While the air conditioner is one option to keep the home cool during the sizzling summer months, there are other, simple ways to cool your house down.
Hot is not cool. It saps your energy, and even daily chores seem Herculean. Switching the air conditioner on the entire day seems like the only option, but not only is it uneconomical, it is also impossible at times due to the frequent power cuts that add to your summer woes. This summer, the temperatures are already soaring. Is this the end of the road? Are we going to melt in the sun?
Don’t lose hope. A few simple tricks should bring down the temperature inside the house by a couple of degrees at least:
- Draw the curtains
The windows contribute to 30 per cent of the heat in the house during the day. While you may be keeping them open for air circulation, during the day it only worsens the situation. Close the windows and draw the curtains to insulate the house. This also lowers the glare of the sun.
- Keep the upholstery light
What covers your sofa and how thick your curtains are can matter, says Deivy Karun, a Chennai-based architect. Keep it light and use natural fibers such as cotton to allow them to breathe.
- Invest in indoor plants
Go green with easy-to-maintain indoor plants that don’t need much water, but at the same time, help refresh the air and contribute to cooling it somewhat.
- Have a terrace garden
Those living on higher floors may not have much space for a garden. But potted plants with rich foliage can help make the house cool. Select plants that don’t need much watering but grow lush. Creepers running across the terrace can also act like a natural curtain, curtailing the sunlight falling inside the house to some extent and providing a cooling effect.
- Go for simple awnings
Raise a simple awning or sunshade from the most offending window so that sunlight does not fall directly on the wall or the window facing the sun. This can reduce the impact of the heat inside the house to a large extent.
- Get a heat-resistant terrace floor
Painting the terrace with white lime wash can help make the surface reflect heat instead of absorbing it. Houses that are on the top floor with just the terrace above them can use this simple trick to reduce the heat absorbed from the ceiling. But this needs a coating every summer.
- Water the terrace
Pour water on the terrace in the evenings and keep the windows and doors open. This helps cool the terrace faster and also cools the breeze blowing into the house, making nights pleasant.
- Get khus blinds
Get a khus blind, pour water on it and experience its natural cooling effect. Plain bamboo chiks are also available, but they do not provide the same effect as khus or vetiver.
- Waterbodies at home
Keeping simple waterbodies in the house – like aquarium, self-fulfilling fountains – can help make the room and the house pleasant and cooler.
- Cool blue
Deivy Karun also suggests painting the interiors with cool shades; it’s a great way to make the house feel cooler and soothing. Shades of blues and greens are ideal.
Additionally, avoid chores during the day. Mornings and nights are cooler and it may be ideal to finish as much as you can during that period and rest during the hot afternoons to help the body cope with the heat.
If you are building a house, make sure you have enough south-facing windows as that is where the cool breeze is blowing.
My own personal mantra is to enjoy the sweat – and find a well-ventilated corner in the house away from the sun. It works for me!