With summer just around the corner and with our expectation that summers will get hotter, it’s reasonable to expect more humid days with temperatures soaring well above 30°C. And it’s on those hot days with high humidity that the air conditioner takes a beating as we struggle to keep cool. (At least the Dawn Fraser Baths will be open to help us during the day.)
But other than chilling the air artificially, you might be wondering what other ways you can use to cool your home in the summer. There are several natural and easy-to-implement ways to beat the heat in the Inner West, including the ones below. Using natural cooling is more energy-efficient, too.
1. Add external awnings or shade cloth
Putting up external awnings (shutters and louvres will work too) or shade cloth in areas that get maximum sun exposure for the greater part of the day could help stave off the heat in those parts of your home. These keep the sun from heating up bricks, sandstone, glass and other materials that act as a thermal mass and retain the heat.
Make sure you choose sunscreen-quality fabrics that can reflect heat and UV rays. This way, you can protect your furniture from fading and wear and tear due to sun damage. You can use heavy-duty sailcloth for external shading. Alternatively, you might consider installing a veranda roof or a pergola.
2. Install window treatments with thermal backing
Adding window treatments is certainly one of the more budget-friendly tips to stay cool in summer. Opt for curtains or drapes with thermal backing, as these are made to block the sun and keep your home interior cooler. They’ll also help to insulate your home in winter.
Blinds can help regulate the heat, but their cooling effect might not be substantial – by a couple of degrees at best. However, sometimes a couple of degrees of heat can make all the difference.
3. Make the most of cross-ventilation
Although the heat can become almost unbearable, there are very few nights when Sydney doesn’t have at least a light breeze, so you can take advantage of cross-ventilation.
To implement this tip, open the doors and windows on different or opposite sides of a room to let the air in. The variation in air pressure from the different sources of ventilation will suck the cool air in and force out warm air. If you have skylights, keep those open too to let out the hot air. Try to take advantage of the prevailing breeze and take full advantage of the southerly busters that generally kick in after sweltering days.
4. Install ceiling fans
Although ceiling fans won’t protect you completely from the sweltering heat and awful humidity, circulating air can help make your home more comfortable. Using a ceiling fan in combination with your air conditioner can also reduce your energy consumption. Remember that fans cool people, not the air, so don’t run your fans when you aren’t at home.
5. Add a green wall
Green walls are a lot like vertical gardens and can be placed inside or outside your home as part of the cooling structure of your property. Your green wall could be a DIY standalone wall with plants lining it from top to bottom that stands away from your exterior wall but shades it, especially from the harsh western sun. For longer-term solutions, you might consider planting a deciduous climber like Boston ivy, a fast-growing shrub-like lilly-pilly or deciduous trees that shade your walls but allow the winter sun through for extra warmth.
Stay cool this summer
With the summer getting hotter, keeping cool in the heat can get challenging. But by implementing these simple tips, you can help make the summer heat and humidity more bearable — and enjoy the summer season, too.
Looking for help selling your home or renting your investment property? Our team at Belle Property Balmain support homeowners across Balmain, Balmain East, Birchgrove, Rozelle and Lilyfield. Feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation discussion or property appraisal.