Is Your Home Heat Proof?

How well does your home stand up during extreme weather outside? Is it heat proof in summer and cold proof in winter? If it isn’t, maybe you should insulate it better!

A building that has poor or even no form of insulation can be a leaky one indeed when the weather turns itself from calm and temperate to freezing cold and windy or searing hot and/or humid.

It’s no fun trying to regulate the interior temperature when outside, thing are going a little crazy. Not only will the heating and air conditioning systems be heavily burdened to keep things on an even keel inside, it is going to cost you a lot more in energy usage to keep that valiant machine powered up!

How to Insulate Most Effectively

The best kind of insulation starts with plugging any obvious holes in the building’s outer shell. Namely the walls, roof and the frames of any openings such as windows and doors. Holes let in air from outside and also let out air from inside.

So if you’re trying to get warm during cold weather, all your expensive heat will just escape through any large cracks and gaping holes and your heating system will be working overtime to make up the loss. Same goes in summer, when it’s really hot out there and your air conditioning system is running full tilt just to keep the internal temperature to a barely habitable level!

The first job is to walk around the place and plug those holes and cracks when you find them.

Of course, this is unlikely to be a problem in new buildings that are probably ready-insulated and weather tight anyway. But for older buildings, cement and moldings may have shifted or woodwork rotted over the years and those holes will have appeared.

The next job is on the roof, to make sure there are no gaps in the shingles or roof tiles. When you’re satisfied the roof is tight, it’s time to up in the attic. If there is no insulation up there, you’ll need to get some installed. It pays for itself in the long term in lower electricity bills.

Good Reasons to Install Radiant Barrier Insulation

There are several houses in our street and you can usually tell which ones have some kind of insulation fitted in their attics in winter when it snows. The houses with snow on their roofs are the ones with insulation and the houses with clear roofs are the ones without.

This is a pretty good advertisement for its benefits, because having radiant barrier insulation installed in your attic will prevent all that heat loss through your attic in winter. OK, that means you will have to get up on your roof and clear the snow yourself, but it is a darn sight cheaper than spending all that extra in power bills to have your home’s heating system melt it for you, which in effect is what is happening.

All that heat that you are paying for is escaping through your roof and without insulation it is literally money going up in smoke! But it is not just in winter that you save money with attic insulation.

In summer when it gets real hot outside and you are running your air conditioning, it runs more efficiently when it doesn’t have to deal with the heat that is sneaking in through your attic by convection, which an insulated attic would keep out. That means you get to stay cool indoors for less energy usage and lower electricity bills!

Cooling a Hot Kitchen

If you’re like me and spend quite some time in the kitchen preparing and cooking meals, you’re probably accustomed to the hot, sweaty conditions in there especially when you have something nice roasting in the oven while several pots are boiling away on the stove! How to cool things down when most of the energy being used in there is for heating things up?

The most common solution is to open the windows and let some fresh air in, which works great in winter but not so well in summer. That’s when the blast of not-so-welcome warm air is accompanied by a host of even less welcome flying insects that seem to be waiting to pounce on me!

Air Conditioning

Of course, since my specialist subject is not actually cooking, but air conditioning, that would seem to be a pretty good second choice solution if opening a window is not going to help much aside from satisfying the curiosity of a swarm of hungry bugs. Darn those bugs!

During the hot months, I keep the windows closed and rely on the extractor fans to vent, suck up and expel as much of the excess heat as they can manage along with any unwanted cooking smells. Maybe I’m not very picky, but I could never understand why anyone would call cooking smells “unwanted” since they smell great to me!

There are good and bad points to following up on that idea, which I thought I’d share with you.

Kitchen AC Good Points

The obvious good points for having an AC running in the kitchen to relieve some of the heat issues are:

  • Reduces the temperature in the kitchen to a more comfortable level
  • Reduces excess humidity from all that steam
  • Cycles the air

That might not be a lot of points, but they’re the ones that matter most.

Kitchen AC Bad Points

Unfortunately, there are some negative aspects to having an AC running in a kitchen while you’re cooking. These are:

  • Uses a lot of extra electricity to cope with the high cooling load
  • Works a lot harder in conjunction with cooking fans extracting the air
  • Can get overwhelmed by excess moisture, smoke and grease fumes circulating in the air

A major problem that faces an AC during a heavy cooking session is that it is constantly fighting with the cooking fans which are extracting air all the time out of the room, some of which is the cool air created by the AC. The fans draw out the air making the AC work much harder to keep replacing it with more cool air, much like leaving a window wide open.

If you turn off the fans, the AC may not cope with the very high level of moisture from boiling pans and kettles. It will, over time become clogged by airborne grease particulates thrown off by frying pans (yes, I do fry stuff).

Swamp Cooler

A slightly better alternative to AC is to use evaporative cooling (a swamp cooler). This kind of device doesn’t use much electricity, so is not wasteful of energy like an AC battling with cookers and fans. If placed by an open door, a swamp cooler will send in a nice cool breeze that will reduce the temperature some and the air can be cycled adequately by the cooker fans which will also help to extract excess moisture.

It’s not perfect, but is workable as long as there isn’t way too much water boiling happening.

Another simpler and rather funny solution as my son pointed out is to put insect screens up at the windows and then we can have them open without being invaded by flying bugs! Simple solutions are usually the best ones.

Cool Out on the Patio

During summer, I love to spend some time relaxing out on the patio, especially in the early evening. Only problem is the heat kind of spoils things. But that’s not a problem for me because I figured out that putting a big evaporative cooler out there with me cools things down perfectly!

Now why would anyone go and put a device that blows cold air outside when it’s the inside of the house that needs cooling down mostly? Well, that’s my little trick that I’m going to share with you now.

Swamp Coolers Outdoors

Cool Patio

Really, you can put a swamp cooler outside and benefit from the cold air it blasts out when it’s scorchingly hot out there. Remember, these coolers are super frugal when it comes to using electricity unlike their big energy-hog cousins, air conditioners!

Sure, I’d be crazy to put a portable air conditioner out on the patio. That’s because it would send my utility bill through the roof and the benefit in cooled air would be greatly offset by the heat rising from the top of my head and the steam coming out of my ears when I saw an electricity bill the size of Texas!

But that doesn’t happen with my swamp cooler. It burns about 100 watts to blast out a steady stream of cold air right in my direction where I’m relaxing and really chilling in my comfy recliner out there on the patio where I can read my book in peace and not be getting all hot and sweaty.

Cheaper than Cheap

Of course, even 100 watts of electricity costs some money, I’m not trying to hide that. But it sure is a whole load less than the 2,500 watts my neighbor’s portable AC guzzles up when he uses it indoors. Poor old guy has nothing but an old fan to blow hot air on him when he sits out on his patio!

While I’m not getting cool for free, I’m getting it pretty darn cheap and my comfort is worth the small outlay in running the evaporative cooler out there where I’m sitting. Now that’s a nice way to stay cool!

Oh yeah, while I think of it. While I’m sitting outside reading my book being cooled by the swampie, I’m not running any cooling in the house, so I’m actually saving money by sitting out there. Yeah, I know that’s a kind of strange philosophy, but it’s true and there’s no getting away from the incontrovertible fact that I cannot be in two places at once!

One More Benefit

So where I am is where I stay cooled and comforted while I relax, enjoy my calm corner of the world and enjoy reading my book where I want to. There’s the first and most important benefit of using a swamp cooler outdoors.

I get to sit outside on a beautiful sunny day without getting overheated by the sun, enjoying some summer chill. And you know one other amazing benefit of having that chilled air blasted at my from the swampie? Insects hate it and don’t bother me while I’m sitting in that stream of cold wind!

Stay Cool Don’t Vent

You need to stay cool and be relaxed, calm and peaceful. You just can’t do it when it’s real hot, you’re sweating and all flustered. AC to the rescue! But here’s the thing to ponder over: To vent or not to vent, is that even a question?

I’m writing this because I love summer, enjoy the sun and the warmth but I’m not so happy trying to sleep when it’s so hot and I’m drenched in perspiration. I love the cool breeze an AC sends out but because I couldn’t afford to install a big system or even a mini-split, I opted for a portable air conditioner.

No Hose, No Blows

cool air
Cool Air

All fine in hotland you might say and yeah, I guess it is. It’s cool. Only thing is I hated that I had to hang that ugly plastic hose out my window, so I got a window kit.

But I still have that hose looking at me and sneering, “I know I’m ugly but I’m here, I’m in your face and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

So I live with it, put up with it and just get on with enjoying being cool indoors.

But then I heard about an alternative kind of cooler that is vent-free.

It’s a truly ventless air cooler that’s moveable and it still works without needing the window kit or even a hose. Read about the current best high powered evaporative coolers here: here: and never look back!

Evaporative Coolness

It’s a great, low cost, low energy hogging alternative to the room refrigeration monster with the big ugly tail. No exhaust means no hose needed to vent hot air out a window, because there’s no hot air! Just a cooled breeze that feels natural and kinda nice.

These coolers work simply by evaporating moisture and blowing the chilled air into the room with a fan. They use about 100-200 watts of electricity and that’s a massive saving over the kilowatt or two a small portable AC uses to do the same job.

The only real downside is that these kinds of cooler don’t perform well in areas that have high humidity. A humid atmosphere reduces the ability to evaporate moisture and absorb it into the air, which has the knock-on effect of reducing the ability to produce a cooling effect from evaporation.

But if you live an an area that has predominantly dry air during the hot months, you’re good to go!

I’m getting me one as soon as possible and then we’ll see how great it works. I hear you can just wheel these units from room to room and all you need to do is unplug the power supply and then plug it in where you decide to take it next. How amazing is that?

Oh yeah. Time to chill. No more pointless hose to stare and me with that sneering, blank look that I hate. Yeah, we’ll see who is still smiling you ugly hose… and how smug you’re feeling when I put you out with the trash!

A Summer Chill

What could this sudden feeling of coldness be on such a warm, sunny summer’s day? Logic would dictate that since the temperature outside is hovering somewhere in the low 80s Fahrenheit, everything in this house of mine would be similarly temperate since there is a glaring lack of air conditioning or other artificial means of lowering the temperature.

Yet here I sit, feeling positively chilled to the bone wrapped in a blanket lying on the sofa!

Methinks something is not quite right inside the old skin and bones and perhaps it might be a better than bad idea to consider calling in the doctor. For if my logic is sound, there is a better than average chance I’m coming down with something that I’d rather not be coming down with and that a timely prescribed potion from a medical magician might alleviate.

Chilled or Chilling?

Not for the fleetest moment did it enter my head that something else might be the cause of my sudden feeling of the shivers on this hot day. What else could possibly cause this was not a notion that I would entertain. I was pretty sure it was a case of the common cold or even influenza that was laying me low.

It just so happened that my neighbor is a medical man and also a personal friend, so I did not hesitate any longer in getting him on the phone. It was, after all a Saturday and he would not be at work.

Luck was with me. He answered and said he’d be round in a jiffy.

What happened next was completely unexpected.

The Doctor Visits

Knowing there was a fairly good chance I would be unwilling to leave the sanctity of my sofa to answer the front door, my doctor friend came in through the unlocked back door and found me huddled like a frightened child in my tightly wrapped blanket looking rather sorry for myself.

The doctor was already rubbing his hands together and looking rather cold standing there in shorts and a short sleeved shirt fashionably un-tucked. “Hey Buddy, when did you get the air conditioning installed?”


“It’s freezing in here Bud. You don’t need a doctor, you need a handyman who knows how to turn down the thermostat!”

That kind of made me sit up rather sharply and furrow my brow in complete puzzlement. “I don’t have AC, Doc as you keep reminding me every summer when you call round for a cold beer.” I was beginning to wonder if he might not be pulling my leg, figuratively speaking. “Oh, I get it. Very funny. The beer is in the fridge where it always is you joker!”

“Um, I’m not joking with you Bud. I’m standing here armed with some rinky dink meds to fight your summer chill and it’s not you that’s cold. It’s this house!”

I slowly got up and dropped the blanket. I took a deep breath and discovered I could do this easily. No blocked nose or need to cough. I went over to the mirror and looked at my face. Not at all blotchy or red as I imagined it would be.

“Hey, I’m not sick, am I?” I offered reluctantly.

“Without looking you over, I can’t make that determination of course, but from here, you look OK to me.” The doctor pondered for a moment, then, “I think I’ll have that beer. Maybe you should join me.”

“Good idea Doc. In fact, let’s go out on the porch and drink it. I’m starting to get the heebie-jeebies in here.”

We grabbed two bottles of Coors from the fridge and headed out to the porch. It was wonderfully warm and relaxing out there. Not at all like the spookily chilly inside.

“What do you think, Doc? Is my place suddenly haunted?”

“Bud, you know I’m a man of science and ghosts and goblins don’t fit into that place. But you sure got something a little crazy happening in there if you don’t have any AC running overtime.” The doctor cracked open his beer and took a long swig. “Let’s just warm up out here a while and let the beers do the cooling.”

“I concur with your professional prognosis, Doc. Hey, it’s a darn nice day out here!”

Moral of the Story

If your house is cold even in summer and you’re not sick, a cold beer on a warn porch might not cure the problem, but it makes it a whole load easier to deal with.

Stay Cool with Portable Room Air Conditioning

People who enjoy being comfortable in their homes can read this and learn about keeping cool when the weather is hot with portable air conditioning.

There nothing quite like coming home in the heat of a steamingly hot summer’s day, walking into the house and being greeted by a blast of cool air as you go through the front door. Being able to sit in comfort with an air temperature regulated to a more civilized level is one of life’s essentials when you live in a hot climate, or at least an area that has very hot summers.

The traditional way to beat the heat is to instal whole house air conditioning, which is very nice as you can walk from room to room in that same regulated temperature which defies the outside atmosphere’s attempts to make you sweat. However, in many cases, this kind of solution can be not only expensive to install and run, but it is also hugely wasteful of power.

A better solution, especially for people who live alone or where there are only two of you living together is to opt for a portable air conditioner unit that can be moved around from room to room as you occupy them. Lets look at their advantages and why you would choose this option over any other.

Portable Air Conditioner Units Advantages

The main advantages of portable air conditioner units over the more conventional fixed room air conditioners or whole house air conditioning systems is that you not only have the benefit of portability, but you also save money by only needing the one air conditioning unit to serve several rooms in your home.

If you were to fit fixed air conditioning units in each room, the cost would be considerable and of course you would be tempted to leave units running in rooms that were not occupied “In readiness” for when they would be later. Often it happens that a room air conditioner will run for several hours keeping the air cool for the cockroaches until a human comes along and switches it off after deciding that no one will use the room after all.

Nice for cockroaches, but murder for humans when they get the next electricity utility bill!

On the other hand, single room portable air conditioners cut out that last problem completely, which is tough luck for the cockroaches. The unit is only switched on in the room you are occupying such as the living room while you are watching TV.

When you decide to go to another room, say to the bedroom to sleep, you simply wheel the portable air conditioning unit with you and withing minutes, your bedroom is cooled to a comfortable temperature and you can sleep in comfort while the unit controls the room’s temperature via its built-in thermostat.

Another advantage is the portable air conditioner units do not need to be permanently fixed to an outside wall, but can vent through any open space such as a window or door to the outside. You can find out more about them by visiting this great site:

The Power Savings of Portable Room Air Conditioner Units

As already stated earlier, with a portable room air conditioner unit you do not have the problem associated with whole house air conditioning or fixed units in every room that can be left on even when no human is in there or is even likely to occupy it anytime that day. That scenario is extremely costly in terms of power consumption and wastage.

What’s more that wasted power has to be paid for not just by the homeowner when they get the quarterly electricity utility bill, but also by the environment. That’s because polluting fuels are needed to generate the electricity that those hapless homeowners are wasting.

Surely it would be more sensible to only cool the room or rooms that humans are actually occupying. Even for small families, the purchase of two or three portable room air conditioner units is cheaper than having dedicated units installed in every room in the house and you have more control over the amount of power that is being used by there being far fewer units that can be switched on at any one time.

This saves power, saves money and saves the wastage that helps to wreck the environment. Common sense can be a pretty wonderful thing when its used properly!