Staying cool in the summer can be quite a challenge. When your home resembles a freshly lit fire rather than a comfortable abode, there is nothing more you’d like to do than go stand in front of the open refrigerator (or pretend to need something from the bottom of the deep freeze).

Then, in the middle of winter, the house resembles a freezer itself, and you have to wrap up in a rug just to keep warm. How can you make your house more liveable without spending a fortune?

Install a heat pump

A straight back-to-back heatpump installation can be reasonably cheap, and heatpumps are economical to run. Heating or cooling, they work on the same principle of heat conversion- the same system as your fridge uses. If you keep your doors and windows shut, both the heating and the cooling functions are pretty effective. Remember to keep the filters clean to keep it running as cheaply and effectively as possible.

Fans to keep cool

A ceiling fan is the perfect way to keep a house cool in summer, moving the air around (and if you’re sweaty, sitting under the fan is a bit like sitting in front of the open fridge). If this isn’t suitable in your home, a strategically positioned desk fan can be remarkably effective at cooling the house. While it’s tempting to turn it on yourself and bask in the cool air, open two windows opposite each other. Face the fan OUT of one window and turn it on. It forces the air outside, bringing air in the other side, creating airflow through the house.

Install a ventilation system

A ventilator fan- HRV system- moves existing cool or warm air from one level or room to another through the wall or floor. If you have a room or space that is especially hot, you can pump cool air from other rooms into that hot room using a special fan installed in the wall or ceiling. An HRV system is only practical if you have an abundance of existing cool – or warm- air that’s easily accessible to your hot (or cold) room.

Get a mini split air conditioning unit
If doing without some form of air conditioning is out of the question, then consider a mini split unit instead of in-wall units and window units, which require extensive set up including duct work and framing in a window, or breaking into the wall. Mini split units can be set up for one or two rooms, and are quiet and ductless. And they are definitely more energy efficient than central air conditioning. They do, however require extensive installation, which means getting a mini split air con unit is not a DIY project.

Portable air conditioners
There are portable air conditioners available that work on the same theory as other heat pumps. You run in them similar ways, with ducting to outside and a drain to empty. They will produce cool and air but it’s not going to be as effective as a fully ducted air con unit and they won’t work for large spaces.

Using a dehumidifier to heat your house?
A dehumidifier is used to take moisture out of the air. The extra moisture in the air makes the house harder to heat, and also encourages mould and mildew to form. Keeping your home dry is a precursor to keeping it warm. However, running a dehumidifier can use a lot of power. It might offer a benefit if the house is damp or if for some reason you can’t open your windows during the day to air out the house. Otherwise, opening windows and ensuring adequate airflow through the house, even on cold days, will make the house warmer at night.

Install insulation
There are a number of types of insulation, but they all are designed to keep your house cool in summer, and warm in winter. Pink batts, InsuFluff, even polystyrene underfloor, they all provide a layer that traps air and keeps the temperature static, and stops draughts from coming into the house.

There are many ways to keep your house a comfortable temperature year-round. Sometimes, a combination of systems may be best for you- depends on the climate where you live and also your budget. While the best, most economical system is a fully insulated, double-glazed home with a ducted heatpump, this is not always financially feasible.

To keep your home warm, wipe down condensation from windows, let the house dry out during the day, and get as much insulation as possible. To keep your home cool, open windows, get as much airflow as possible, and face your fan out the window.

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