While spending hot summer days vegging out in the aircon is an iconic Queensland pastime, we don’t always love the bills associated (and we don’t all have the luxury of having an air-conditioning unit installed!). If you’re battling the summer sizzle and looking for ways to cut your power bills down this summer, there are a few things you can do to cool your abode and introduce more ventilation (and less expense) into your home life that doesn’t require a power switch!
Get some good curtains
While you may already be accustomed to shutting out the light with the blinds you already have, if you invest in some thick, block-out curtains they will make a world of difference to how much heat they actually keep out. You can also get heat-reflecting window films that go on clear and reduce glare, heat and the amount of UV entering your home.
Timing is key
The less heat you allow to build up inside your home, the cooler it will be. By closing your windows and curtains first thing in the morning, it stops your home from heating up in the first place. When it feels cooler outside than in, then it’s time to open up the windows to let cool breezes flow through your home.
Keep it tight
When your home is cool, close off doors to other rooms such as the bathroom to keep the main living areas temperature controlled. Draught stoppers are not only good for winter to keep the cool air out, but they’re also great for summer too to keep out hot air. Open everything up in the evening to let cool air flow through all of the rooms.
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Get the right fabrics
The right materials in your soft furnishings can make a big difference to how you feel in the heat. Think of sweating it out on a velvet couch in the middle of summer as opposed to one that is breathable cotton or linen. We know which we’d prefer. Keep your cooler weather throws, cushions and so on in the cupboard until the weather cools down. The same goes for your bedding – you’ll have a better night’s sleep for it.
Turn off devices
Some electronic devices, even when they’re not in use, can generate heat. Switch them off at the wall when you’re not using them to avoid any added heat and you’ll save money on your power bills as well.
Fans are the next best thing
Yes, they require switching on, but ceilings fans are as much of a staple in Queensland Homes as Vegemite, and they’re fuss-free and inexpensive to run, costing as little as 2c per hour (and are fairly cheap to install, too – bonus!). Plus, ceiling fans have come a long way from the classic white three blade – there are some stunning designs out there. Unfortunately, the downside of the humble fan is they don’t actually cool the air, they just create breezes (which is nice and cooling if you’re already sweating).
Plant a tree
Well-placed shrubbery and plants can reduce the heat coming into your home by not only creating shade, but they can cut down the amount of heat exposure on your home. Think of planting some vertical gardens or trellises on the side of the house but remember to choose plants that need a lot of sun and not so much water (natives are a great choice). Similarly, you could install some shade sails or outdoor blinds on the exterior of your home to create shade.