We want to help you beat the heat without turning on the air conditioning. Do you think it's possible? The heat is a sensation that can become very uncomfortable if we are not used to it. Being in summer in some areas of Spain can take us away from the idea of vacations that some of us have if the air conditioning does not work or also think about electricity prices in Spain, rising year after year...
Simple procedures such as creating natural air currents, hydrating ourselves or resorting to awnings and fans can drastically reduce the heat inside the house without having to turn on the air conditioning. When the thermometer reaches temperatures that exceed 35°C in summer, it is difficult to resist turning on the air conditioning, however, not all of us can or want to have a device at home that cools the environment with a lot of energy.
Whether for economic reasons, health (there are many people who do not tolerate it well) or ecological, it can be torture living without this equipment in the middle of summer. However, there are many simple tricks that our grandparents already tried to keep us cool at home.
We think it's a good idea to look for alternatives to avoid the heat a bit, especially in this area of the country.
Tips to renovate your home
Use awnings and blinds
The traditional and simplest systems are sometimes the most effective in avoiding turning on the air conditioner. Keeping the house dark during the hottest hours is very effective, but it works best if you use exterior blinds or French blinds to prevent sunlight from coming through the window panes. The use of awnings is also recommended in the hottest hours, as well as to protect the garden areas or the terraces of the house.
Use light colours
It is no coincidence that in Andalusia and Extremadura, the warmest areas of Spain, white is the predominant colour on the facades of houses. Light, whitewashed walls reflect heat better, so using light colours helps maintain a lower temperature inside the house without turning on the air conditioner.
Other details such as the furniture, the colours of the walls or the sofas can greatly change the thermal sensation of a home. For example, wooden furniture helps regulate humidity in rooms. It is advisable to remove the rugs in summer and change the synthetic fibres for vegetable fibres, which better absorb moisture and heat.
Another recommendation to avoid turning on the air conditioning is that the sofas are made of natural materials such as linen or cotton. If they are leather, or worse yet, synthetic leather, it is essential that you use a cover. As for the colour, choose light colours for furniture, curtains, blinds or walls. They absorb less heat and reflect light better, although you have to find a balance with a certain number of dark colours to achieve a visually and aesthetically comfortable instance.
Long live light and soft fabrics
Light fabrics, like linen or chiffon, are very nice to wear in the summer. Using this type of fabric, both on our bodies and in our homes will relieve us from the heat without turning on the air conditioning. We can also find shoes made of any soft and breathable material.
Electric fans, our great allies
They are the traditional solution with less investment to relieve us from the heat without air conditioning. A simple electric ceiling fan that moves hot air could lower the air temperature by 5 degrees or more. The sensation of increased air pressure in our body provides a very pleasant sensation of freshness without having the sensation of a blast of cold air coming from an air conditioning system.
There are several strategic places that must be taken into account in a house to install fans: the living room, the bedrooms and the kitchen are essential to install fans since they are the rooms where we spend the most time. In the worst case, a mobile fan could be used where it is, but the ceiling fan is our best option.
There are models with remote control, which allows us not only to turn it on and off but also to control its speed. For people who find it unpleasant to receive the air directly from the fan (there are some), we can modify the airflow so that instead of pushing the air towards us, it sucks the air in by changing the direction of the fan blades and we have the sensation of the air but without receiving it directly.
If we even want to increase the performance of common electric fans, there are fans with water spray that we can find in specialized stores (water mist fans or evaporative fans), which allow cooling of the ambient temperature. These fans are very effective in very dry areas, where the thermal sensation is sometimes uncomfortable.
Create air currents
When it gets too hot, don't be tempted to open all the windows and let some air in, as this will bring in more heat. It works in the streets where the air flows non-stop, but inside a house, there are also many obstacles that will prevent the air from circulating and therefore the heat will not dissipate.
If you insist on having some air movement inside the house, we give you some recommendations:
- The windows that let the air out of the house must be opened completely, those that give directly to the street since we will enter more fresh air.
- Windows that allow air to enter the house should be opened only a little. The windows that best serve this purpose are the windows attached to interior patios or gardens.
Put solar films on the Windows
Good quality solar films are a very effective solution as they reflect light and heat and reduce heat gain by up to 82%. Thanks to these films, the temperature is also more stable, and they manage to create a cooler environment inside, as well as savings on the electricity bill. Can be installed without having to remove the glass; they can be configured using several simple methods and their purchase price can be adjusted to suit different budgets.
Transparent solar panels are designed to be placed in countless places: window panes, glass facades of buildings, car windows or, for example, on the screens of mobile devices. Currently there are several initiatives that have invented photovoltaic sheets of this type. Basically, they capture a small part of the energy received and redirect it towards the sides of the window.
Surround yourself with plants
Plant-filled patios, in addition to being beautiful, refresh the environment and can be used as an effective sunscreen. Among other plants, vines and ivy, placed on the exterior walls will receive direct sunlight, preventing the sun and heat from penetrating the walls. When water evaporates, it lowers the temperature of the environment.
We must take advantage of what nature gives us, and if we have a terrace or garden, watering them daily will help us lower the temperature by a couple of degrees. Using species adapted to the climatology of the place will allow not to consume excess irrigation water. If our house does not have a large outdoor space where you can get soaked, a solution may be to place plants and pots in the windows, which by absorbing the sun's rays will create a film of freshness that the air will spread throughout the room. room. At home. to be found.
Ventilate your house in the morning and at night
It is at these two times of the day that we will have lower temperatures in summer. It is also advisable to ventilate during the day if your home has cross ventilation, which basically consists of the natural ventilation of the home, generating natural currents by opening opposite windows at the same time. Of course, pay attention to the prevailing direction of the winds and on which facades the sun hits to prevent the air that enters from being warmer than the air that leaves.
In addition to controlling the external environment, our body will better withstand excessive heat if it is hydrated. Drinking water is essential to stay hydrated. But, in addition, if you add some mint leaves, it will give you an immediate sensation of freshness. The same goes for foods like cucumber or watermelon.
If today you cannot go to the pool or take a bath in the sea, you can get a feeling of freshness if you put your dolls under cold water for 10 seconds. Our body temperature would drop and we would feel cooler. Wetting the neck with a damp towel for a few seconds is also a good option.
Minimize the use of lights and appliances
We must avoid using the dryer, the oven, the dishwasher or the television in the hottest hours, so the environment will be cooler without the need to use the air conditioning. Electrical appliances emit a lot of heat during use, so if it is essential to use them, for example, to cook, when the ambient temperature exceeds 35º or 36º, we must stay well hydrated to avoid heat stroke, which can be very dangerous.
And as a bonus, tip number 11: ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!
This is a time of rest, vacation and relaxation. Rest and disconnect from day-to-day and work routines. Go for a walk at sunset and breathe fresh air, summer sunsets are a gift and we should enjoy them to the fullest.
Do you know more tricks to beat the heat without air conditioning? Tell us!
At Pacheco Architects we have been making our client’s dreams come true for more than 25 years. We are an architecture studio based in the Murcia and Alicante area, although we provide services nationally and internationally. You can visit some of our latest projects on our YouTube channel.