Tips From Our Experts

Jeannette asks: My home has ducted gas heating but no cooling. What can I do to keep it cool in the summer with mimimal expense.

Keeping the house cool

Jeannette asks

My home has ducted gas heating but no cooling. It is a typical ex government home in Downer. What can I do to keep it cool in the summer with minimal expense?

Our expert’s answer


Thanks for your enquiry.

I’m presuming you have good insulation – insulation is one of the best things you can do winter or summer. It is more efficient to keep the heat out in the first place rather than trying to cool it down once it’s hot.

To that end, external blinds are a good option, especially to the north and west. Failing that, on days that are likely to be hot, consider closing your curtains before the sun gets onto your windows (make sure your curtains have good solar blockout backing). To light up your home (if you are home during the day) will cost considerably less than trying to cool it.

It is also important to draughtproof as much as possible – again to stop that hot air from getting in. The bonus: this also works well in winter to reduce your heating costs.

Use of a ceiling or pedestal fan effectively lowers the perceived temperature by up to 3 degrees or so and a fan uses considerably less energy than an air conditioner. Added bonus: a ceiling fan can be used in reverse mode in winter to mix the hot air at the ceiling with the air in the rest of the room to produce a more comfortable temperature without having to overheat your home.

At night, or once the outside temperature has dropped below that inside, open up your home as much as possible to make use of natural ventilation to cool it.

John Knox

John Knox

The technical advice provided by the Alternative Technology Association as part of the ‘Ask an Expert’ forum/website, in relation to home and building sustainability improvements, is general in nature only. The impacts of specific energy or water saving or sustainability products will depend on how and where the are used and located, and particularly for larger investments, we would always suggest users seek a specific assessment from an appropriately qualified building designer or service / product supplier.

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