Here comes the sun! With summer well and truly here, it’s time to turn your attention to beating the heat. Electricity prices can spiral in a heatwave, so get ahead of the game with four great ways to summer proof your home.
Curtains, Blinds and Window Shades
Quality curtains or blinds can dramatically reduce the temperature of a room, especially on windows that the sun hits directly. Look for curtains or blinds made from block out material for the best results. Keep them closed during the heat of the day and open them up in the late afternoon or evening once the sun is lower in the sky.
For windows that receive direct sunlight, you may want to consider installing an external shade or blind for extra protection. Options range from simple fabric awnings to timber or aluminium privacy screens to automatic security blinds. Some of these can be installed yourself, subject to council or body corporate approval, and others are better left to the professionals.
Finally, you could consider using plants in pots, containers or in the garden, to cast shade on your windows and provide a cool, green outlook.
Fabrics and Furnishings
A cost-effective and easy way to make your home feel cooler is to take a look at your fabrics and furnishings. Swap out heavier fabrics, like flannelette sheets, heavy throws and thick rugs, and replace them with lighter options such as cotton and linen. Replace the throw on your couch with a few bright cushions, swap the thick pile rug for a flat weave rug and use cotton sheets instead of flannelette – you’ll feel much cooler.
Have your air-conditioning serviced (and consider ceiling fans)
It can be difficult, if not impossible, to get through an Australian summer without air-conditioning in some areas of the country. So, if you do have to turn it on, you want to make sure it is working efficiently.
Make sure the filters are cleaned regularly and the area around the outdoor unit is free of debris. Having your air conditioner checked by a qualified technician, before the most extreme summer conditions hit, will ensure your air-conditioning is running well. After all, you don’t want your air conditioner breaking down in the middle of a heatwave!
Ceiling fans are another efficient and effective way of cooling your home. They are quite affordable to have installed, will enhance the performance of your air-conditioner and allow you to take advantage of cool morning and evening breezes. You may not need to use the air-conditioner at all on some days.
Of course, make sure you engage a qualified professional to service your air-conditioner and install ceiling fans.
Switching to double glazed windows is a somewhat more expensive project, but incredibly effective. Many houses in Australia are built with single glazed windows. Double glazed windows are used extensively in homes across Europe and the UK.
They use two panes of glass, hermetically sealed with a space in between filled with argon gas. This technique dramatically improves the insulation properties of glass – maintaining cooler temperatures in summer, reducing heat loss in the winter and reducing external noise.
There are several double-glazing solutions on the market that can be retrofitted to an existing house, many of which won’t change the appearance of your windows at all. If you have a little bit of cash in the home improvement fund, this is definitely a project worth investigating.
A few changes can keep the power bills down so you can relax and enjoy the sun!