7 tips for keeping cool this summer

There’s nowhere quite like Australia in summer — we’re famous for our beaches, cricket and backyard barbies. But to enjoy summer, we have to combat the high temperatures and the sun that’s heating our homes. Here are some easy tips from our Summer Checklist. You’ll be surprised at what you can do without breaking a sweat.

Turn off the lights and TV

You’d be surprised how much household lights can affect the temperature of a room on hot summer days. Turn off all heat sources such as lamps, plug-in power adapters, your computer and the TV when you’re not using them. Anything electrical in your home ultimately turns into heat, so anything not being used should be turned off at the wall.

Keep the heat out

Keep the heat out of your house by closing the windows and blinds before the sun hits your property in the morning. This is particularly important for windows along the northern and western side of your property. Awnings, deciduous trees and pergolas with deciduous vines are great options because they give you shade in summer and sun in the winter.

When the cool of the night comes, open the house back up again and let the cool breeze circulate. Many areas in Australia have hot days and cool nights so you can use this to your advantage.

Get the air moving

Moving air, even a little, makes a big difference, plus it has the added benefit of saving on energy costs and consumption. Having doors and windows aligned will help here – so when you open the house up cross ventilation can easily flow each room, but best to do this in the evening when the temperature is cooler.

Another way to increase air circulation and cool your room down in a low energy way is to install ceiling fans or use a portable fan. Consider turning the fan on in the first instance instead of the air conditioner as they cost almost nothing to run.

Air conditioning thermostat

Hot weather can make you feel like you want to turn your air conditioning right down, but cooling to 26 degrees will still keep you comfortable and save you money. Setting your thermostat to just one degree cooler can increase your cooling bill by 15% according to Environment Victoria.

Strategically placed trees

Nature can help you keep your home cool and help reduce your energy bills. Whilst this is not an instant fix, consider planting a deciduous tree on the east and west sides of your home to help keep solar heat from direct contact with windows and roofs. It is also recommended to plant shrubs around air conditioning units to protect them from the beating sun and if you are able to plant or place pots under north facing windows they will help absorb some of the heat and help keep your home cooler.

Insulate and seal the house

Insulation doesn’t just keep your home warm in winter, it also has the added benefit of keeping it cool in summer particularly if you use both bulk insulation (big batts) and foil insulation (thin sheets). According to Environment Victoria, insulation can cut your energy use by 45%!

It is also worth improving the sealing around all windows and doors and perhaps consider adding glazing to your windows.

Reduce your AC load

If you own an air conditioner there are ways you can help reduce the load and its energy consumption. Close your windows and blinds so the AC can function as effectively as possible, use the AC only on the hottest days and remember to turn the system off when you are out. Any external AC units should be installed on the southern or shaded side of the property and make sure when you are choosing one that it is the right size for your space.

Preparing your home for holidays

Preparing for Holidays

Counting down the days until your holidays start? There’s more to just packing your bags and hitting the road before the r ‘n r commences. To ensure you come back from your break relaxed and staying that way, spend a little time pre holidays to prepare your home.

Pets, security and the garden all need to be taken care of while you are away. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to make sure your animals are well cared for, your home is secure and your garden to survive. Here is a brief outline of how to prepare before you log off and take off.


If you’ve found a holiday home that is happy to take pets then problem sorted. If not you have to consider what to do with your furry friends.

For cats and dogs that aren’t too anxious then sending them to a boarding kennel is the easiest solution. Do a bit of research and get recommendations to ensure the kennel you choose is reputable. It might even be worth a trip out to look at the facilities before you confirm to give you peace of mind.

Pets that are happier to stay at home might need the services of a professional pet sitter, if you can’t call on a friend or relative to help. A pet minder should visit your cat or dog twice a day and provide the food and exercise routines you have provided. If they need any medication or have phobias make sure the minder is aware of this and leave your vets contact details.

Relaxed pets should be happy to stay with family or friends while you are away. Make sure it is someone you can trust and rely that your furry friend will be treated well while you are on holidays.


Before you shut the door behind you and head off to a blissful break, ensure your home is secure. Talk to your trusted neighbors and let them know how long you will be away for. Ask them to keep an eye out for anything unusual happening at your property. If you have a good relationship you could also as them to bring in your mail and rubbish bins.

Double check everything is locked securely and put some lights on automatic switches for a few hours each evening. A small radio going in the kitchen also creates a bit of noise to deter intruders. We buy houses in Lancaster.

Cancel any regular deliveries so you don’t have boxes or newspapers piling up at your doorstep. Finally, have a chat with the kids and tell them not to post any information about your holiday on social media channels. This is just an ad letting a huge number of people know your house is empty.


After spending most of the year tending and nurturing your garden you don’t want to go away and come back to dead plants. Angie Thomas, Horticultural Communications Manager for Yates shared some invaluable advice on how to keep your garden green.

Group potted plants together so that watering is easy if someone is minding your garden. Place saucers underneath tender potted plants like hydrangeas, which dry out quickly in hot conditions. The saucer will catch excess water and there’s enough remaining for the plants to draw on during hot days. Remove the saucers when you return.

Move tender plants into a shaded position outdoors where they will benefit from any natural rainfall. Spray plants and seedlings with an application of Yates® Waterwise™ Droughtshield™. This helps reduce water loss from the leaves and increase the plants chances of survival during stress conditions.

Use a soil wetter around the root zone in garden beds will help get water down where it’s needed, by breaking down the waxy water repellant layer that can develop on the soil surface. Plants can take advantage of any natural rainfall, as water will soak into the soil instead of running off the surface.

Group indoor plants together in a well lit bathroom. The bath or the laundry sink is a good spot. Water them well and put a wet towel under the base of the pots helps if you are away for longer than a week or so.

Mow the lawn before you leave but don’t be tempted to mow it too low as longer lawns dry out less and stay greener in summer.