Sunday, 15 December 2013

Five ways of keeping cool at home this summer

This post was in collaboration with The Water People 

Summer. It’s getting to that time of year where things are really start to heat up around here.

We’re pretty lucky the Sow’s Ear is a reasonably cool house but on those really hot 30+ Celsius days there’s no escaping the terrible heat. Here are a couple of tricks we use to stay chilled over the summer period.

1. Fans and air conditioning
We have a number of pedestal fans which we keep running 24/7 on those very hot days. It is a low-cost method of cooling the Sow’s Ear. We also have an air conditioner in the master bedroom which we use mostly at night to get a comfortable night’s sleep.

The split system air conditioner is quite old and is actually on its last legs…it was already here when we bought the Sow’s Ear 4 1/2 years ago but it’s just started to condense and drip water.   We’ve now put a new air conditioner on our wish list for the New Year. I’ll be looking at a Queensland-based provider similar to Vic Air (which operates in Victoria) because it might be the easier option than DIY.

2. Cotton and loose fit clothing
Only natural fibres can touch our bodies during the summer months. Even looking at clothing that is slightly synthetic makes me feel hot…and I’m known for my love of the flammable frock! During summer, fashion is a mix of cotton and linen with my uniform being sarongs and singlet tops.

3. Cold food and drinks
We have a complete menu revamp over the summer period…think lots of salads (with iceberg lettuce for the placebo effect), cold meats, ice desserts and plenty of cold beverages.  I dislike turning the oven on when it so hot, as it just heats up the house unnecessarily.  Light and easy meals always seems like the best way to go.

Also ice cold water is the best way to keep cool and hydrated – I wish I had a water filter system or ice making fridge to keep the water flowing. I’ve visited The Water People to see what types of chilled water systems they have for domestic kitchens – it’s given me food for thought…

4. Sprinkler
Since we’ve been working around the garden the last few weeks, the sprinkler is getting a fair bit of a workout. The kids often come out when I am watering the yard and cool off that way. It’s the poor man’s swimming pool! It also kills two birds with one stone – keeping the kids cool and occupied while giving the garden a good drink.

5. Finding a cool shady spot
We change how we use our house depending on the time of day. In the morning, the kitchen and deck are the coolest spots in the house. In the evenings, the front of the house is cooler and gets the afternoon breezes. We are in the fortunate position to have an area under the house which is relatively cool. It is always a few degrees cooler under there. Some days we just set up down there and tinker about during the heat of the day.

So, what do you do to stay cool over summer? 


  1. We had a huge ice storm over a week ago, and things are just now thawing from our 20 degree (-7 C) weather, but in just a few months we'll be dealing with 105 degree weather (40+ C). Ceiling fans will be going non-stop, in addition to central air conditioning that never gets turned off. We'll be drinking lots of iced tea and eating lots of salads and meats grilled outdoors. Like you, I don't use the stove/oven much during the summer. I usually make a gallon of gazpacho at a time that I keep icy cold and eat a lot of melon and homegrown tomatoes.

    1. OMG Dana. -7 is crazy weather and so is 40+. So extreme. Gazpacho is a great idea. I'll try that this summer. Xx

  2. I just dusted off our 3 pedestal fans today! We are looking at getting a split system in our bedroom too. It was an add-on to our 1960's house and has no insulation! Hothouse in summer!! Good luck for keeping cool up there!

  3. I'm dreading those really hot days...we did notice a big difference when we insulated though. Slightly more bearable. cx

  4. Without having lived in the house we are renovating it's hard to say what it will be like, but due to the design I think it will be comfortable. We don't cop any westerly sun and we catch exceptional breezes. The extension is fully insulated and we have also insulated the cottage (where we could.) With than in mind we decided not to go with ducted A/c, instead we have installed ceiling fans in each of the bedrooms and a bulkhead A/c system in the living room only. Keep you posted..... xx

    1. I'd be interested to see how you go. Insulation helps definitely. Ceiling fans will make a great difference too. Our ceiling roses were too pretty for ceiling fans,..if we had plain old vjs as a ceiling it would've been an easier choice! Lucky you not to get westerly sun. Our back deck gets hit with we avoid it for a few hours in the arvo! Xx

  5. I do love the poor mans swimming pool, its especially sad when our neighbours are yahooing in their pool and we are sitting on the sprinkler! A cold face washer is great for a hot night too!

  6. Ha ha! Yes, it's torture when the neghbours have a swimming pool and you don't when it is super hot! Love the cold face washer idea...andd with the fan blasting! xx


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