Keeping your house cool can be expensive. It boggles the mind to think about what people did before air-con. If you air-con has ever broken, you will feel the pain.
There are other ways to keep your house cool. The best part is that most of them are cheaper to run than air-con, although some require set-up costs.
I've compiled a list of ways to keep the house cool without air-con. They use less energy than the air-con does, so they are also more environmentally friendly.
Flick on the fan
It is important to keep the air in the house moving. The breeze will cool down your body. Sitting underneath the fan, or directly in front of it (if it is a floor fan) will cool you down, even if it does not bring the room temperature down significantly.
Become a hobbit
Close the blinds and stop the sunshine getting in. Block the sunshine from getting inside from lunchtime into the afternoon when it is hottest. On our home, we have retractable sunshades outside our large windows, which stop the sunshine before it gets inside – it works better than blinds to keep the house cool, but they are more expensive to buy and install.
Insulation is not just for houses in cool climates trying to keep the heat in. Insulation stops heat transfer both ways. Proper insulation will keep the cool air inside your home and the hot air outside. If you are going to use an air conditioner then you will be wasting a lot of energy if your home isn't insulated.
Check for leaks
This is again, not just something for houses in cool climates. Check under doors and around windows for gaps where cool air may be leaking. Just a few mm underneath a door can add up – if your door is over half a meter long, and there is a gap of a few mm – this adds up to a gap of a few cm's!
Use heavy appliances at night
The oven, the dryer, the washing machine, the dishwasher – they all give off a lot of heat when you run them. Running these devices at night when it is cooler will mean that you don't have to heat up the house when running them, just to cool it down again.
Dehumidifiers suck the moisture out of the air. Use a dehumidifier which turns on when the humidity reaches over 60%, rather than one which is running continuously. Often the heat is far more bearable when it is a dry heat. The water from a dehumidifier can also be used to water the garden outside – an added bonus for when you have water restrictions in your region.
Shut up the house
When you spend most of your time in one room of the house, do you still keep the doors open and cool the entire house with your air-con? Just like in a home you are trying to keep warm, shutting your doors means it will take less energy to keep the room at the optimum temperature. Confine the cold air to where it is needed most.
Cool your home down at night time by leaving the windows open. Just make sure you invest in solid netting to keep bugs out. Cool the house at night and with the methods above to keep it cool during the day, you will feel a lot more comfortable in a stinking hot summer.