How To Beat The Heat This Summer

January 8, 2015

Well it’s that time of year again and the mercury is set to soar! It can be particularly deadly for the elderly, babies or young children unless the air con is continuously cranked. The problem is, with the price of power continuously skyrocketing, many of us are getting more and more reluctant to flick the switch. We still want to stay cool but also want enough money for a well deserved holiday. Luckily, it’s possible to have both!

Fans and air conditioning

Fans or air con isn’t a tough choice when it’s stinking hot. Yeah, there’s the environmental impact and all of that, but in the heat of the day during a long hot Aussie summer, who cares about the few bucks you might save? Plus, when it comes to the actual savings of using a fan or the air con, there’s some really technical advice out there and let’s face it, there are so many variables that it’s tricky to calculate.

Basically, I wanted to know if I was going to save dollars or cents by opting to use a fan instead of my air con, during those times when there is a choice. You know those days when you turn on the air con but know you could probably get away with using the fan?  I found the answer and it looks like it’s dollars and a lot of them! According to ceiling or pedestal fans cost a fraction of the running cost of air cons.

In fact, air cons can cost 36.5 times more! To put a dollar value on it, imagine using a fan and it costs $20 to run. If you ran your air con for the same amount of time the cost would be a whopping $730!

Of course, there are variables which effect running costs. A couple of biggie’s are the temperature setting which the air con is programmed to reach and how hard it needs to work to achieve it. If you are going to use your air con, there are some ways to reduce the running costs.

Now, I found a great little tip which recommends using a combination of both to save me some hard earned dollars. Weird right, using the two instead of just one? Apparently if you drop the temperature setting 2-4 degrees and use a fan, you will reduce costs significantly (up to 10 per cent per degree). Your air con will need to work a lot less to achieve its desired output and adding the fan will help circulate the air and drop the temperature. Also, don’t forget to clean the air con filter regularly and that too will reduce the workload.

Window tint and dressings

I’ve recently applied window tint and it’s super easy, cost effective and looks great! Plus, if you rent there are removable versions which are easy to install and are re-usable. It’s a one time investment which can be as low as $100 for 1 x 30 metre lengths, if you shop around. That should cover a fair few windows.

Doing this will make a substantial difference to the amount of heat which passes through the glass, reducing temperature control costs all year round. Some varieties stop as much as 68 per cent of the sun’s heat.

While we’re talking windows, dressings like curtains, indoor or outdoor blinds are really important. Leave all window dressings shut or down during hot days and only open them when the heat recedes. Often people open up their homes too early and end up trying to sleep in excessive heat.

Creating cool air

There are a few ways to create cool air using fans or even the warm night time air which enters via windows. For example, placing ice or damp sheets in front of a fan lowers the temperature of the air as the fan circulates it. Sheets can be easily hung in front of windows to produce the same effect.

This is basically how air coolers work. If you use one of these instead of an air con, add some iced water to produce cooler air.

Use water

Water is by far the best way to cool down without air con. Use spray bottles to keep you, the kids and the pets cool. Soaked or damp towels on the back of the neck are great, especially in hot cars. Large buckets of water can be used to submerge feet (or compete in the ice bucket challenge). Cooling your feet will reduce your overall body temperature.

On especially hot nights, having a bath or cool shower just before bed will also reduce your overall body temperature and enable sleep. Submerge your entire body, including your head. The head retains heat and cooling it will drop the temperature of your entire body.

For the kids, grab some water toys or a small pool. Water is great to entertain, calm and cool the kids and pets. If you create a body of water for the kids it will likely be their favourite place in hot weather. You can fill the bath or if you don’t have one, fill a small pool in the bathroom or laundry when the heat is to extreme to be outside. Be sure to invest in a child lock for access doors and ALWAYS supervise kids around water.

Remember to drink plenty of cool water and always carry some when you leave the house. Even spending $2 a day on bottled water will amount to over $700 over a year. Pack your own and go on a holiday with your savings!

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