10 tips to keep cool this summer

You can keep yourself and your house cool this summer and be kind to the environment at the same time. Here’s how.

For many people, summer means BBQs, beach cricket and dips in the pool.

But there are days when that harsh summer sun isn’t quite so fun and cranking up the air-con at home seems like your only option.

We’ve all been there – those times when you just want to turn your house into a freezer and forget about the energy bill next quarter. But it’s important to remember that high energy use associated with cooling houses in summer contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Check out these 10 tips that will keep you and your house cool, save you money, and help you be kind to the earth:

1. Close your blinds

Keep your blinds closed, especially on north and west-facing windows, to significantly cool your home. Better yet, invest in some block-out curtains to shield your home from that harsh summer sun.

2. Block the heat

Stopping heat getting into your house in the first place means spending less on cooling. Shade windows and walls using external coverings, like blinds, awnings or large potted plants. Plant deciduous trees that cast shade over your home in summer, but still let the sun shine through in winter. If you can, invest in window tinting and top up your ceiling insulation – it’ll help keep the warmth in in winter, too.

3. Just 1 oC more

If you must use your air-conditioner, set the thermostat to between 24-27oC, or as high as you feel comfortable with. Increasing your thermostat by just 1oC in warm weather can reduce the running cost of your appliance by about 10 per cent.

If you’re looking to upgrade your air-conditioner, pick one with a high energy-star rating and do your research to ensure you choose the right type of air-conditioner for your home.

4. Adjust ceiling fans

Sometimes you might feel like ceiling fans just push the hot air around your home rather than cool it down. Well you’re not wrong – fans that aren’t rotating counter-clockwise may be doing just that!

Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise in summer to pull hot air toward the ceiling and clockwise in winter to push it down. Ceiling fans can also be used complement other cooling types, so checking they rotate in the correct direction can make a world of difference to the temperature of your home.

5. Close doors and seal gaps

Close doors to rooms you aren’t using to keep cool air where you need it most. Seal gaps around doors and windows, and use draught excluders to ensure the cool air can’t escape.

Note: evaporative air-conditioners will be more effective if you open some doors and windows to increase air flow through the home.

6. Hang out in the evening

Closing your windows and staying inside may be a great idea during the day, but when it gets cooler in the evening you may want to open your house up to cool your home naturally – just make sure you lock up overnight!

Cooking dinner in the backyard or at the park may be a cooler alternative to being in a steamy kitchen too, so make the most of a cool breeze when you can.

7. Chill out, not chill on

Sip icy-cold drinks, apply a damp cloth to your neck and other pressure points on your body, or have a cold shower to cool your body without needing to switch the air-conditioner on.

8. Hack a fan

No air-con? No worries! A cleverly-positioned bowl of ice is all you need to turn a fan into a cold mist machine. Place a shallow bowl or pan of ice in front of a fan for an icy-cool breeze that won’t break the bank.

9. Choose cotton

Cotton fabrics are super breathable and help cool your body. Wear light, loose clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton, and fit your bed with cotton sheets.

10. Change your lightbulbs

If you’re having trouble cooling your home and can’t work out why, incandescent lightbulbs might be to blame. These lightbulbs were phased out in Australia years ago, but many homes still use them. They produce a lot of heat, so switching to energy-saving bulbs can help cool your home and save heaps on energy costs – that’s a win-win!

Want to know more? Check out these tips for using and saving energy on your home cooling or download the free Energy Smart Saver book. There’s plenty of other ways that you can play your part in tackling global warming too – check out our blog for more information.

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