In summer the sweltering heat makes one wonder what you could
have done during the winter months to make your home a cooler
Air conditioning is the answer that jumps to mind and modern
split level units are con siderably more efficient and attractive
than older systems But notes Dr Piet Botha chair man of the Nationlink
estate agency group this is an expensive option and with electricity
costs set to rise and the increase in power consump tion as computers
new appliances and theatre systems enter the home owners might
profit ably explore other answers...
Light colours reflect more of the sun's heat and are the obvious
solution for outside walls But light paint is seldom practical
on a roof so owners should seriously consider installing ceil
ing insulation which will also prevent heat loss next winter.
A radiant barrier a sheet of aluminium foil with a paper backing
that can reduce heat gains by 25 per cent can also be installed
on the underside of your roof.
Energy experts say some 40 per cent of un wanted heat enters
through windows which is a major problem particularly when views
are part of the home s attraction. Modern window coatings of sun
control film which can reflect up to 80 per cent of incoming sunlight
or com bination films that allow more light into the room may
be the answer. They can be applied to existing windows.
Heavy curtains or blinds can keep a room cooler but restrict
the view while exterior aw nings protect windows directly facing
the sun and retractable awnings can be installed to pro tect windows
at certain times of the day Ceiling fans also reduce room temperatures
by about four degrees.
Dr Botha says an attractive option is also to landscape the surrounds
of the house and plant indigenous shade trees that are both attractive
and low maintenance.
A large tree strategically placed to shade much of the roof and
the wall of a house from the fierce afternoon sun can achieve
wonders. And if it loses leaves in winter so much the better because
it will allow warmth to reach the house when it is needed.
And finally he says owners should aim to reduce heat sources
inside the house. Dishwash ers tumble dryers and ovens generate
heat and are best used in the evening if at all during summer
while a braai in the garden instead of a stove cooked meal will
help keep the house cool save electricity and please the family.