AC myths 10: Protips and hacks (cont.)
Thursday 15 September 2011, 5.08pm HKT
(Continued from Part 9)
We end the series with general tips on keeping cool and saving energy.
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Keeping cool tips
21. Wear home clothes that allow perspiration to evaporate easily, especially if you live in a high-heat, high-humidity country. Avoid cotton T-shirts (even thin ones) because they’re not that good at allowing evaporation. Wear shirts instead. A cheapo silk shirt from a stocklot outlet is highly recommended. (Details in Part 7.)
22. In hot weather or hot locations, wear loafers at work. Lace-ups warm your feet up quite a bit, as do sports shoes, sneakers, plimsolls and anything with rubber soles.
No fizzy drinks
23. Fizzy mineral water (even uncooled) cools you down better and faster than just plain cooled water. (I’ve forgotten the chemophysical principles behind this, but it works for most people anyway.)
24. When it’s really hot, stop drinking beer. You have to digest beer (and orange juice, soft drinks, soups, etc), and digestion produces heat. That’s why in hot weather, you end up having to drink more beer than otherwise with water.
General energy-saving tips
25. Close all curtains when you leave home for the day. Always curtain off any incoming direct sunlight. Even indirect sunlight streaming in will heat up the premises. Use common sense: leave some windows uncurtained off to allow heat outflow. (Details in Part 8.)
26. Mirrorise your windows with those one-way mirror films. Highly recommended if you live in any hot, sunny country.
27. Turn off lights as you leave a room, especially in summer. Lights add a lot of heat to the room. Switch to using energy-saving lightbulbs, which produce less heat.
28. Vent the clothesdryer to outdoors, otherwise it pours heat and moisture into the house air. Use the automatic cycle if your dryer has this. Clean the dryer’s lint filter screen frequently (once a week or once a fortnight). Check the exterior vent opening once a month. Overdrying clothes wastes energy and wears out your clothes.
29. Use a clothesline. (Preferably indoors, given the high pollution levels in Hong Kong.) Not everything has to be dried by a clothesdryer, although drying jeans takes up the most energy. If and when your laundry load is high, take it to a laundry service because the costs will be far lower than doing it yourself.
30. Bulk up your ceiling insulation. Not really relevant in a concrete, subtropical jungle like Hong Kong or Singapore, but important for some places. For instance, the highest recommended insulation level in Australia is R38, which is about 15 inches (38cm) deep of newer kinds of blown white fibreglass insulation. A good protective layer of ceiling insulation prevents heat from moving inwards in summer and holds heat in winter.
Fridge and freezer
31. Replace your refrigerator or freezer if it’s 10 years old or more. Normally these are low-efficiency units and burn a lot of energy. And put your fridge in the kitchen, not in the middle of the living room (as many people in Hong Kong often do) — it just heats up the living space.
32. Unplug all unused electrical appliances (e.g. phone charger, fans, etc). They still generate heat while plugged in.
33. If your location only goes up to 28°C (82°F) or more for only a few days a year, consider getting a standalone dehumidifier. It is a better bet than using the AC for moisture control. (Details in Part 7.)
34. Whitewash the exterior of your premises. Consider using reflective exterior paint to better reflect heat and light off your premises. Never paint your exterior in dark pink, brown, green or black — those colours absorb heat and infrared radiation like hell. Think of the Luke Skywaker vs. Darth Vader buildings.
35. You’re setting your AC too cold if you have to use a duvet in bed. In warm locales and with the AC on, you should only need a cotton throw (a kind of blanket).
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Use your AC properly and it will give you years of trouble-free service.
(Unless you bought a lemon like I did.)
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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011.