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10 Tips To Help Your HDB Stay Cool In The Heat Without Having Your Aircon Switched On 24/7

Tips to cool your home

In the relentless heat of our sunny island, it is tempting to want to be shut indoors with the aircon on full blast. But then the electric bills come in at the end of the month, and the regret of reaching out for the aircon remote every so often starts seeping in.

Money aside, decreasing our usage of aircon is also a great way to be more eco-friendly. To help you deal with the sweltering heat, here are tips to keep your house cool – without having the aircon switched on 24/7.

1. Switch your ceiling fans to an anti-clockwise rotation

home cooling tips - anti clockwise ceiling fan
Image credit: @decorfansingapore via Instagram

We don’t often take notice of the direction in which our ceiling fans are rotating – we just want some cool breeze. ASAP.

In actual fact, it’s likely to be much breezier when the blades of your ceiling fan are rotating anti-clockwise as this will help to blow air downwards towards you, instead of pushing the air up.

2. Keep doors or windows on opposite ends open to aid air circulation

home cooling tips - air ventilation
Image credit: Southern Athena 

Having all doors and windows closed in an attempt to keep the heat out actually beats the purpose of trying to cool the house down. To increase air circulation through the house, open doors or windows at opposite ends of the house. This will produce something like a DIY wind tunnel and encourage cross-ventilation throughout your home.

3. Use LED bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps instead of incandescent ones

home cooling tips - led bulbs
Led light bulbs.

Image credit: @vintage_led via Instagram

Incandescent light bulbs use electricity to heat and thus produce light…resulting in even more heat running through the household. These bulbs are often scorching hot when left on for too long, and emit a warm orange colour.

By using compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LED lights which are more energy-efficient, you will not only be able to reduce the amount of heat in the house, but also bring down the electricity bill just a little.

4. Use a dehumidifier to keep the stickiness at bay

Part of why we sweat so much in Singapore is because of the high levels of humidity. If you’ve experienced Summer in other countries such as Europe or USA, you might have been surprised to find out that one doesn’t normally sweat much there even when the sun’s rays are shining down mercilessly.

home cooling tips - dehumidifier

To combat the constant sweat droplets trickling down the temples of your forehead, install a dehumidifier to bring down the humidity levels of your house.

5. Switch off & unplug electrical appliances when not in use

home cooling tips - switch off electronics
Image credit: Maxwellstephens 

As long as we have a switch on, some electricity will be running through the cables – and that means heat is being produced. Some appliances also have a little red light to indicate that it has been plugged in but not turned on, and yes, that tiny red light also producing heat and using electricity at the same time. It’ll do you good to turn off switches when not in use.

Better yet, completely unplug your appliances from the sockets when you’re not using them so that zero heat is being produced. By doing this, you’ll not only lower your electricity bill but also reduce some heat radiating through the house.

6. Use blackout curtains that are light in colour

home cooling tips - blackout curtains
Image credit: @ptmicmacinterior via Instagram

Sunlight streaming through your windows will heat up the inside of your house. Reduce the amount of heat coming in by using blackout curtains or blinds when the sun is at its strongest in the day. If you’re heading out for the day, be sure to draw the curtains before you leave so that you can go home to a cooler house!

It’s easy to feel stifled with curtains drawn, especially if thick heavy curtains appear to only increase the warmth in the house. This might be the case if your curtains are dark coloured, as darker colours absorb heat easily.

The best way to get around this is to have light coloured blackout curtains as they will help to reflect sunlight away from the room. Curtains of lighter colours also help to create the illusion of bigger spaces. Draw them close but leave the windows open for air to circulate!

7. Stick tint film on windows to lower temperature by up to 5°C

home cooling tips - window tints
Image credit: eBay 

Curtains are our go-to when we need some privacy or to block out the harsh sunlight during the day, but you can take a further step such as sticking tint films on your windows. Many window films are also able to block UV rays and reduce heat from the sunlight.

In doing this, the temperature in the house can be lowered by up to 5 degrees. Window films will also be able to provide added privacy 24/7.

home cooling tips - tint windows
Image credit: Cotton Colours Film 

If you find these tint films too dark for your liking, there are also patterned films that give your windows a frosted look.

8. Grow more plants in the house

home cooling tips - grow plants
Image credit: @ju.lia246 via Instagram

Plants help to cool their surrounding environment by taking in carbon dioxide, and moisture is evaporated through the leaves during transpiration – both resulting in a lowered room temperature. Plants also serve as “air purifiers” by removing harmful pollutants from the air. Time to invest in some indoor plants before the next haze season envelops our city again!

9. Mist your curtains with a spray bottle

home cooling tips - mist curtains
Image credit: IKEA Singapore 

Whenever we touch our laundry tentatively to check if they are completely dried, it’s usually cool to the touch, due to the evaporation of water.

Using the same idea, you can cool down your house by misting your curtains with a spray bottle every now and then so that they are slightly damp.

10. Place frozen bottles of water in front of your standing fan

home cooling tips - frozen bottles

Think of this as building your own DIY air-conditioner. You’ll need to freeze a couple of bottles of water first, then place them on a table in front of a standing fan. As the ice in the bottle starts to melt, it’ll cool the surrounding air, which is then blown towards you by the fan. You’ll experience cooler air without having to switch on the AC at all.

Just be sure to put down a couple of towels to soak up the condensation. And once the ice has melted, you’ll have a chilled bottle of water to drink to further beat the heat.

Keeping your home cool in Singapore

The air-conditioner has become such an indispensable part of our lives today, that almost every HDB unit is fitted with one. But if you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce the monthly utility bill, try going sans air-conditioner while staying cool with these tips.

Check out our articles on buying a flat:

Cover image adapted from: @decorfansingapore via Instagram, eBay
Originally published on 11th November 2019. Last updated by Raewyn Koh on 26th March 2024.