We're all thinking it... it's way too hot at the moment. Heatwave or not, this weather's good for afternoon naps and that's about it (the Spanish are definitely on to something there...)
Although we can find ways to quickly cool down, such as swimming at the beach/in a pool or by having a cold shower, it can be difficult to know how to keep our homes continuously cool, or cooler, during a Kiwi summer without fainting at the sight of our next power bill - thanks to having the air-conditioning on 24/7 or cleaning The Warehouse out of all their fans and running them at full blast.
With that in mind, we've put together five tips on how to keep your home cool (regardless of where you are in NZ) - in a more economical way!
Make sure your fan is turning/facing the right way
In summer, the cooling wind chill effect from a fan on your skin can make a room feel up to 8 degrees colder (yes really!) and reduce air conditioning bills by 40%. However to be effective, you need to ensure your ceiling fan is rotating counter-clockwise to push the cool air downwards. If you are using a pedestal fan, make sure it's pointing towards the window - it will blow the hot air in the room out, letting the cooler air from outside in. It pays to have another window open if possible to get a cross-draft going too.
Shut the windows and doors early in the morning
It’s natural to want to open doors and windows to let the ‘fresh’ air in, especially first thing in the morning. But the likelihood is the outdoor temperature is going to be warmer than indoors by mid-morning so close the doors and windows and keep that cooler air inside. If the temperature is due to drop overnight, throw your windows open before you go to bed and allow the cooler breeze in.
Close your blinds or curtains
According to research from Family Handyman, up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows so if your windows get direct sun, shut the blinds or curtains to prevent the heat from the sun warming the air inside the house. If you're finding you're needing to keep the curtains shut for most of the day to keep heat out, a Solatube daylighting system may be worth looking into - you'll still get all the natural light you need but without any harmful UV rays or heat!
Cool your roof cavity
Did you know that a New Zealand home’s roof cavity can reach up to 60 - 70 degrees Celsius on a hot summer’s day? That’s hot enough to fry an egg! And the worst thing is it’s the leading cause of heating up your home - it's just like having a thick blanket draped over your roof. You can actually cool your roof cavity with a solar-powered roof ventilation system which will help your aircon units or fans inside the home work more efficiently.
Ditch the incandescent lights
If you still have any incandescent light bulbs in your home, now is the time to get rid of them. Incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of their energy in the heat they emit, so replacing them will make a small difference in cooling your home while lowering your power bill.