The Philippines is now in the middle of its dry season, which others often refer to as summer. This means warmer conditions and hotter days. While some of us could take some time off to cool down on beaches and pools, we still undeniably spend most of our days in our homes. So, we try to find ways in making our stay cool and comfortable. Read more for some tips and tricks in reducing heat inside your home especially during the dry or summer season in a tropical country.
Air Circulation at Home
First, we need to understand that it is important to have good air circulation inside our houses if we want to keep them from absorbing all the heat outside. Some of the urban houses around the metro already started to demonstrate how. Keeping all of the windows tightly shut throughout the day to keep the hot air out and only opening them at night to let the soft nighttime breeze cool the overheated stone walls. This is the same night cooling or free cooling principle that is now employed in major office building ventilation systems.
But the real question is how to reduce the heat inside the house if you want your windows open to feel and breathe the air outside? Keeping the room cool while maximizing the breeze that comes in and out is one thing to be considered.
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As most of us are aware of, the average yearly temperature of the earth continues to rise with the last two years being the warmest on record. For almost everyone, higher temperatures are starting to become the norm. If the current global warming trend continues, households will need to discover strategies to deal with hotter temperatures as early as now. This is not only to stay comfortable but also to avoid the rising costs of air conditioning. Such strategies to be considered or discovered must answer the concern on how to reduce heat in a room without buying air-conditioning units.
Since the pandemic is not yet over, we also need to think of a cheaper way in reducing heat inside our houses or making them cool despite the current and continuous warm temperature experienced by the country.
Another prominent reason why we need to deal with this heat concern is our work productivity. Although living in a tropical country like the Philippines already makes us a little bit more tolerating of the heat, it should not let us disregard that there is a need to deal with a very humid environment. When we feel hot, especially now that a lot of us are still working from home with no air coolers or air conditioning, it is definitely a struggle to keep our focus on our tasks. Too much heat can also drain our energy leading to us being unproductive.
And so, we are indeed thankful for the bright ideas some households shared that they are currently using effectively. Because of this, we are gaining and finding more solutions on how to reduce the heat inside our homes. These options are available and could help us save money on energy bills. Although air conditioning is a much faster way of cooling our spaces, it definitely costs us more, a heavy burden on our pockets.
With this, let us now take a look at the different ways how to reduce the heat in a room or basically make your corners heat-proof. Some of these include installing a cool roof, improving insulation, and adding shading.
Tips to Reduce Heat Inside a Room
Here is a closer look at these and more options that you could consider for your own households:
1. Installing Cool Roofs
This cooling strategy makes use of technologies involved in reducing heat inside our houses’. It is designed to reflect more amount of sunlight rather than absorbing it. There are obvious benefits to installing cool roofs.
One, it is energy-saving. A regular or conventional roof can be hotter than the surroundings as high as 30 degrees Celsius. This additional heat goes down to the building or to our houses. But cool roofs can reduce heat in a room. According to the EESI (Environmental and Energy Study Institute), a cool roof can reduce the required energy of air conditioning by up to 15%, which eventually leads to savings in our energy bills as well.
Another benefit of cool roofs is their ability to help our planet mitigate climate change. As they help in making the sun’s energy bounce back to the atmosphere, it means that the number of fossil fuels used or burned to power air conditioning will also be greatly reduced. And in this process, a lesser amount of greenhouse gases are emitted.
If you or your family is already using solar panels for your energy consumption at home, installing cool roofs will help in energy production. Since it reduces the temperature on the surface of your roof, it means it could help your panel installations be more efficient. Based on the information given again by the EESI, the elimination of excess heat can greatly increase the production of solar power energy by up to 16 percent.
Finally, as homeowners, cool roofs have an extensive lifeline than regular roofs. This means we could save money from reconstruction and maintenance.
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If you are one to consider this strategy, it is also significant to know that there are different types of cool roofs. You can set them as options based on your budget and your needs. To give you an overview, some of its types are naturally cool roofs that simply make use of white surface materials; coated roofs that uses solar reflective coating; insulated cool roofs that is a pairing of the white coating with thermally resistant insulation; and green roofs that is the covering of roofs using plant life.
2. Improving Insulation
This other heat-proofing strategy is all about creating barriers to cut down the heat that could possibly enter our homes during hot weather. At the same time, it also helps in keeping the coolness of our space by not allowing the cold air to leave. Similar to cool roofs, this is also an energy and money-saving technique you can apply in your home.
As houses are very much different from one another, there is no single or generalized way to improve the insulation of each one. Thus, we shall be listing down collated ways to insulate your homes. Pick any that you think would be suitable for you and your family.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy website, the following are some types of insulation that you could choose from depending on your need.
Their material could range from fiberglass, wool, plastic fibers, and natural fibers. You could use this type of insulation on your unfinished walls, floors, and ceilings. One of the best advantages of such insulation method is that it could be a do-it-yourself home improvement project.
B. Concrete blocks
These could be made up of foam boards, foam beads, or foam air. Similar to blankets, it could also be installed for your unfinished walls or your already built walls. Additionally, it could be applied during new construction or renovation. One benefit of using insulating concrete blocks is that it places mass inside an already conditioned space and therefore could moderate indoor temperatures.
C. Rigid foams
These are made from polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, polyurethane, or phenolic. Such type of insulation can be installed in your foundation walls, floors, ceilings, and unvented low-slope roofs. Its advantages include having a high insulating value despite relatively thinner material and the ability to block thermal short circuits when they are installed over frames.
D. Insulating concrete forms
This is made up of foam boards or foam blocks that can be utilized for your walls. Since this type of insulation is built as part of your home structure literally, it creates a really high thermal resistance.
E. Reflective system
This could be created using foil-faced kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles, or cardboard which can be installed either on your walls, ceilings, or floors. Like blankets, this could be a do-it-yourself work.
A further advantage of this is that it is suitable for framing standard spacing, framing irregular despite the presence of an obstruction, and it is very effective in the prevention of downward heat flow.
This strategy is not as cheap as the other ones at first look, but you may consider insulating your homes as a strategy how to reduce the heat inside the house for a much longer time.
3. Adding shading
Another option on how to reduce the heat inside the room is using a shading device to help keep your home cool without using the quite expensive air-conditioning. This simple process of blocking or controlling the sun’s light and energy can significantly reduce the heat inside the house, especially in areas that have a warmer climate. This strategy may be simple but there are ways to maximize its functions. For instance, one cannot simply place a shading device wherever or in any orientation he or she wanted. Although it would already show its effect in controlling the heat and light without proper installation, knowing the appropriate shading design will be more effective.
Based on the article researched and written by Donald Prowler of the Whole Building Design Guide organization, here are some guides in creating your own shading system:
Study the sun’s angles. This is critical to the designing aspects of your shades. This process includes getting familiar with your house’s orientation, selecting your shading device, and adding or placing panels or solar collectors, should you have any.
Carefully choose the shading device. One of the most important things to consider is the durability of your device. We should be aware that this device, just like any others, would need maintenance and repairs to keep being operational.
And most importantly, remember that shading strategies that work well in one angle or latitude do not mean that they will work for others. Always assess and study the details of the place you will add new shading.
Other strategies to consider in reducing heat and keeping your home cool:
Aside from the main and great strategies mentioned, there are also some simpler ways we could reduce the heat inside the house during this really dry season. Look at the following tips and try to practice them:
Using a dehumidifier. This device helps in removing excess moisture from the air. In this process, the air will feel much cooler despite warm temperatures.
1. Unplugging devices
Plugging devices into sockets produces heat, even if we do not really notice it most of the time. So, if your gadgets or any electronics not being used, you can unplug them to help in reducing heat inside your home.
2. Using natural light
Our light bulbs and fluorescent lamps produce a great amount of heat that circulates around our space. Thus, during the daytime, you may consider turning them off and maximizing the use of natural light through your windows.
If you have backyard or front yard space, it is not new information to us that plants are a source of shades. For this tip, you may mix flowers, trees, vines, and shrubs to create your landscape. You can also place them to shade your air-conditioning unit but make sure that they will not block the part where the air flows.
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4. Consider ceiling fans
Apparently, ceiling fans are really efficient in reducing the heat inside the room and are more energy-saving than the other types of fans and air-conditioning devices. The reason for this is that they create a wind-chill effect which makes the air cooler. They can also be best used with air conditioning since you will be able to turn up the temperature and the room will retain its coolness.
Our houses should feel like home and be a place of comfort. Whether you have a big budget and just do not know how to utilize on reducing the heat inside the house with a limited resources to buy cooling devices, there are a lot of ways to help reduce heat in a room and keep your home cool: from installing cool roofs, insulating your houses, and creating your own shading system to a much simpler day to day activity adjustments of unplugging your unused devices and bulbs, and buying that dehumidifier. Know that you have a wide range of options to make yourself, and the ones you are with, comfortable.