Keeping the Interiors Cool this Summer

It was difficult to imagine such extreme heat waves this Summer, but alas it is here & happening.

The torturous hot winds swish past the face till late in the night. The heat captures the walls, ceilings & floors day after day.

So the thoughts arise, how to stay afloat till this Summer’s angry waves pass? 

We offer few very practical suggestions:

Close the Blinds & Curtains

Shutting the blinds and curtains during the day will help block the sun's heat. As soon as the sun hits the building in the morning, close all windows and keep exterior doors and windows closed throughout the hottest part of the day. Do this until night falls and it's cool enough to open the windows for the night.

For even better protection, get aluminized blinds or insulated curtains (or use removable sheets of reflective bubble insulation, or cardboard cut to size and covered in foil.) If possible, go around the outside of the house and clip sheets over the outside of the house, especially on the south side (or north side if you live south of the equator). 

These exterior curtains will keep the sun's heat from getting anywhere near the window frame, but still let the breeze through. One can even rig a temporary "porch" awning out of broomsticks and sheets.

Turn off all heat sources

Avoid using the stove or oven to eat. Eat cold food, or use the microwave. Incandescent light bulbs also create heat, switch to compact fluorescents or LEDs. Turn off the lamps and the computer when not in use.

Put smooth White Fabrics over anything in your house that's fuzzy

For example, one could cover corduroy pillows with white satin pillowcases for summer, put linen slipcovers over wool sofas, or just throw white sheets over furniture. Light-colored fabric will reflect heat instead of absorbing it, and the smooth texture will give one an impression of coolness.

Use Light-Colored Roofing

If one has the choice, choose a lighter roof or roof coating. It will reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it.

Insulate the Home

A home that has well-insulated walls and attic will actually keep the heat out of the house in hot seasons. Just imagine the home as a gigantic Styrofoam cooler! There are lots of insulation options to choose from, including types that can be conveniently blown into the walls without much hassle. 

Planting Trees

Leafy Trees can shade the Home or yard and keep things considerably cooler. Deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves in winter) will let sunlight through in winter when it's desired and create shade in summer. 

If one can't plant a tree, attempt to build an overhead trellis and grow grape vines on it. Their leafy vines will act like deciduous trees and one can pluck grapes as well.

Plan Patios Smartly

Completely avoid unshaded Patios of concrete, stone or brick right against the house where they will reflect sun heat onto walls or windows, especially on the south or west sides. Rocks, stone and concrete also retain heat longer than planted areas after the sun goes down.

If one already has such a feature in the landscape, using a lot of tall Plants or Trees will keep cool, at least, two sides of the façade.

Taking Shade from Awnings and Porches

Build a summer porch on the north side of your house, which is generally the shady side. The south and west sides of the home will generally be the hottest and most in need of shade, so plan the location of windows and exterior doors in the home.

Send up the cool air 

If the home has a basement and central air system, have an HVAC professional add a cold air return in the basement to pull the naturally cool air that falls down and recycle it into the rest of the home by simply setting the interface to "fan" mode.

Install an individual room ventilation system with a cool air intake, hot air exhaust and temperature and humidity controls. This will bring the night-time air in and let the A/C take over in the middle of the day.

Installing a Whole-House Fan Water Cooler

This will push hot air into the attic, where it dissipates via attic vents. To cool the house, open a door to the basement, and make sure that all doors between the basement and the room where the fan is located are open. All vents should be open to maximize the cooling.

Also do not leave a fan on in an enclosed room when no one is present (unless it's an attic fan). A fan does not cool the air already in the room; in fact, it heats it. The fan's motor generates heat and even the circulating air creates a less significant amount of heat from friction. It just feels cooler when you are present because of natural moisture evaporation from the skin, which only cools the body if one is in the room. Save electricity and turn off all fans in enclosed rooms that are not occupied.


by Kapil Agarwal

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