As tempting as it is to head to the nearest shop to stock up on heavy duty fans, there are alternative, eco-friendly ways to keep temperatures comfortable.

Start by looking around the house for flaws in home interior design that are allowing excessive heat to enter your home. Simple things like window treatments can make a big difference in the interior climate throughout your home. You can maintain cool temperatures by:

  • Installing white window shades or blinds. High quality, reflective blinds can cut the amount of heat entering your home by as much as 50 per cent.
  • Keeping windows and doors closed on humid days.
  • Adding curtains to east and west-facing windows.
  • Planting trees and hedges around the house to block direct sunlight.
  • Hanging screens or bamboo shades outside the window during summertime, as these can prevent 80 per cent of heat from entering your house.
  • Installing awnings on south-facing windows, where roof overhang isn’t enough to block out natural light.
  • Repainting your home’s exterior a light colour.

In addition, there are a number of household tasks which could be contributing to excessive heat levels throughout your home. Using standard appliances can emit a surprising amount of thermal energy, so to combat this:

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, which produce significantly less heat than their traditional counterparts.
  • Hand dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher.
  • Use the dryer sparingly, only when you have a completely full load of laundry. Alternatively, hang your clothes on a drying rack outside.
  • Take cool showers instead of long, hot baths which produce a significant amount of steam.
  • Turn off electronics when not in use.

Even if you’ve taken all the necessary steps to keep your home cool, you may find that heat is still managing to find a way to seep indoors. In this case, your house might benefit from additional insulation, caulking and weatherstripping.

If, in the end, you need a fan or two to bring the temperature down to a manageable level, make the most of them by placing them in high traffic areas. Unattended fans are doing more harm than good, as the motor generates heat while the circulation of air does not actually decrease temperatures at all. Although fans can cool you off a few degrees, this is caused by moisture evaporation from the skin. On their own, fans can actually increase the ambient temperature of a room.

Ceiling fans are ideal, as they can make the room feel six to seven degrees cooler and can be turned off at the flick of a switch. Portable fans are useful, too, but usually not as powerful.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that heat is experienced not only in terms of actual temperature, but through humidity as well. Take damp towels outside to dry, and try to avoid midday cooking. If you cannot, then use a ventilating or range fan to extract moist air.

Use a variety of methods to keep your home comfortable this summer. Eco-friendly options will ensure you keep cool without escalating your energy bills enough to make you sweat.

© Axonn 2015