It’s no secret that the heat during a Melbourne summer can be relentless and intense. If you’re tired of the heat knocking you around, it’s easy to start implementing some simple features and methods around your home to keep it cooler. We’ve compiled these 5 straightforward tips for keeping your house cool in summer and all year round when needed. Not only do these tips help you keep your home cool, though some may also help you save on power costs.
Close Your Blinds During the Day
We see many scenarios where people simply don’t close their blinds during the intense heat of some days. The direct sun striking windows can be a huge cause of heat in a house, where the sun causes your windows to act like radiators. Close your blinds / curtains during the day to reflect the sun / heat and create a barrier, reducing the amount of heat entering your home through the windows.
Close up Your Home During the Day and Open it Up During the Night
As the heat increases during the day, close up your home before it becomes too hot so that the temperature inside your home is cooler than outside. Once the temperature outside drops significantly and is less than the temperature inside, open up your house to let the cool fresh air in.
Use a thermometer system with multiple thermometer inputs that can read both the outside and inside temperature. Through this, you can identify when the outside of your home is cooler or warmer than the inside, thus opening or closing your home to suit. Be careful to not be fooled with a breeze on a warm day, which may feel okay at first but could just blow warm air throughout your home and heat it up.
This tip may not be as effective if your home is not insulated, though quality blockout curtains, shutters and awnings will assist greatly with window heat transference.
Keep in mind the security of your home and what windows and doors you would want open in relation to this.
Invest in Awnings and Blockout Curtains
When hit by the full sun, windows can emit as much heat as radiators in some cases (if not more). A high quality awning will allow you to quickly and effectively shade your windows and stop the full force of the sun hitting and heating up your home through your windows. A variety of awnings and materials are available to suit your home and conditions, including and not limited to: folding arm awnings, drop arm awnings and metal awnings (designed to withstand extreme weather conditions for long periods such as hail, dangerous winds and flying debris).
Blockout curtains and in particular, thermal blockout curtains are designed to create an insulating barrier, keeping your house cool in the warm periods of the year and the warmth inside during the cold periods of the year. The style, size and colour of blockout curtains can be customised to suit your home.
Automated motorised awnings, blinds, screens and curtains are available which give you the ability to easily and quickly open and close your shading solutions at the touch of a button. We recommend that generally all awnings over 6 metres are motorised.
Use LED Light Bulbs
Switching your light bulbs to LEDs can create a difference in terms of keeping your room and the surrounding area cool, plus may save on electricity costs.
Incandescent light bulbs release around 90% of their energy as heat as they use electricity to heat a metal filament until it becomes “white” hot or as the name implies, incandesce. Quality LED light bulbs use a variety of heat sink features to manage and immensely reduce the heat they output (Energy Star).
Alongside the benefit of producing less heat, LED light bulbs use about 75% less energy and last 5-10 times longer, according to Energy.gov.au. The upfront costs of LEDs in cases have an average payback time of less than 1 year, plus the technology of LEDs is constantly improving (leading to a potentially longer life and less heat output for some bulbs).
Grill Your Food Outside
Using your oven, stove top and grill indoors can generate a lot of unwanted heat during summer. If you have one, make effective use of your outdoor living space by cooking your food outside during hot days. Use of Ziptrak blinds, cafe blinds and aluminium shutters in your outdoor space gives you the ability to control the sunlight you let in, plus keep pests such as flies and mosquitoes away from your outdoor living area. What better excuse than manoeuvring around the summer heat to make use of your outdoor living area?
Bonus Tip: Trees are Effective Shading
A well placed tree or group of trees can provide a considerable difference with keeping your space cool during the heat.
Unfortunately not everyone is fortunate enough to have a home that can be shaded by trees, such as if you’re living in a dense high-rise or have a landlord who is a bit trigger happy with chopping down trees. None the less, if you have the opportunity to do so, make use of the large trees around you or plant trees with the aim of them providing shading over your home. It’s a long term plan in many senses, though with a well placed tree, you could significantly reduce the heat that reaches your home.
Of course with planting trees near your home, be sure to check that they won’t create a fire risk, block light coming to your solar panels if you have them, cause damage by their roots to plumbing or foundations, and be sure to keep an eye on your gutters in regards to fallen leaves.
One other factor with planting trees for summer shade is that you may not want to block the winter sun from warming your home. Well placed deciduous trees that lose their leaves during the colder months and then let the sun through may be ideal for your situation.