Heat. Humidity. 2 things that Singaporeans have to deal with daily, especially when the mid-year months (June, July, August) come around. With temperatures often exceeding 30 °C and with no drops in sight, it’s a struggle to cool down without the use of electrical appliances – all of which will push your electrical bill to the skies.
However, there are many ways in which you can keep your home cooler – whether it’s an HDB, condo, or otherwise – without having to resort to the use of expensive measures. Here are our top 5 tips:
Block out the sun
This tip may seem obvious at first, but really there’s more to it than just putting up a couple of curtains and calling it a day. Don’t just block out all your windows either, as they also play a part in naturally lighting your home while also providing for your ventilation.
Here’s how you can efficiently block the sun out:
- Find out which side of your home receives the most sunlight.
- Use a thick, light colored curtain/blinds and drape it on there. Understand that bright colors reflect light, while darker colors absorb it. That said, the former is better off at warding off any excess heat.
- Make sure to minimise any incoming sunrays to avoid a mini-greenhouse effect from happening in your home.
- Utilise any outside shade, if applicable. Trees, shrubs, and vines ought to do the trick as long as they’re thick enough.
Ventilate your home
If it’s too hot to open your windows fully during the day, then at least make sure that the air circulating the insides of your home is well set.
You can do this by setting up the ceiling fan in your unit properly. Here are 2 general guidelines to follow:
- Make sure to have the right ceiling fan. Much like any other tool, ceiling fans are useless if not utilised properly, which is why it’s so important that you use the right sized fan for your room. Here’s a guide to help you choose:
|75 sq. ft. or smaller||29 – 36 inch blades|
|76 – 144 sq. ft.||36 – 42 inch blades|
|145 – 225 sq. ft.||44 – inch blades|
|225 – 400 sq. ft.||50 – 72 inch blades|
|Greater than 400 sq. ft.||54 – 72 inch blades; more than 1 fan|
You should also check whether or not your fan is up to standard. Its blades should be angled at no less than 12 degrees, otherwise, it won’t displace enough air to be considered efficient. Just keep in mind that anything with an angle of less than 16 degrees is enough to create an adequate indoor airflow. (Anything over will cause your fan’s motor to burn out due to atmospheric resistance.)
- Check your fan’s settings. Traditionally, ceiling fans have two settings – one for winter and one for summer. In Singapore where the latter is always prevalent, it’s imperative that you set your fan to rotate counter-clockwise to maximise its use. Doing so allows it to push air down into the room, providing a cool breeze to the area under it.
When night comes and it’s still a little too warm for comfort, you could open your windows to let the cooler air in. Ensure that you do the same for all other entry or exit points for in your home, meaning that unimportant indoor doors should also be left opened to free airflow from any possible obstructions.
This one’s straightforward. Because plants absorb heat, light, and greenhouse gases while releasing oxygen and water vapor, they make for excellent indoor companions that are sure to take at least a couple degrees off of your home when done right.
That said, when going for this idea, only pick low-maintenance species so you’re not forced to have to take care of them daily. Take plants like:
- The Chinese Money Tree
- The Snake Plant
- The English Ivy
- The Spider Plant
- The Aloe Vera
- The Weeping Fig Tree
- A Baby Rubber Plant
- The Boston Fern
- Varied Cacti
- The Golden Pothos
On or not, some plugged appliances still draw electricity, which when unused, can turn into heat. Remember to turn off your lights too, especially if they’re the incandescent type, as those are notorious for generating heat. If you can, replace your bulbs with compact fluorescents instead, as they can emit up to 75% less heat.
Make long term solutions
Little things like having awnings, placing reflective film on your windows, using lighter indoor colors, and even using cool paint (which is essentially an acrylic coating with a solar reflecting membrane additive) can help significantly in keeping your home unit that much more refreshing.