Beat The Heat

Our first home in Surrey had a great big picture window facing south. In the winter it was great, because if it was a little sunny outside, and you opened the draperies, the room would heat up naturally. The passive solar heating that ensued was welcomed, and even saved us some money on our energy costs.

It was a different story in the summer. The heat that would build up in the house due to the large south facing windows made a house that was hot enough to melt candles — literally! We went camping over the weekend and all the plants were dried up and the candles were all melted!

These days, even spring days can bring weeks of heatwave. This year is already proving to be a blistering spring and summer season.  We do have our rainy days, but those blistering summer months can make it hard to sleep at night and relax during the day. What can we do to reduce that blistering stale heat that comes in summer? Try these tips.

Open Up In The Morning

The outside temperature is probably best in the early morning (the earlier the better). Open all your windows and doors for some cross-ventilation and letting in that cooler air. As long as you can do this, bringing the temperature down, the better the results.  

Close Up In The Sun

When the temperature outside starts to rise a bit though, close all the windows, and close all the south-facing draperies and windows. It’s a good idea to have heavier draperies or thicker blinds on the south-facing windows, which will repel the heat better. A lighter-colored drape will also repel the heat better than darker-draperies.

Open The Hatch

Here’s a simple tip that can lower the temperature in your house quickly and dramatically. Heat rises and pools in ceilings, eventually filling your living space with unlivable heat. 

Meanwhile, in your basement, a cooler environment exists. If you open your attic hatch, it provides an exit for the heat to continue to rise and then exit through attic vents and soffits. As nature abhors a vacuum, the cooler basement air moves upward to take that space. Voila, a cooler space.

I also am a “fan” of the rooftop ventilation. A whirlybird can be effective when used correctly and properly installed. It removes the excess heat from the attic space, which will allow the living space air to move up into the attic, which allows the basement cooler space to move up, etc. etc. Hence a well ventilated and cooler space.

Don’t Make Heat!

Appliances and lighting generate heat when in use. To keep your home cooler, turn off any unnecessary lighting, and swap out heat-producing incandescent light bulbs for cooler compact fluorescent light bulbs. Try to use appliances during the coolest part of the day. Instead of using the stove or oven for food preparation, enjoy a salad or a sandwich, and use the outside grill or barbecue.

Fan It!

Make good use of all types of fans: ceiling fans, box fans, and attic fans, but understand, that portable fans don’t make a room any cooler . Unless the temperature outside is cooler than the temperature inside, they merely make you ‘feel’ cooler. So if you’re not in the room, you’re just wasting energy by leaving the fan on. However, there’s one exception to this rule: if the air temperature outside the house is cooler than the air inside, then placing a fan near a window can help draw cool air into the home or create a cross current to exhaust some of the hot air trapped inside. Try also reversing the direction of the fan so that it is pulling warm air out of the room. If you do this, also open a window on the cooler side of the house to introduce the cooler air into the room. With portable fans and indoor air ventilation, it is sometimes a matter of trial and error  and experimentation to get the effect you want.

Attic fans can also pull in cooler air from outside.

Ceiling fans are the must-have home appliance for summer, but did you know that ceiling fans are also handy in the fall and winter? Changing the direction of your ceiling fan in the summer and winter not only makes you feel comfy, but it also allows you to adjust the thermostat and give your AC or heating unit a much needed break. In the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down to the floor. The cool air evaporates perspiration and creates a ‘wind chill’ effect, which makes you feel cooler without affecting the room temperature.

The Summer Fan

Most furnaces have multi speed fans. Keeping those fans running are not a big expense, (especially if your furnace is equipped with a variable speed fan motor!), but they can keep healthy circulationthroughout the home, (unlike portable fans) gathering the air in the cooler basement or lower floor and spreading the coolness throughout the home. Having good ventilation is one of the best ways to have a comfortable home, creating an environment that is unfriendly to mold and mildew and a fresher smelling home as well.

Guaranteed Cool

Of course the best solution for a guaranteed good sleep and comfortable living space is choosing a new air conditioning system for your home, which unlike fans, do lower the temperature in your home! With all the different types of air conditioners on the market, the possibilities may seem overwhelming, but they don’t have to be.
The friendly folks at Gandy can help. They can educate you on all the different types of systems and help you choose the one that is best for you and your budget, and will then provide you with upfront pricing so that you know the exact cost of the work before theybegin.