After one of the wettest and coldest winters South Africa has experienced, the hot summer months are now well on their way. To help homeowners survive the coming heat waves, there are a few home alterations that can be undertaken to prepare for the coming summer months.
Rather than only improving the overall comfort of the home, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, suggests that upgrading the home’s heating and cooling solutions is also a great way to add value to the home.
“Installing an air-conditioning unit or having proper insulation installed in your ceiling can be some of the most effective ways of keeping your home cool during the summer months. Yes, these options are more expensive than purchasing a R100 fan at your local supermarket, but these purchases will not be money wasted. Unlike most cheaper options, these solutions will make a noticeable difference in the temperature of your home, as well as increase the resale value of your property should you ever decide to sell,” Goslett explains.
Replacing wooden window and door frames for aluminium frames can also help with the home’s insulation. Although these can be expensive to replace, adding new window and door frames to a home can greatly improve the home’s overall appeal to future buyers and might make it easier to secure a quick sale.
However, for those with limited budget to spare, there are other ways to help keep your home cool this summer. Here are some innovative and green methods to keep your home comfortable:
- Solar-Powered Fans: Prepare for the possibility of loadshedding. Harness the power of the sun with solar-powered fans. These compact devices are equipped with solar panels that convert sunlight into energy to keep the air circulating. Place them strategically in windows or other areas with direct sunlight to maximize their effectiveness. You can also look into battery operated fans or a UPS that can be used to keep a fan going.
- Cooling Curtains: Invest in thermal or blackout curtains designed to block out the sun's rays and insulate your home. By preventing heat from entering, these curtains can significantly reduce indoor temperatures. Choose light-colored curtains to reflect sunlight, and keep them closed during the hottest parts of the day.
- DIY Swamp Cooler: Create a DIY swamp cooler using easily accessible materials. Place a bowl of ice in front of a fan or make a simple one using a wet towel draped over a chair with a fan blowing through it. The evaporating water will cool the air, offering a refreshing breeze without the need for electricity.
- Strategic Ventilation: Maximize natural ventilation by strategically placing fans and opening windows. Create cross-ventilation by opening windows on opposite sides of your home to allow cool breezes to flow through. Position box fans in windows to pull in fresh air while expelling warm air.
- Ice Packs and Cold Compresses: Place ice packs or cold compresses on pulse points, such as wrists, neck, and ankles, to cool your body down. This can be a simple yet effective way to maintain personal comfort without relying on electricity.
- Use Cool Fabrics: Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics in your home decor. Cotton and linen are excellent choices for bedding and clothing as they allow for better air circulation and help regulate body temperature.
- Cooling Plants: Strategically place potted plants, such as aloe vera or snake plants, around your home. These plants not only add a touch of greenery but also release moisture into the air through a process called transpiration, contributing to a cooler indoor environment.
- Install a ceiling fan – it is a cheaper solution than an aircon and can offer better airflow than a freestanding fan.
“Upgrading a home’s insulation is probably one of the best ways to create a more comfortable and energy-efficient home during the summer months while also reducing your energy bills and environmental impact," he says.