How to cool your home in summer

January 20th, 2014

Air Conditioners Appliance Talk Dehumidifiers Fans Heating & Cooling

Been outside recently?  As most of Australia has recently been experiencing extreme heat, there’s a good chance that you’ll want to get back inside as soon as possible.


But what if indoors feels a lot like the outdoors?  Do you have no place where you can experience relief?

Fear not – help is at hand, courtesy of Appliances Online, and it doesn’t have to cost a bundle, either.

Shade is your friend

Love the shade.  Welcome it.  Cherish it.  Nurture it.

window shades

Hanging up some light-blocking curtains, blinds or shutters can help to keep the sun out of your rooms.  Concentrate on the sides of the home that get the most sun – usually the east in the morning and the west in the arvo, depending on the location and layout of your home.

Just make sure they’re not the heavy, heat-trapping kind of window covering – blocking the light should help to stop new heat from entering the room, but if you want to actually cool down, you’ll also need to get the hot air out of there.

Speaking of which…

Get the air moving

Open windows and doors, and get a breeze blowing.  A stuffy house is an awful place to be in a summer scorcher.

Fan fix

If your area has been becalmed, you may have to make your own breeze.  A simple fan (maybe not QUITE as simple as the one above…) can help out here, and even if you don’t have one, waving something large and flat should do in a pinch.  See if you can get some burly blokes to help out and feed you grapes at the same time.

Air conditioner fix

Pro tip!  Stick some ice on your fan to create a primitive but effective air conditioner.

It’s also important to note that this strategy won’t do much good if you’re just blowing hot air through the house.


If possible, wait until nightfall when it’s cooler to get the hot air out and the cool air in.  Once the house has cooled off, lock up those doors and windows to keep the cool air inside, just like a fridge.

Use an air conditioner

Air conditioning is one of the most obvious solutions for dealing with a heatwave, though it’s not always the cheapest, the most energy-efficient or even the most practical, depending on your home.

Mitsubishi 3.5kW Reverse Cycle Spilt System Inverter Air Conditioner MSZGE35KIT3

The best way to cool a house is using a large split-system air conditioner.  They cool in summer, they often heat in winter, and frequently also purify and dehumidify you air while they work.  However, they are pricey enough that they’re not ideal to purchase on a whim, plus they require some complex installation.


A window air conditioner is also a good option, as they’re generally less expensive and easier to install, though they can usually only cool a room or two of a house efficiently.


For quick and easy cooling without the expense or hassle of installation, there’s always the portable air conditioner.  These babies can cool any room with access to power and a window to vent the exhaust, though they can usually only effectively cool one room at a time.  This makes them pretty handy when you just need a calm oasis in desert-like conditions, such as keeping the baby asleep.

Undertake some air conditioner maintenance

Already got air conditioning, but still feeling the heat?

How to clean an air conditioner

Give the appliance a bit of a once-over – clean the filters to maximise airflow, make sure the thermostat isn’t located in a particularly hot location (such as near an oven or electronics) and try to keep the outside compressor of a split system in the shade if possible, so it doesn’t have to work quite as hard.

Is it the heat, or the humidity?

Humid conditions

If you’re living in the tropics, you may be less worried about the temperature and more about feeling sticky.


If that’s the case, then a dehumidifier could be all you need – it won’t cool the room down, but it will dry it out, preventing the growth of mildew and allowing you to breathe that little bit easier.

Put your fridge and freezer to work

Appliances Online air conditioners

Standing in front of the open fridge has been confirmed to be a stupid way to keep cool during summer.


A smarter way can be to put a pillow in the freezer so that it’s nice and cool when you sleep (wrap it in plastic bags to prevent it from getting frosty).  It’s not ideal, but it could make your nap time a bit more comfortable.

Fabrics that breathe

When it comes to what you’re wearing and what you’re sleeping on, try to stick to silks, satins, cottons, and other light fabrics that don’t retain too much heat.

laundry team

Keep these fabrics in a cool place such as a darkened wardrobe until it’s time to enjoy their benefits.  And be sure to wash your clothes regularly – no-one likes the pong of summer BO.

Just add water

Ah, aqua vitae.


Don’t get dehydrated!  Try to keep as much of the wet stuff in your body as possible during hot days.  You can also apply it to the outside of your body (whether by wet clothes, misting spray bottles, or a dip in the pool) for some extra refreshment, but you’ll need to drink it to keep your body truly fresh.


For additional cooling, there’s always ice – a side by side or 3 & 4 door fridge with an ice and filtered water dispenser can be godsend, and a freezer with a twist ice maker isn’t too shabby either.

Cold food and drink… or hot?

ice blocks

Chowing down on ice blocks is an obvious choice when trying to keep cool, but did you know that eating or drinking something hot can also help to make you feel better?


Spicy foods or hot drinks like tea can raise your internal body temperature, bringing it closer to the external temperature and helping it to feel that little bit cooler.  It also helps to encourage sweating, which is your body’s in-built cooling mechanism.

Lie on the floor downstairs

As the old adage goes, hot air rises, and cool air falls.

should I use fabric softener on towels

Get down low and don’t go go go at all.  The results may surprise you!

Send your mind on a cool, cool journey

Perhaps the issue here is partially one of psychology.  Maybe by thinking cool thoughts, you can fool your body into feeling cooler.  Heck, it’s worth a shot…

For inspiration, watch a suitably chilly movie or piece of TV, such as Ice Age, March of the Penguins, or one of those episodes of Game Of Thrones set in the frozen North.

sad jon snow

There.  Don’t you feel better already?

Unplug hot electronics

dusty power boards

All electronics generate heat, even in standby mode, so no matter much it goes against your gadget-addiction, shut as much stuff off at the wall as possible if you want to keep your house cool.  Your housemates (and your power bills!) will thank you.


Also, if your home is still filled with these old-school lightbulbs, try replacing them with some of the newer energy-efficient designs – they’re also generally cooler while in use!

Think long-term

I know that it’s been quite hot right recently and we’re all after a bit of instant gratification, but it’ll probably get hot again next year as well (case in point; check out the kind of blogs we were putting out around this time last year), and you’ll want to be prepared.


To make sure that your home is ready for another heat wave, make sure the home is well insulated, and carefully consider the size and positioning of any air conditioner you purchase to maximise its efficiency.

To further cool your house, you may want to keep its exterior nice and shady.  If you’re up for a bit of renovation, adding some awnings can prove helpful here.

Plant trees to offset appliance carbon footrpint

For a really long-term solution, try planting some trees around your house to provide shade during the hotter months.  Just cultivate and wait.  It may take a while, but nothing beats mother nature.

Your turn:

Got a favourite technique for staying cool indoors in the summer?  And we don’t mean cool like this guy:

cool in summer

(Because we know we’ll never be able to match him.)

Share the knowledge, so the rest of us don’t have to suffer!

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

3 responses to “How to cool your home in summer”

  1. A Brimelow says:

    1) If you want to take a shower in the heat, make it a warm one.
    2) Cold showers cool your skin, not internal organs, therefore making you feel increasingly hotter as you dry off.

    1) Drink a minimum of 2 litres of water a day.
    2) As practised by Asian’s for centuries, hot drinks e.g. herbal tea are the best as they regulate your internal organs, to match/exceed external temperatures. This will make you feel more comfortable, or even cooler!!!
    3) Avoid milk, caffeine (tea/coffee/chocolate), carbonated drinks, ice-cream, and frozen treats. They only serve to further dehydrate you, plus many contain salt which increases dehydration and thirst.
    4) Drink water at room temperature (NOT chilled or with ice).

  2. lol all great solutions. I especially like tying frozen water bottles to the back of an everyday fan.. Nice engineering there!

  3. Mark Bristow says:

    The ice + fan trick probably isn’t the safest or most efficient option in the long term, but desperate times and all that… 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *