Back in time, there were many simple and sustainable things you could do to keep the sweats at bay when the heat was bearing down, but these days we simply flip a switch and indulge in the coolness, and guzzle up huge amounts of energy while we do so.
We are forgetting the fact that we survived well enough before modern air conditioning units were introduced, and that there are other ways to cool down with less energy reliance and better sustainability. Reduce your dependence and live a little bit more sustainably with these tips.
Increase Circulation and Cool with Fans
Ever since the widespread use of air conditioning units, us humans have found it very difficult not to use them when the weather gets hot and humid. In humid conditions, air conditioning is much more effective than using fans, but if conditions are dry enough, well placed fans can significantly reduce the need for air conditioning.
Heat rises, so top-floor extractor vents and ceiling fans are best for moving the hot air outside. Simply redistributing the air around the home is not enough – it needs to be extracted outside. Even larger fans require a fraction of the electricity needed to power air conditioning units.
If you live in a dry, hot area, but have had little luck with electric fans in the past, the problem might lie with sources of humidity in your home. This might be the case if you cook and boil water during the day, or do not properly ventilate the kitchen and washing rooms, have lots of bare ground underneath the crawl space or have no exterior venting for clothes dryers. Washers and driers generate lots of heat and humidity
There is little point in cooling rooms that you do not use during the day, so close the door and make sure the door is well sealed. Make sure you don’t let unoccupied rooms turn into heaters; any south facing rooms should be well shaded with thick drapes. Washer and dryer rooms are the hottest and most humid, so keep them well-isolated and try to limit their usage to the mornings and evenings; use a line to dry clothes during the day.
Shading Your Home
Blocking your home from the sun’s rays is the most effective method of naturally keeping your home cool, reducing the strain on your air conditioning system and cutting cooling costs. Carefully placed trees, shrubs and vines are excellent because they block sunlight and help to cool the air coming into your home. Light-coloured drapes and shade screens reflect lots of sunlight.
Caring for Your Air Conditioner
The more you maintain your air conditioner the less you will need to rely on it. Room air conditioners should have the filters rinsed and cleaned every month over the summer months, and for central air conditioners the condenser unit should be serviced by a professional at least once every two years. The air flow needs to be as efficient as possible so keep the inlets and outlets clean and free from dust and dirt.