With summer starting to really heat up, there are lots of inexpensive and low effort ways that Merri-bek residents can keep their homes cool.
Stop the heat from getting inside
Fixed shading, insulation, and passive house design all make a huge difference in keeping the heat out and cool air in but what if you are a bit short of time or money? Try these ideas:
- Shut doors and windows during the day and open during the evening to let through a cool breeze.
- Windows are the weakest link so buy or reuse some low-cost shade cloth to provide shade or reflective film to attach to the outside of your windows (attaching the fabric to the outside stops the sun heating up your windows).
- Keep your windows covered by closing your heavy curtains or blinds or cover with a blanket to stop direct sunlight coming into your home.
- Shrubs and trees can also cool the surfaces and air around your home through providing shade – deciduous tress allow the light and warmth back in at winter. Check with your local nursery for the best times to plant.
- Use rolled up towels placed along the bottom of doors to keep cool air in and hot air out. If it won’t damage your flooring damp towels can provide additional protection.
- Putting your feet in cold water helps to cool your whole body.
- Wearing a damp cotton scarf around your neck can help keep you cool.
- Spray your body with water and stand in front of a fan to increase the cooling effect – the fan will evaporate the water, cooling your skin.
Get smart with your appliances
Make sure your house isn’t accidentally heating itself this summer:
- Avoid using the oven during hot days – go for salads and foods that don’t require a lot of cooking, or bulk cook many things in one go.
- If your house has an air-conditioning unit, restrict the cooling to one room (close the doors and windows) and keep the temperature above 23/24°C at a minimum. To help it work well, use the next cooler day to clean the filter components – take them out of the unit and remove any dust.
- Check your light bulbs are not the old incandescent type – these produce heat as well as consume a lot of electricity. Low cost alternatives are widely available at supermarkets and hardware stores.
If you are upgrading appliances in the future, look for high energy star ratings to save power and reduce your bills. Remember that an energy-efficient reverse-cycle air-conditioner can be used for cooling your house in summer and heat your home in winter and is more cost-effective than using gas. Check out the Air Conditioner Guide from the Australian Energy Foundation for more.
Get an Energy Savvy Upgrade
If you are on a low income or unemployed, have a disability or a carer, or in similar circumstances, you may be eligible for the Energy Savvy Upgrades Program – you can receive a subsidised energy assessment and upgrades for your home.
More information can also be found on the Energy Info Hub including resources in Arabic اقرأ المعلومات باللغة العربية and Vietnamese Đọc thông tin bằng tiếng Việt.