With our summers getting hotter and hotter, installing an air-conditioning system is sometimes necessary. Otherwise, an apartment can quickly turn into a sauna! Even if you have a heat pump or other system to cool your air, exploring ways of cooling your home naturally can be very interesting. Also, employing natural cooling will help reduce your energy costs.
Install Reflective Curtains
You can install sunlight-reflecting curtains to prevent overheating in rooms where the sun is shining. You could also make panels from aluminum foil and cardboard, like the ones used in car windshields.
Multiply Green Plants
Growing climbing plants on your exterior walls is very effective for cooling a house, as they filter the sun’s rays. Make sure the plants are on walls facing the sun.
Even indoor green plants can help cool your living environment through their transpiration. They’ll also purify your air, which will be very handy on smoggy days.
Create Air Currents
In winter, we hunt drafts off; in summer, we look for them! But be careful not to let the heat in. To create an effective air movement, open opposite windows, especially at night. During the day, close the windows as soon as you feel the warm air coming in.
Use a Wet Sheet
This ancient technique is still used in many hot countries. The concept is simple: a wet towel or sheet is placed in an open window. The cloth blocks the sun’s rays, and the water evaporating from the fabric cools the room. You can also use this technique in a door frame.
Unplug Unused Appliances
Virtually every electronic device produces some heat. You’ll avoid an additional heat source by unplugging those you’re not using. You should also consider changing your regular light bulbs for LEDs, which emit much less heat. To go one step further, consider replacing your old appliances with energy-efficient ones. These generally consume a lot of energy and give off much heat.
Insulate Your Home
In winter, just as in summer, good insulation will save you a lot of trouble. Anything that works in winter to keep out the cold also works in summer to keep out the heat! Check air holes, ducts, dryer vents, old windows, etc.
Use a Spray Bottle
If the humidity level is not saturated, a fine mist will soon refresh you, thanks to evaporation. You can use a simple spray bottle filled with fresh water. You can even add a few drops of citrus or mint essential oil for an extra cooling effect.
Keep Yourself Cool First
In the middle of a heatwave, make sure you stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Carry an insulated water bottle to keep your fluids cool all day long. Choose clothes and sheets made from natural fibres such as cotton, linen, or bamboo. This will prevent you from sweating excessively.
Adapt your diet too, preferring salads or other fresh dishes. If you avoid using the oven or frying pans, you won’t heat your kitchen.
Shutters let the air circulate but block the sun’s rays, reducing the heat that comes in. They are particularly effective if your home is well-insulated. The best shutters are the retractable type, widely seen in Europe. Their popularity is growing in Canada.
Use a Fan
A fan may not fall into the natural cooling category per se, but it can be very effective during heat waves. For an added cooling effect, place a washcloth or damp cloth on the front of the fan. You can recreate the effect of wet sheets on a window.
For ceiling fans, change their direction. By turning the blades counter-clockwise, you can create a pleasant breeze.
A Few Extra Tips
On a larger scale, if you’re ready for renovations, buying a new home, or even building one, several strategies will ensure a comfortable home, even during the worst heat waves. For example, simply painting the house a light colour will give you a cooler home.
There are also what are known as passive houses: these are homes specially designed and oriented to require less heating and less air conditioning. Window overhangs are the perfect size to block the sun’s rays in summer but let them penetrate the house in winter when the sun is lower on the horizon.
You can also plant leafy trees, especially on your house’s east and west sides. This will prevent the sun from beating down on your home in the morning and afternoon. Since they’re deciduous, you’ll get all the sun you want during the winter.
Finally, even if you already have a heat pump or air conditioner, there’s nothing to stop you from using these natural cooling strategies to stay even cooler! Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out which cooling strategy is right for you.