We could cool down our homes very efficiently applying simple techniques carried out by our Spanish ancestors much before air conditioning was invented.
Simple procedures such as creating natural air currents, hydrating ourselves or resorting to awnings and fans can drastically reduce the heat inside a home without having to resort to switch on an air conditioning unit.
When the thermometer reaches temperatures in summer exceeding 35 ° C, it is difficult to resist switching on the air conditioning. However, not everyone can or wants to have a device at home that cools the atmosphere using lots of energy.
Whether for economic, health (there are many people who do not tolerate it well) o ecological reasons, can be a torture to live without this equipment in midsummer. Nevertheless, there are numerous, simple tricks already tried by our grandparents to keep fresh at home without resorting to air conditioning as shown below.
Heat is a very uncomfortable sensation especially if you are not use to it. For this reason, be in a Spanish home around the Costa at midsummer can become a martyrdom for some expats, if air conditioning is not available, and with the electricity prices rising year by year it would be a good idea to look for alternatives to get cool:
1. Using awnings and shutters:
Traditional and simpler systems are sometimes the most effective. Keep house in twilights during the hottest hours is very effective, but it works best if external roller shutters or French shutters are used, to keep the sunshine getting through the windows glass panels is a major victory. It is also recommended to use awnings in the hours of greater irradiation to cover large area of hard landscaping or terraces around the dwelling.
2. Light colours:
It is not by accident that in Andalusia and Extremadura the warmest areas in Spain, white is the predominant colour used in the façades of the houses.
Clear and whitewashed walls reflect the heat best. Therefore, using light colours help to be cooler inside.
3. Light and soft fabrics:
Lightweight fabrics, like linen or gauze are very pleasant to wear in summer. You would feel cooler if you wear clothes made with these types of fabrics, also use shoes made of any material that can transpire.
Regarding furniture's used at home, sofas and armchairs can be covered with clear fabrics of soft fabrics. And also apply to bedding; it is also advisable to be linen and light colours.
4. Electric fans, our great allied:
They are the traditional, lower cost solution rather than air conditioning.
A simple electric ceiling fan moving hot air could decrease air temperature by 5 or more degrees Celsius. The sensation of increased air pressure on our bodies provides a very pleasant cool feeling without having the sensation a jet of freezing air from an air conditioning system.
There are several strategic locations which must be taken into consideration in a house to install the fans. The living room, bedrooms and kitchen are essential to be considered. In the worst of cases a movable fan could be used and used in the place where one is but the ceiling fan is our best bet. Now days they sell them with remote control enabling the user not only to switch on and off but to control its speed too.
Apart from the above, those people who may find the air from the fan unpleasant, the flow of air could be modified so that instead of pushing the air towards the person they can absorb the air (by changing the direction of the fan blades) so that the air sensation or ones skin is minimized.
If you want to even increase the benefits of the ordinary electric fans, there are fans with water spray and can be found in specialize shops, (water nebulizers or evaporative fan), allowing a cooling of the room temperature most welcome in zones such as east Spain where the atmosphere is extremely dry.
5. Create air currents, but watch it!!:
Don´t fall into the temptation when it gets too hot, to open all windows to produce air movement as this will results in more heat getting inside. It works out in the streets where air flows without stopping, but within a house there are too many obstacles that will stop air from circulating and therefore the heat will not dissipate.
If you insist in having some air movement within the house you should follow the following rules:
The windows that will let air out of the house must be opened completely. Trying using for this task the windows which open directly to the street, where air movement is greater.
The windows that allow air into the house must be opened only a little. The windows which better serve for this purpose are windows adjacent to interior courtyards or gardens.
Next week will continue the rest of tips.