaurant.
- If you can’t avoid using the oven or stovetop, cut things up smaller so they cook more quickly.
Tip #9 – Make the Most of the Cool Change
Open up the house when the cool change comes through in the evening. This means you can turn off the cooling and enjoy the cool breeze, as well as the energy savings!
Tip #10 - Think Long Term
If you’re in it for the long haul, consider planting some trees to provide shade, especially for the northern and western aspects of your home. The trees will provide relief from the sun in the hottest parts of the day and stop the sun’s rays from directly hitting your house.
If you’re looking for professional advice on the best way to cool your home this summer, your local electricians are here to help. Give us a call on 03 9996 0663 or visit our website to discover what other electrical projects we can help you with.