December is just a few months away, and the probability of incoming heatwaves in Australia is all but assured. Heatwaves have peaked earlier this year (January), with temperatures surpassing 49°C in parts of the country. While the outside heat is unavoidable, you can make your home a beacon of cool regardless of temperatures outside.
Keep the Heat Out
Insulation works. It doesn’t matter how hot it is outside as long as you stay cool inside your home. Forgoing insulation and letting the breeze in can keep you cool at certain times but not when temperatures reach 40°C. Insulation will allow your house to maintain cooler temperatures even amid a heatwave. Insulated roofing systems can shield your home from most of the direct heat from the sun, minimizing conducted heat. Openings and vents can induce convection as heat enters your house and cold air escapes. Take measures to limit convection by closing the air passages or by adding a controlling mechanism for opening and closing your vents. An insulated house makes your air conditioning unit more efficient as fresh air remains inside your house. This lightens the load on your air conditioning unit and cuts your electrical consumption by up to 30 percent.
Mind Your Windows
Large windows that let the breeze in work well in the afternoons up until early morning. However, when the sun is high, opening your windows can make your house hotter. Keeping your windows closed can keep the hot air outside from entering your house, but glass windows do little to impede the sun’s heat. Window shades and curtains can somewhat reduce heat transfer, but they aren’t very efficient as they still allow sunlight to heat the air inside your house. Double-glazed windows or Low-E glass options can limit the heat transfer from radiation and conduction, but they can be a bit expensive. A more affordable option is UV filtering films or solar films. Solar films block heat from direct sunlight and keep 99 percent of ultraviolet radiation out. They make your house cooler and by blocking UV; they also protect you from melanomas and skin cancers.
Update Your Air Conditioning
A house without air conditioning is almost unthinkable, especially if you have children or elderly in the family. Heatwaves are especially dangerous for children and the elderly, and only air conditioning can bring down ambient temperatures. Fans can disperse heat building up around your body, but that heat remains inside the room. Having air conditioning is essential, but older units might be less efficient and cost more to run. Modern air conditioning units using inverter technology run more efficiently and consume less electricity. Of course, any air conditioning setup should be paired with proper insulation to maximize efficiency and minimize consumption. Switching to a modern air conditioning unit can further reduce your electric bills by another 30 percent, apart from the one you get through insulation.
Australian heatwaves are almost inevitable, and it’s just a few more months until summer. However, you still have enough time to make a few changes and make your house a haven from the heat.