The first summer heatwave has struck, and you’re feeling like a squeezed sponge as the sweat drops out of every pore. Your house feels like the sauna at your local gym, and you can see steam rising out of your cat’s fur. You’re thinking about turning on the air conditioner, but you’re worried it may not cope with the mad heat, and use excessive energy at the same time. What do you do now? Here are some handy hints to help your AC keep up when the mercury hits red.
Service your air conditioner
If your air con is going to stop working, it will do so in the middle of a heatwave, when it’s working the hardest. Don’t wait for that to happen. Get your aircon serviced before summer hits. Make sure
to clean or replace the filter, check the coils and all working parts, and that your unit is in 100% working conditioning.
Should you turn off your air con to save on wear and tear?
No. Many people make that mistake, thinking it will save them energy and money. But during a heatwave, it will take a long time and lots of energy to re-cool your home or room. Rather turn up the air con to about 26°C, and let it run. That way, it will cool down any room to a reasonable temperature and not have to work as hard. It doesn’t take nearly as much energy to maintain a constant temp, as it does to cool the entire room down.
Keep the sun out
This sounds basic, but the last thing you want is the powerful sun streaming into your home, negating all the hard work of your struggling air conditioner. Covering all north facing windows with blinds or curtains will go a long way to cooling a room.
Fans will not cool down a room but they will cool you. So, when you are in an air-conditioned room, make sure to switch on any ceiling or pedestal fans. They do not use loads of electricity and can be effective. Warmer air feels cooler when it’s moving and will make those more populated areas in your home more comfortable.
Keep cooking to a minimum.
Look, it’s a heatwave, who wants to cook anyway? And if you’re going to cook, take it outdoors. Once the mercury has slipped past 32°C, switching on your oven is like putting a heater on inside, and that’s the last thing you want. Eat fresh or bbq, but keep that oven off.
Don’t use appliances if you can help it
It’s not just the oven you should leave alone, but try not to use any electronic appliances if you can help it. No, don’t switch off the fridge. But your tumble dryer, dishwasher, microwave, TV, and computers all generate heat.
Cool off in the water
Keeping in mind current water restrictions, taking quick cool showers will cool you down. Alternatively, why not head down to the beach or river for a swim, just don’t forget the sunscreen.
Switch minimal lights on, and use light bulbs that use less energy and emit less heat – like LEDs.
Plant trees to protect your home against the full force of the sun – a green and effective way to keep your home comfortable. It may take a while for the trees to grow to an effective height, so start now.
Last and most important point: before the next heatwave hits, contact your local air conditioning specialists and get your unit checked.