Keep your house cool without blowing your budget
Summer months in Victoria can be stifling. Running air conditioners day and night can be an expensive exercise with rising energy costs, not to the mention the negative impact on the environment.
The refreshing news is that there are some simple and inexpensive ways to keep your house cool and your budget happy.
Keep windows and doors (mostly) shut
An effective way to to achieve a cool house is to keep the heat out in the first place. Close doors and windows in the morning before the temperature starts to rise, and keep them closed while its hot outside.
Windows are one of the biggest heat generators in a house, so make sure all curtains and blinds on windows that get direct sunlight are closed. If you’re looking to upgrade your window coverings, black out curtains can provide an extra layer of defence. Light coloured curtains and blinds also help reflect, rather than absorb, sun and heat.
Ventilation and airflow are important. If you have rooms that go largely unused, like a study or guest bedroom, keep the internal doors to these rooms shut. To get fresh, cool air in, open the curtains and windows at night when temperatures cool down. If temperatures are predicted to remain high overnight, running fans will help provide some ventilation, by keeping the air moving.
Make the most of fans
Fans can be great in summer – and even winter – if you know how to use them. Check that your ceiling fans are set to run counter clockwise as this will draw hot air up while circulating cool air down. Conversely, in winter, you want to reverse this to push warm air down!
You’re probably already running your exhaust fans over the oven and in the bathroom when they’re in use. Consider running these for longer periods of time than at milder times of the year, to ensure all the heat generated by these areas is pulled out of your home.
If you’re spending time in a smaller room, for example your bedroom, place a metal bowl with ice in front of the airflow of your fan to get an extra chill on the air being ventilated.
Finally, you could consider installing a whole house fan. Whole house fans work by removing hot air from the house and exhausting it through the attic or roof space. It’s not a cheap option, but the initial investment could save you a bundle on air conditioning expenses in the long run.
Consider your sleeping arrangements
The fabric in the bed linen you sleep in can make a difference to how comfortable you feel on a hot night. Look at natural linens or cottons as a priority for a comfortable choice of bed sheets for the summer months. Consider upgrading to low heat mattress, doona and pillow too.
Hot air rises, so if you live in a multi-story dwelling with the bedrooms upstairs, consider temporarily sleeping on the ground floor on really hot nights.
Limit heat generating activities
Whitegoods and electrical appliances generate heat. Delay heat generating chores like laundry and dish washing until the cooler part of the evening. It might seem obvious, but try not to use your oven or stove top. On really hot days takeaway meals or barbequing outside are much less stifling options.
Cool yourself from the inside out
You can spend less energy keeping your environment cool by considering ways to keep your body cool. Some tips to keep your body cool include:
- Stay inside in the coolest part of your home when its the hottest part of the day
- Head out to an air-conditioned shopping centre and make a day out of it
- Drink plenty of iced water and prepare and eat cool meals such as a salad
- Wear light clothing in fabrics like cotton and linen
- Take a cold bath or shower before you reach boiling point!
- Use wet wash cloths on your neck, wrists and feet, and wet a bandana or scarf to wrap around your head.
Run your cooler efficiently
Some days are just too hot and the powered cooling needs to go on. On those days the following tips can make sure your cooler runs efficiently to minimise costs:
- Have your air conditioner serviced regularly, every six to twelve months
- Clean out filters every four weeks
- For maintaining a comfortable temperature, set the thermostat to between 24-26°C in summer and 18-20°C in winter
- Keep the outside component of your cooling system in the cover of shade, to prevent it from overheating
- Set timers so you don’t have the unit running when it’s not needed (for example, overnight).
Beat the heat and move in to an RCA village
Housing in our villages are designed with energy efficiency in mind and have a 6-star sustainability rating.
The Victorian Building Association states that a 6-star rated home is 20-25% more energy efficient than a 5-star rating, and can save up to $100 per year on energy bills. Learn more about RCA’s energy efficient design.
Anna Rogan | Content Services Melbourne
If you are interested in exploring the possibility of a move to a modern retirement village around Melbourne. Booking a tour at one of the RCA Villages around Melbourne can be a great place to start. Visit the website of the village in the region you would like to visit for contact details.
South East Melbourne
Ask about RCA Villages no deposit reservation process on new villas.