Using natural ventilation can lead to lower power bills and a healthier indoor environment, a building expert said, sharing some tips to keep your home cool with hotter weather just around the corner.
Construction supervisor Venson Flores took time out from overseeing an apartment building project in Imus, Cavite to explain how good ventilation can make a home more comfortable.
“The secret is to keep air moving,” Flores said. “If the air in your house or apartment is too warm, using the air conditioner just to blow cold air into the space doesn’t work well unless there’s some way for the warm air to get out.”
Flores recommended installing screen doors and window screens to allow doors and windows to remain open as much as possible, pointing out that the building he was overseeing – an eight-unit apartment building – was being equipped for screens.
“Even without aircon or electric fans, a window or door open on both sides of the house will create an air flow, and keep the inside cooler,” he said.
Flores also explained that most people do not use electric fans efficiently.
“Remember, we learned in science in school that there is really no such thing as ‘cold,’ only ‘more heat’ or ‘less heat’,” he said. “Most people, when it’s cooler outside, will place a fan to blow air into the room. But what you really want to do is move the hotter air out of the room. To do this, simply turn the fan around to blow out the window.”
Flores added that to make the air flow work most efficiently, it is important to open a window or door on the cooler side of the house, so that cooler air would flow in to replace the warm air being pushed out by the fan.
“In general, the west and south sides of the house or apartment are the warmest, so place your fan to blow air out that direction, and open a door or window on the other side,” Flores said.
Ceiling fan is a plus
One of the most effective ways to keep a house or apartment cool is to install ceiling fans, Flores recommended.
“If you have aircon, using a ceiling fan helps to move the cooler air around the room and through the house,” Flores said. “That way, you can use a smaller aircon unit and save electricity.”
According to information provided online by the major US home improvement retailer Lowe’s, a ceiling fan should be installed no less than eight inches from the ceiling and at least seven feet above the floor, with the ends of the blades no more than 20 inches from the nearest wall for maximum efficiency.
As a final tip, Flores pointed out the importance of keeping fans and air conditioning units clean.
“A fan works better when the screen and blades are clean,” Flores said. “And make sure to clean your aircon filter regularly, and have the unit taken down and cleaned completely at least once a year.”