The end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 has brought with it a stream of heatwaves and above average temperatures in many parts of the country so if ever it was the time for us to be thinking about how to best keep our homes cool, it is now.
Many people rely on air conditioners to keep their homes cool, however during summer, especially summers such as the one we are having now it becomes a very real strain on many people’s finances to keep the power hungry air conditioners running every day. This is when it can be good to think about more economical means of cooling down. The best option for efficiency and economy is the ceiling fan, according to some sources a fan only uses between one-25th and one-50th of the energy of a small reverse cycle air conditioner so you can run it all summer long and not really notice a difference in your power bill.
Fans work to cool you down by moving the air, creating a breeze which increases your bodies natural ability to cool down via the process of evaporation. Evaporation of the sweat from your skin is how humans function to eliminate body heat. The more breeze means more evaporation and the cooler you will feel! A good ceiling fan can add a breeze to an entire room or patio area so these are certainly a great option for keeping cool when the temperature gets up. Ceiling Fans are favoured by many because the effect is pretty instant and at the same time they are very efficient and cost-effective. Smaller fans such as Pedestal and desk fans are less effective but If you can’t install a ceiling fan then they are definitely better than nothing and at least you can move around with you to direct the breeze at your body. Even a hand made paper fan will work to a certain extent!
Try these easy hacks to enhance the effectiveness of your fan:
The ice bowl trick:
Place a bowl with ice or an ice pack and a small amount of water in front of your fan on an angle so that the fan blows across the surface grabbing that beautiful cool fresh misty air off the ice and spreading it around the room instead of simply pushing the recycled warm air around all day.
The fan train:
Maximise airflow around your house by utilising several fans directing the air flow along from one to the next. You can even include the bowl trick and open windows on the cooler shady side of the house to blow cool air through until the whole house has a lovely cooling breeze.
Use a spray bottle filled with water and, depending on how fancy you want to be, either use the water as is, or chill it in the fridge before use, you could even add a couple of drops of peppermint oil to enhance the cooling effect. Then gently mist yourself whilst in the breeze of a fan and as the mist evaporates off your skin you will feel much much cooler. Another way is to wet your hair and sit in front of or under the fan, essentially turning your head into an evaporative cooler.
Get rid of the hot air:
Often cooling your house is as much about getting rid of the hot air as it is about blowing cool air. One of the ways you can do this is to switch your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise, this way the blades will pull up the hot air, rather than pushing it down which means cooler air can be drawn in to replace the hot air as it moves up and away. You can also run the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom to pull the hot air that rises after you cook or take a steamy shower out of your house or apartment.
Utilise window air flow:
For maximum cooling from your windows open the top part of windows on the downwind side of your house, and open the bottom section of windows on the upwind or shady side.
Additionally make the most of temperature changes by opening the windows in the morning, evening and night time when it is cooler and keeping them closed through the heat of the day to stop the hot humid outside air from getting in.This allows convection currents to draw cool air in through the lower windows and since hot air rises the hot air will flow out through the higher windows creating a natural cooling circulation in the room.
Remember the heat can be very dangerous causing dehydration, exhaustion and even heat stroke so it is important to stay out of that hot Australian sun and drink plenty of water. Stay cool!