Any Auckland resident knows that when the summer starts, things are about to get hot and sticky. An Auckland summer is warm and it’s not unusual to experience high humidity, which can make things uncomfortable.
Something which could add to your summer discomfort is the type of house you live in. Auckland is home to a variety of different houses, including old villas and bungalows, as well as the seventies-style homes. While these styles are all reflections of Auckland’s history, most older homes weren’t built with things such as ventilation and passive cooling in mind. As a result, they can become stifling hot in summer.
If you’ve been asking yourself ‘how can I cool my house down?’ fear not! We’ve collected a bunch of the best ways to cool down the house that’ll help transform it from sauna to sanctuary in no time.
With Auckland being one of the sunniest regions in the country – receiving over 2050 sunshine hours a year – your home will likely receive plenty of sun pouring in through your windows. While this is delightful at most times of the year, windows can let up to 30 percent of unwanted heat indoors, so on a hot summer afternoon, it can become unbearable.
An easy way to keep heat out on those hot days is to close your blinds or curtains from late morning or early afternoon, through to the early evening when the temperature starts to drop. Blackout shades will help reflect the heat outside, or you could even just lower the top half of your blinds to deflect the direct sun, but still allow light inside. Drawing your curtains will also help, though be sure to open a window or door to ensure the room doesn’t become stuffy with the heat that does get trapped.
If your house is too hot, then being mindful about passive cooling is an absolute must. While most modern homes are designed and built with cooling in mind, in older homes you might need to be a little more vigilant. Opening windows and doors over different areas of your home will let fresh air inside to circulate, taking the stuffy, warm air out. With the old, stale air able to escape, your home will be much more pleasant to live in.
Create a cross-breeze by opening doors and windows at various points in your home, and keep the windows open if you plan to have the curtains drawn during the day, so a room doesn’t overheat.
Be sure not to leave a window wide open if you leave your home, or consider having safety latches installed so you can keep your windows cracked without any security concerns.
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the one above, but it’s worth a mention of its own as it can easily slip the mind. Don’t forget to open the internal doors in your home, as well as the external ones.
Keeping internal doors open allows cooler air to flow through all areas of your home. If you shut off a room, it’s easier for it to get stuffy and overheat. This is especially worthwhile considering at night time, when we often shut our bedroom doors, only to find we overheat during the night. Keeping a door slightly open still provides privacy but also gives the warm air an escape route.
As Kiwis, we typically only hear about what insulation can do to keep our homes warm and prevent heat loss during the colder months. But insulation works to keep us cool during summer as well.
If you’ve cooled a space to its optimal temperature, the last thing you want is for it to warm up again. If you have a well-insulated home (and you’ve closed your blinds or curtains), the room will stay cool as the insulation acts as a thermal barrier and heat energy won’t be able to make its way inside.
If your home is uninsulated then it might seem like a mammoth challenge to retrofit the entire house. However, this is something that can be done in stages. The roof is the most important area to insulate, as it’s responsible for the most heat entering or exiting your home. Then you should tackle the floors, followed by the walls. Although it can take time and money to finish, in the long run, your home will be warmer in winter, cooler in summer, and more comfortable in general.
If you’re still sleeping in your warm, flannelette sheets in summer, it’s time to store them at the back of the linen cupboard and use thinner, breathable sheets for the warmer months. Not only that but you should take off any heavy blankets and also rethink thick duvets. If you can, invest in a duvet that works year-round, keeping you cosy in winter and cool in summer. Or have two duvets and swap them as the season changes.
Also, consider the place you literally lay your head at night – your pillow! Choosing a pillow that allows good airflow is crucial in making sure you don’t overheat when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.
If you want a long-term way to stay cool and refreshed all summer long, buying and installing an air conditioning unit will do just that. Having air conditioning in Auckland is a smart move and will make things infinitely more bearable during the hot months. And it isn’t just a great appliance for summer, an air conditioner also helps your home in winter when it can be used as a heat pump.
You can use the temperature controls on an air conditioning unit to bring your home down to a more comfortable temperature, use the timer function for it to come on when you want (ideal for ensuring a cool home when you return from work), or control which direction the air blows from the unit itself.
When you invest in an air conditioner you can also choose a solution that’s right for you, your home, and your family. A single room heat pump might be perfect if you want to be sure one room of your home can be heated and cooled easily – such as a living room or a bedroom.
Alternatively, a multi-room heat pump lets you install multiple indoor units while only needing one outdoor unit. With both the single and multi-room options you can choose whether you want your indoor unit to be ceiling mounted, high wall mounted or floor standing, giving you plenty of options to find what works for your home.
You can also opt for a ducted heat pump if it’s important to be able to maintain temperature control over your whole home. With a ducted system, the main unit fits in your home’s roof cavity and is discreetly connected to the rest of your home via ducts. You can choose whether to have the ducts installed in your ceiling, or on the floor. Each ducted system is designed especially for your home, to ensure it works perfectly for your family.
We all know it can feel like torture to work over a hot stove making an evening meal in summer, so why not move things outside?
Forget your Sunday roast during hot months and cook up a few steaks or sausages on the barbecue instead. Or if you have an outdoor pizza oven, fire it up! Swap out roast vegetables for crisp salads and forgo any hot desserts in favour of ice cream.
Not only is barbecued food delicious, but it also has the flow-on effect of reducing your power bill, a win-win.
Anyone who’s experienced an Auckland summer knows that humidity is a big part of it. Auckland temperatures are usually highest in January and February, with an average max temp of around 24 degrees, and tend to have some extremely humid days which result in dampness. To combat all this moisture in the air, using a dehumidifier can be a good solution.
Firstly, to ensure the damp air has a chance to escape, be sure to ventilate your home frequently by opening windows and doors. Then use a dehumidifier to remove any excess moisture. With the moisture removed, the air will then be much easier to heat or cool – and your environment will be much more comfortable.
Are you an Auckland resident who has figured out some life-saving cooling tips for the hot North Island summers? Get in touch with our team and let us know what they are! We’ll add them here to help others beat the heat this summer.
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