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Close or open windows in hot weather? Secrets of natural air conditioning

06.06.2024

In terms of comfort indoors, summer days can be a difficult time due to the heat. Wondering how best to manage your windows (your natural air conditioning) during this time?

Is it better to open them or maybe close them? Your windows can be an effective way to cool your interiors. Proper management of natural ventilation can really benefit the thermal comfort in your home.

How do you keep your interior cool even during the most intense heat? Find out the best practices for managing windows during hot weather.

Natural ventilation – what is it and how does it work?

Natural ventilation is a way of exchanging air indoors without using mechanical cooling systems. It involves taking advantage of the difference in temperature and pressure between inside and outside. It allows you to enjoy fresh air and cooler temperatures inside your home. To benefit as effectively as possible from the laws of physics, you need to understand how the process works.

Windows are an important part of this whole puzzle. Their proper placement and use allows for efficient air exchange. If you want to take advantage of natural air conditioning, you must stick to one important rule: always open your windows in a way that allows air to flow from cooler to warmer rooms. In this way, you can minimise the heating of the interior on hot days.

Natural ventilation can work through the difference in temperature and air pressure. When the temperature outside is lower than inside, you open the windows to allow cooler air to flow into the rooms. The warmer air, which is lighter, rises and escapes through the vents or the top-hung windows.

Air flow can also be aided by pressure differences. Wind that meets a building wall creates an area of higher pressure on one side and lower pressure on the other. Open windows in such a way that air flows in through the windward side and out through the leeward side. In this way, you can achieve a constant flow of air through the house.

How and when to open windows in hot weather?

The best time to open windows in hot weather is in the early morning and late evening. At these times, the temperature outside is usually lower than during the day. This will allow fresh air to cool the interior of the house. In the morning, open the window wide and allow air to flow through the rooms to cool and ventilate the interiors after a night out.

During the day, when the temperature is highest, it is best to keep the windows closed. This protects the interior from heating up. Cover your windows with blinds or curtains to reduce direct sunlight. Choose brightly coloured curtains that reflect sunlight. This will reduce the amount of heat entering the interior.

In the evening, when the temperature outside drops, open the windows again. This will allow the fresh air to cool the inside of the house. Create a draught by opening windows at opposite ends of the house. You will ensure faster cooling of the interior and improve thermal comfort for the night. If you have the option, you can also use fans to help circulate the air.

It is also worth paying attention to other aspects. If you live in an area with high air pollution, avoid opening windows during the day. Dust and exhaust fumes can enter your home. In such cases, it is a good idea to use air filters. Also remember to close your windows during storms to avoid moisture ingress and associated damage.

How important are the right materials and window design for natural air conditioning?

The materials used in window joinery have a huge impact on the cooling efficiency of the interior. Windows made of high quality materials can improve the thermal insulation of a house. This keeps the interior cool, even during hot weather. It is also worth looking at windows with a thermal break, which reduces heat conduction.

The glazing in your windows also makes a big difference. Windows with double or triple glazing provide better thermal insulation. Low-e glazing reflects heat back into the room in winter and blocks heat in summer. This keeps rooms cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Modern technologies in window joinery promote natural air conditioning. Windows with ventilation systems make it possible to regulate the air flow and promote natural air conditioning. Special systems allow rooms to be ventilated without having to open the windows. You can also benefit from technological solutions that automatically adapt to weather conditions.

Alternative cooling methods – natural air conditioning

Blinds, roller blinds and awnings are effective ways to regulate the temperature inside the home. Aluminium blinds reflect sunlight, reducing heat build-up. External blinds protect windows from direct sunlight, which in turn will prevent temperatures from rising inside. Awnings provide shade, which also reduces the heating of the windows.

Vegetation and shade can further promote natural air conditioning. Trees and shrubs planted around the house create a natural barrier against the sun.


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