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A modern living room featuring a floor lamp, white lounge, black velvet chairs and a black ceiling fan.
Keeping your home at a comfy temperature needn’t cost the Earth. Our eco guide to cooling will help you beat the heat.

 

Playing it cool

During the height of summer, there’s no greater luxury than walking into a comfortably cool room. However, blasting old-school air conditioners take an unnecessary toll on energy bills - and the environment. Luckily, there are other solutions to help.

Invest now to save later

“Running an older aircon unit could be costing you more than investing in a newer model,” says Jan Prichard of energy retailer Origin. To help you compare running costs, look at the energy label, which is zoned to three different climates. The greenest option is to match your aircon to your space. Assess the room’s volume – length by width by height – then factor in insulation, its ability to gain and retain heat and the local climate. Check out calculators online, or use Bunnings’ Measure and Quote service*.

A Samsung GEO split system aircon in a bedroom

The eco way to aircon

In summer, the aim of air conditioning is to make you feel comfortable, and not like you’re in the supermarket dairy aisle! According to government website YourHome.gov.au, each degree below 25-27°C increases energy consumption by about five to ten percent. Try creating cool zones: rather than air conditioning the entire home, stick to main living areas.

Turn to technology. Activate devices before the house overheats and switch them off when a room empties. Smart devices can help make this easier. Mitsubishi’s smart Wi-Fi adaptor kit lets you control your micro-climate using Google Home or Alexa; for example, you can switch it on while heading home, so you have a cool home to welcome you on a hot summer day.

If it isn’t scorching, use a fan

A fan can make a big difference to your comfort level. They cost about two cents per hour to run and reduce the ‘feels like’ temperature by 2-3°C* – until the mercury hits 30°C; then they just move hot air around. Reserving air conditioning for the 30°C-plus days and using fans the rest of the time is a good way to save on cooling costs.

Embrace passive design

“A well-designed, energy-efficient home will require a lot less energy to heat and cool, so it is often worth spending a little extra when building,” says CSIRO’s Michael Ambrose. Orient windows to face north and minimise glass on the west. Position doors and windows for cross-ventilation.

For existing houses, think about replacing solid doors or windows with louvres to maximise breezes, and fit flyscreens so you can throw open doors. Open windows to invite in cool breezes in the late afternoon, and then ventilate the opposite side of the house to chase out warm air.

Keep heat out

Outdoor shading, including awnings and pergolas, can block heat, while a green screen of trees is unsurpassed in its cooling effect. (If winter sun is a priority, choose something deciduous.) Use curtains or blinds on the inside, particularly on west-facing windows.

Insulation, especially in the ceiling, is a no-brainer, says Michael. “It will help keep winter warmth in and summer heat out.”

A modern living room featuring black blinds, a floor lamp, white lounge and an aircon

Note: All ceiling fans should be at least 2.1 metres from the floor and at least 300mm from the ceiling. All electrical work must be carried out by a licensed electrician.

*energy.gov.au/households/quick-wins.

*Conditions apply. Learn more about the Air Conditioning Installation service. Not all services are available at all stores.

Looking for more ways to keep some cash in your pocket?

Follow our energy and money saving tips for summer. 

Some photographs feature products from suppliers other than Bunnings.

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

 

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.