We are all on a mission to keep our homes cool this summer

It’s hot out there, baby, and this summer we are all on a mission.
One: Not to get caught in a fire.
Two: Not to be so sticky we can’t sleep.
And three: Not to throw carbon at the problem by using environmentally friendly ways to keep our home cool this summer.

First, we make sure our ship is tight.

Roof insulation

Living in an oven isn’t fun. Roof insulation stops those rays penetrating right down and turning your place into a sauna. Yes, insulation keeps us warm in winter. But it keeps our home cool in summer as well.

That makes it our number one recommendation. While it may cost a little, there are plenty of places that will give you a free quote to install. It’s the Christmas gift that gives you an Easter gift as well because it will lower your energy consumption and thereby your heating and cooling bills for a long time.

On average, it is between $40 and $100 per square metre installed.


Blinds and Curtains

Originally, blackout curtains were used in WW2 to hide light from Nazi air raids. Since summer in Australia feels a bit like the war, they’re making a comeback.

Blackout or blockout curtains light in colour (not U-boat black) and have a white backing are the best. They can keep heat and light out from coming into your home. One source says that windows are responsible for up to 87% of heat coming into a house, and these drapes will reduce that hugely.

You can usually buy them pre-made and install yourself, or you can have then installed.

Good drapery is a year-round good investment that helps us from trashing our planet and help keep our home cool in the summer.

yellow and green external doors

Seal Doors and Gaps

When your home is properly sealed, it will prevent hot air coming in. Yes, it also prevents the warm air escaping in winter, so it makes sense to seal or repair the doors and windows of your home. The Australian Government says it can reduce emissions and energy bills by up to 25%.

Poorly fitted or shrunken floor boards are another source of air leakage/hot air seeping in. Good seals around doors and windows will help keep our home cool in summer.

These are different DIY products that can help plug the gaps, such as TimberMate and dowel strips around the skirting.

Get yourself a weather-tight ship, then we are good to get coolin’.


Ice Fan Trick

You probably know this one already. You put some ice in a bowl in front of your table fan, voila, cool breezes ensue. Until the ice melts. But…voila!  it also works with a bowl of water.

The ice fan trick works similarly to an evaporative cooler, which is very effective and uses less power than air conditioning units.


Skilful Air Con

There are two types of people in this world. Those who use air-conditioners skillfully. And those who do not. You know them. They pump the heater up to 30 degrees in winter because they feel cooold. And in summer, well, ten degrees would be about right? Plus, they open the window to get that breeze! Oh dear.

The skilled air-con practitioner understands that a summer temperature is best set as high as is comfortable. The recommendation by Daikin is not to set it any lower than 8 degrees of what it is outside.  This is because we want our bodies to feel comfortable but not chilly. Every 1 degree contributes  of carbon emissions. Armed with this knowledge, you can now become one-of-those-special-people who shares it with the common planetary vandals.

Finally, before cranking up the old girl, give the filters of your air-con a good clean so she’s running at her best to keep your home cool this summer.

Got a spare esky, solar panel, a small fan, and a bag of ice? We also like this video that shows you how to make your own a solar-powered air conditioner.


Plants for Shading

Much of the heat comes into our home through our windows, especially the afternoon west-facing glass.

Planting trees or roses, bushes or maidenhair ferns, anything that can shade or dapple the light will help keep us cooler.

On the inside, get some shading or shutters if you can. If you can’t or you’re in an apartment, try some indoor plants near that window to help absorb the rays.

Indoor plants keep your home interiors cool this summer. You could use Ficus, Chinese evergreen, or the very stylish Monstera Deliciosa to match the wallpaper and all those throw cushions.

people cooking outside

Cook Outdoors

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s also the combustion engine.

If it’s hot outside, rethink the baked dinner. The oven will add heat to the kitchen and that will heat the whole house or apartment. It seems like common sense. But commonsense is not common practice, and many times we notice people roasting frozen foods and then using the air-con to cool the hot room.

To keep your home cool this summer, how about a few outdoor picnic dinners or barbecues?


Parting Words

If your home design is the source of great exasperation, we can always help you renovate, extend or make an addition at Design Plus Drafting,  Residential Architectural Designers in Sydney and surrounding areas. We can deliver the 3D plans for the home you’ll love. And get it through council.

In the meantime, we hope these handy hints will keep you cool this summer.

And thank you for not trashing our planet.