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MAINTAINING A HOME

10 energy efficient ways to cool your home

09 December 2019

We can already feel the change in the air – summer has arrived! But before you reach for the air con remote, check out these energy efficient ways to cool your home. They’ll help keep your comfort levels high and your power bill low. Your wallet and your planet will thank you!

1. Keep your cool

Spending time in hot and humid weather (i.e., a pretty big chunk of Australia!) can cause your body temperature to rise. So before making changes to your home, why not try these easy hacks for an instant cool-down?

  • Digesting food raises your body temperature, so opt for lighter meals and snacks. Acai bowls for lunch? Yes please!
  • Drink lots of water and eat hydrating foods like watermelon and cucumber. Add some ice and make a smoothie for bonus cool points!
  • Exercise at the coolest time of the day.
  • Pop your feet in cold water, sit down and relax.
  • Use aloe vera to cool and moisturise the skin.
  • Take a cold shower. Hot water makes up 25 per cent of household energy use in the average home. So, you’ll not only feel great, you’ll save money too!
  • Wear breathable fabrics like cotton and avoid synthetic materials.

2. Shine a light on your lighting

90 per cent of the energy used by incandescent bulbs is given off as heat, which means that energy is going to waste. Switching to CFLs and LEDs and turning lights off when you’re not in the room can keep your home cooler, while also lowering your electricity bill. This is especially relevant as the festive season approaches; LED Christmas lights will use less electricity and last longer. Remember to turn them off when you go out or go to bed!

3. Avoid using the stove

Using your stove and oven will add a lot of unwanted heat to your home. Taking the kitchen outdoors and enjoying a backyard barbeque is a great way to avoid this. Better yet, plan meals that don’t need cooking or heating up, or slow cook a meal overnight when the heat won’t bother you!

4. Invest in indoor plants

Indoor plants are all the rage, but did you know they could save you money? Not only do they look great, they can also help cool your home naturally! Certain species absorb hot air and convert it to cool moisture and oxygen. Some of these include aloe vera (great to treat summer sunburn too!), devil’s ivy and peace lily. They may also do an excellent job of purifying the air and brightening up a room – for not much money at all.

5. Check your home insulation

In-wall and in-roof insulation helps keep the cool in and the heat out in summer (and vice versa in winter). Without it, all the heat that builds up in your roof will conduct through your ceiling, and this can significantly warm your home. An easy way to test this is to touch your ceiling on a hot day. If it’s warm, it might be worthwhile getting a builder over to check that you have enough insulation and that it’s working as it should.

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6. Use your ceiling fan

Ceiling fans can cost as little as 2c per hour to run (as opposed to a split-system air conditioner costing 33-40c an hour) making them a cost-effective way to cool down a room. The downside of ceiling fans is the distinct lack of “chill” – some days it can feel more like a whirlwind of hot air. Using them in tandem with your air conditioner can be an inexpensive way to get the best of both worlds. Try running the air conditioner for a short period when you enter your home or room, then using the ceiling fan to circulate the colder air.

7. Block the sun with blinds and curtains

Keeping blinds closed and curtains drawn during the day will help keep heat from entering your home in the first place. This will stop your air conditioner from working as hard (if you choose to use it) and will also prove useful in winter when you want to keep the warm air in! Blockout curtains and blinds provide even more bang for your buck, especially if you opt for light-coloured ones with a white plastic backing.

8. Use summer-friendly bed linen

Synthetic fibres are known for being poor ventilators. Natural fibres, on the other hand, are breathable and lightweight, so investing in cotton or bamboo sheets could help you get a great night’s sleep without having to reach for the AC remote. Plus, they’re also better for the environment! Light-coloured bedding will also help keep you cool, as dark colours absorb light and retain heat, especially if you have large windows facing the western afternoon sun.

9. Clean your air conditioning vents

If you choose to use it, your air conditioner will be more efficient and effective if you give it some love, like cleaning the filter and ensuring the outside motor is well shaded. Regular maintenance can help reduce your energy bills by up to 30 per cent! The same goes for ceiling fans – making sure they’re dust free and polished can help them run faster and improve their ability to circulate air.

10. Unplug appliances

Appliances can generate heat even when they’re not being used. Getting in the habit of unplugging even the smallest appliances, like your toaster, hair straightener, fans and chargers, could stop unwanted heat from being produced (and reduce your energy bill). Why make a hot home even hotter?!

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Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.

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