Always try to maintain your air conditioners properly to maximize its efficiency.

Homes: Cooling indoors means reducing heat

And cooling one’s home during the hottest summer months can seem baffling at times.

  • Jun. 25, 2015 12:00 p.m.

Far be it from this space to complain about the sun and heat, considering how many months of the year we deal with clouds, drizzle and, with apologies to folks from other parts of Canada, winter we endure, but cooling suggestions are definitely timely.

And cooling one’s home during the hottest summer months can seem baffling at times.

Does conventional wisdom say window fans should be placed to draw air in or out? Should ceiling fans draw upwind or force downwind in the home? And what about windows, shades, and awnings? Should north-side windows be left closed or open during the day? And are awnings better than shades?

Efficient cooling of your home can save you money, energy, and improve the quality of your life.

Experts from across the country agree on a variety of ways to reduce and cool a home during these dog days of summer.

 

Windows

Reduce sunlight heat by using effective shade for east and west windows. Closing south- and west-facing curtains during the day, for any window that gets direct sunlight, and keeping them closed, too, can dramatically lower household heat.

Installing white window shades or mini-blinds can reduce solar heat gain by 40 to 50 per cent. Hanging tightly woven screens or bamboo shades outside these windows during the summer can stop 60 to 80 per cent of the sun’s heat from actually getting to the windows.

Installing awnings on south-facing windows, in places where there’s insufficient roof overhang to shade, also helps reduce heat.

According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that awnings can reduce solar heat gain by as much as 65 per cent on windows with southern exposures and 77 per cent on western-exposure windows.

Some people have applied low-e, sun-blocking films to their windows to further reduce effect from the solar light.

Try to keep the house closed tightly during the day to avoid allowing in unwanted heat and humidity. Ventilate the home at night either naturally or with fans.

Fans

You can eliminate unwanted heat through ventilation if the temperature of the incoming air is 25 C or lower. This usually works best at night and on cool days.

Using window fans for ventilation is a good option if used properly. The fans should be located on the downwind side of the home, and be facing out to draw cooler air in. A window should be open in each other room, with interior doors open to allow airflow.

Ceiling fans can be used to make a room more comfortable when the mercury is reaching above 25ºC. A slow-turning, ceiling-mounted, paddle fan can easily provide enough airflow to compensate for higher temperatures.

 

Air conditioner

On an older central air conditioner, it is wise to consider replacing the outdoor compressor with a modern, high-efficiency unit, and ensuring it is properly matched to the indoor unit. And always try to maintain your air conditioners properly to maximize its efficiency.

Ensure your room A/C or the outside half of your central A/C is in shade, if possible to increase the unit’s efficiency by five to 10 per cent.

It is recommended that you clean your A/C’s air filter monthly during cooling season as normal dust build-up can reduce airflow by one per cent, per week.

Be sure to properly size any new air conditioner you consider buying. Help from an energy auditor or air conditioning contractor is advised. And try not to air condition unused rooms and turn off your A/C when you leave for more than an hour.

You might also want to check air conditioner ducts and insulate ducts that run through unheated basements, crawl spaces, and attics.

If you live in a townhouse or condominium, be sure to check with your strata council or property manager before hooking up an air conditioner to ensure that is allowed.

If you’re in a jam for A/C, you can always make one out of a cooler, an elbow pipe, a small fan and some ice. Just search YouTube for the instructions.

Take heat-reduction into account when planning your summer day’s indoor activities too. Wherever possible, delay heat-generating activities — such as dish washing, cooking — until evening on hotter days. Use the outdoor barbecue instead of the indoor stove.

Add a hammock and a cool beverage, and you’re set for summer.

 

– By Kevin Gillies, a freelance writer for Black Press.

 

Just Posted

Being Young: ‘Golden period,’ after exams

I should be plenty entertained over the summer.

Presbyterians of Port Hammond

The core group of the Ladies Aid were the wives of the men on the managing board.

Easter egg hunts and fun for families

More events scheduled for Sunday in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Bobcats, bears, and otters, oh my!

Critter Care Wildlife Society’s 20th anniversary gala set for next Saturday in Langley

Victoria ‘reviewing options’ for removing convicted councillors

Pitt Meadows lobbied for change after David Murray’s sex assault conviction

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

Police say ‘no major incidents’ at 4/20, Vancouver Park Board assessing

The first smoke-out held since legalization saw 60,000 people at Vancouver’s Sunset Beach

VIDEO: Langley firefighters spend hours battling blaze in vacant home

Cause of the late-night fire in Willoughby is still under investigation

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

RCMP looking for witnesses to four-vehicle crash in Burnaby

Police suspect impaired driving was a contributing factor

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Most Read