How To: Cool Your Home for Summer

The weather is starting to heat up here in Australia so I thought it was about time I shared some tips to cool your home for summer without having to crank the air-conditioner, saving you money and reducing your impact on the planet. For those of you in the northern hemisphere, you might be better off with my winter warming tips instead!

Much like the post I did back in winter, these tips are for the most part applicable no matter whether you live in an apartment or a house, and whether you are renting or are in your own home. I can’t guarantee they will keep you cool in a stretch of 40+ days, but hopefully they will at least help make things easier to cope with, and if you do have an air-conditioner you won’t have to have it blasting at full speed!

How To Cool Your Home For Summer

Block Air Drafts

Drafts aren’t just a problem with cold air in winter, they are problematic in summer as well. You want to keep all the warm outside air out for as long as possible, so it’s important to fill any gaps around windows and doors with gap sealers, or for a less permanent option, a door snake. They’re a cheap option that really do make a difference!

Use Fans Properly

Fans should be used to cool the person not the room, so don’t leave them on once you leave a room, they’ll be doing nothing! If you need new fans go to the ceiling fan shop located in Singapore. If your ceiling fans spin in both directions then they should be going anti-clockwise in summer, so make sure you’re not pushing that hot air back down on to you by mistake! If you have a standing fan then the most effective way to cool yourself is to spray yourself with cold water whilst standing in front of the fan, or if you’re trying to sleep then place a bucket of ice or cold water in front of the fan, and position it close to you. Having the ice or water will mean the air that reaches you will be much cooler than just pushing warm air around your room. It really works, I promise!

Keep a Wet Cloth in the Fridge or Freezer

Putting a wet cloth straight from the fridge or freezer onto your feet or the back of the neck will help to quickly lower your body temperature and can be an easy way to keep cool, particularly when you’re trying to sleep. Sure, your bed might get a little wet but it’s better than not sleeping! I find face washers particularly good for this as not only are they are absorbent but they are a good size for those key parts of your body.

Shade Your Windows

In order to keep as much of the harsh heat of the sun from your home it’s important to properly shade your windows, particularly any facing west and east. Do you want to protect your home? Of course you do! If you feel like you need Westral window shutters, visit the link to gain more information and avail expert services. This can be done in any number of ways, through the installation of awnings (which can be temporary or permanent), external louvers, or even plants. For more on the best windows which you can use for your house check out the Shuttercraft website.

Keep the House Closed Up

During the hottest part of the day you should close up all your curtains to keep out as much of the harsh sun and therefore heat as you possibly can. The thick, lined curtains I spoke about back in my winter warming tips are equally effective in summer and really reduce how much your home will heat up during the day. Once the outside air temperature cools down you want to open up as many windows and doors as you can, particularly if they are on opposite sides of your house to allow a cross-breeze and flush all the warm air out. Just watch out for mozzies!

Cool your home for summer

Turn off Lights & Electronics

Lights and electronic appliances emit heat even if they are on standby, so it’s best to switch off anything you don’t need to be using, not only will this reduce the amount of heat in your home but they’ll reduce your energy bills as well (which if you’re running fans and air-con you’ll be very grateful for!). Luckily daylight savings in the Eastern states means we get sunlight until quite late in the evening at the peak of summer so you can leave the lights off for quite some time without having to stumble around in the dark! It’s a good opportunity to switch off the TV and computer and do some simpler activities as well!

Eat Cold Meals

Just like in winter we gravitate towards hearty, warming meals in summer we should eat fresh, cool meals like salads. Not only does this mean we can avoid turning on our ovens and therefore heating our homes unnecessarily, but the cold food will help us stay a bit cooler as well. If you can’t live on salads alone then foods you can heat quickly on the stove is always a good option, or crank the bbq outside! If you do need to use the oven then it’s best to do it earlier in the day before the outside temperature gets too high, so mornings are your best time to get baking!

Wear Clothes Made of Natural Fibres

There’s nothing worse than your clothes sticking to you when the weather is warm and the best way to overcome this is to wear clothes made of natural fibres like cotton or bamboo. These fibres will be ‘breathable’ and can help wick moisture away from your body and help you feel cooler and more comfortable. This is also important for your bedding – cotton & bamboo sheets are your friends here too! Some great Australian online shops for natural clothes and bedding are Biome ^ and Ettitude, I recommend checking them both out!

Take Cool Showers Before Bed

If you’re worried about not being able to sleep it’s best to have a cool shower (not freezing cold, just cool) shortly before heading to bed as it will reduce your core body temperature and help you to fall asleep. Combined with the wet cloth from your freezer you’ll be fast asleep in no time (unless it’s day 4 of one of those 40+ stretches in which case I don’t think anything could have helped me sleep!)

Clean Your Air-Conditioner Filters

The start of summer is the ideal time to clean out your air-conditioner filters and doing so will mean your system will run more efficiently and effectively and therefore you won’t have to run it as strongly to have the same impact. This will save you money by reducing the amount of energy required, saving the planet at the same time!

So there we have it! My top tips for cooling your home for summer without having to rely on an expensive, power hungry air conditioner! By following these tips you should be able to avoid turning on your air-con a lot of the time, and when you do need to use it you won’t have to set the temperature quite so low. 21-22 degrees is generally an ideal temperature, there’s really no need to have it blasting out at 18 or 19 degrees, and each degree warmer you have it saves a significant amount of power, and therefore a significant amount of money! If you are interested in finding out more ways to keep your house cool, check out Live Your Aloha.

What are your top tips for cooling your home for summer? Did I miss anything?

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16 Comments on How To: Cool Your Home for Summer

  1. merilyn
    November 12, 2014 at 7:02 am (4 years ago)

    really good worthwhile tips here from a professional… doing good work in the world!a great post thankyou liz!
    love the tip about anti-clockwise in the summer for ceiling fans!
    doing most of those things! … we have an insulated white colorbond roof and it is amazing how much that helps … overhangs with balconies front and back east/west facing! … not perfect there! but still ok!
    it’s double story and downstairs remains cool most of the time … which is where my studio is! … we are near the sea so always get a sea breeze too! … trying to save the planet we hardly need and air conditioner!have a good day! love m:)X

    Reply
    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      November 12, 2014 at 7:59 am (4 years ago)

      Sounds like you’ve got it all sorted Merilyn! It’s amazing how much of a difference a white roof makes isn’t it? The balconies on your east and west at least help shade the windows somewhat, and that’s the main thing! xx

      Reply
  2. Jane Daly
    November 12, 2014 at 7:49 am (4 years ago)

    Great tips! Avoiding air con at peak times is so important, as is encouraging others to do so. Our peak energy consumption is what is driving electricity prices up and up so we all pay for this (even those who are not using the air con – we still pay through the increased prices!).

    For the long stretches of day-in-day out heat I recommend spending more time at the local library of an evening. Last summer a lot of libraries had extended opening hours into the night. Firstly, it’s free(!) and you can read books and magazines, play board games, use the wifi and just relax in a cool environment with the air con being shared with many more people so it is much more efficient. It takes the edge off so when returning back home if it is really hot still it is easier to get off to sleep.

    Also, remember the elderly! If you have an elderly neighbour who lives alone why not check in with them and see if they would like to accompany you to the library. A lot of elderly people die in the heat each summer and living on a pension they try to save money by leaving the air con off as it is too expensive. This is another reason to ration our air con and treat it as a precious resource – if we young/fit/healthy people can use less (or none at all), the prices won’t be driven so high from peak demand and then it will be more accessible for those who need it the most such as elderly people!

    Reply
    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      November 12, 2014 at 8:01 am (4 years ago)

      Excellent tips, thanks Jane. It’s so important we look out for vulnerable people like the elderly or people with chronic illness in heatwaves, I love the idea of taking them to the library with you!
      My local pool is outdoors and stays open late on very hot days so whilst the water isn’t exactly cold it’s definitely nice to just sit in their for as long as possible, it really does take the edge off!

      Reply
  3. Rebecca Clare
    November 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm (4 years ago)

    I find the old trick of drinking a warm beverage to be very comforting in balancing body temperature, despite it seeming counterintuitive.

    And for those of you with installed evaporative cooling systems, there are a bunch of effective operating tips that you should be able to track down online or in a manual. Tips like, using the exhaust setting at an off peak time to suck residual heat out of the roof cavity.

    Oh, and don’t forget the humble hand held fan, and its makeshift folded paper cousin. xx

    Reply
    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      November 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm (4 years ago)

      Ooh I’ve never lived anywhere with evaporative cooling, excellent tip lady! And yep, can’t forget the good ol’ handheld fan, it’s amazing how helpful they can be!

      Reply
    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      November 12, 2014 at 4:01 pm (4 years ago)

      Glad I could be of assistance!

      Reply
  4. Ally @ Om Nom Ally
    November 13, 2014 at 6:02 pm (4 years ago)

    I love this post, it’s gets ridiculously hot on the high temp days here in Melbourne and I’m glad to have some new tips to keep the house cooler without relying on the airconditioner. Have pinned the infographic as I know it’s going to come in handy later 🙂
    I would also add to the ‘cold food’ tip to drink peppermint tea (either freshly brewed or chilled as ice tea) and it’s a fabulously cooling herb. It might sound counterintuitive to drink a hot tea in summer, but the menthol content really does the job of cooling you down!
    Ally @ Om Nom Ally recently posted…Soft Molasses Almond Meal Cookies

    Reply
    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      November 14, 2014 at 7:00 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks Ally! Yes, I forgot about peppermint, thankyou! A peppermint spray for your face is also an easy way to cool yourself down – it’s amazing what one little herb can do!

      Reply
    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      November 16, 2014 at 4:42 pm (4 years ago)

      My pleasure! So glad I’ve been helpful! xx

      Reply
    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      November 17, 2014 at 8:14 pm (4 years ago)

      It’s amazing how much of a difference things like that can make, isn’t it! xx

      Reply
  5. Narit Thiptara
    June 6, 2016 at 8:13 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow!!
    This post is quite interesting..
    I think these are really the best tips you have shared..
    Additionally,get your air conditioner tuned and primed for optimal heavy duty performance.

    Typically, air conditioners are serviced quarterly.

    Make sure that you change the filters, and get the refrigerant and air ducts insulated for zero leaks.

    I also like the point of exhaust fan you have mentioned above this is the best best for ventilation. and help to reduce humidity..

    Thank you so much for this share..
    God bless U!!
    Keep doing good work.

    Reply
  6. Penelope Smith
    February 6, 2019 at 2:46 pm (2 months ago)

    This is some really good information about cooling your home when it is hot outside. It is good to know that you should try to use your fans properly. It might also be smart to look into evaporative cooling.

    Reply

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