8 ways to keep your home cool this summer

Keep the heat at bay with our top energy-wise and earth-friendly tips
Exterior of a renovated home in Bowral, NSW.
Shot for Home Beautiful Magazine 2014.

With soaring temperatures expected this summer, you may be looking for simple ways to keep your home cool – without sending your energy bill through the roof. It’s not the most exciting solution, but upgrading your home’s insulation is the best way to keep your home cool and reduce pressure on devices such as air conditioners, fans and more.

But it’s not the only way. Here we run through 8 simple ways to cool your home, with ideas suitable for both homeowners and renters.

1. Open season

Stopping the heat from entering your home is much better than letting it in and then trying to cool your home down later. Close windows, doors, blinds and curtains first thing in the morning. Then, when the cool change hits later on it’s time to open everything up and let the cool air in.

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2. Cross-ventilation

Open doors and windows in opposing corners of the room. The differences in air pressure mean cool air is sucked in, and heated air is forced out. Open skylights will also help the hot air to escape.

Coastal style bedroom with exterior door, and wardrobe doors with louvred fronts.
Open doors and windows in opposing corners of the room to create a cross-breeze. (Credit: The Palm Co)

3. Airconditioning

On the stickiest of summer days, cranking up the airconditioning is an easy fix. To keep running costs down, close doors and windows, and only operate the aircon in rooms you’re in. Use the fan mode when it’s not overly hot. The best temperature to set your air conditioner for energy efficiency is anywhere from around 24 degrees Celsius to 26 degrees Celsius. The most energy-efficient air conditioners include reverse cycle units (which will also keep you warm in winter) and evaporative coolers (suitable in dry / arid climates only), however for renters, a portable air conditioner may be your best bet.

4. Shades of play

Indoors, choose sunscreen quality fabrics on windows to reflect heat and UV rays, and protect furniture from sun damage and fading. Honeycomb, cellular blinds also have insulating properties that will help keep cool air in, and hot air out.

External shading, such as a sail cloth, verandah roof or a pergola with a rambling vine can reduce heat transfer through windows by up to 90 per cent.

Exterior of a renovated cottage in Bowral with black and white awnings.
External awnings and large shade trees can help keep the sun’s heat out of your home in summer. (Credit: Photographer: Natalie Hunfalvay | Styling: Adam Robinson)

5. Double glazing

Double-glazing can reduce heat transfer by up to 30 per cent compared to single-pane glass. For example, Low-E glass has a thin film on one side that reflects radiant heat from outside, helping to keep your home cool.

6. Fan flair

Fans create air movement which helps to keep us cool. Position ceiling fans in spots where you spend most of your time. Fans can also help your air conditioner run more efficiently, by spreading cool air further and circulating cool air evenly throughout a room.

Blue main bedroom with pineapple bedside lamp
Ceiling fans are a low-cost way to cool a room and boost the efficiency of an air conditioner. (Credit: Photo: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Nonci Nyoni)

7. Cool design

If renovating, position larger windows to face north or north-east. The higher angle of the sun will result in less heat transmission than the low-angle rays hitting an east-facing or west-facing window. Windows in opposite sides of the room will help to cross-ventilate too.

Put insulation in your roof (this alone can make your home 35% cooler) and create buffer zones outside. Strategically position water features, or a pool, to have an evaporative effect on hot air.

8. Go light

Dark colours tend to absorb heat, so if you can, go light! According to, if you give your roofing two coats of white exterior acrylic paint, it could reduce the internal comfort of your home by 3 degrees Celsius and reduce the need for air conditioning by up to 20%.

Researchers at Purdue University have created a paint colour dubbed the ‘World’s Whitest Paint’ which has the ability to reflect 98.1% of solar heat away from its surface. The paint isn’t available on the market just yet, but has won countless innovation awards.

Fun fact

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