Summers in mid and northern Europe can get very hot. In southern Europe, the heat is a daily given during the summer; it can even get uncomfortably hot in spring and autumn. High temperatures can be nice on your days off, but having to live with temperatures above 25°C or 30°C for weeks on end can be very taxing. It becomes even more difficult when you try to get good quality sleep in these temperatures.
With global warming, the average temperature in the summertime continues to rise. It is therefore expected that in the near future we will have to face more and more heat waves. What can we do?
With new builds, we can tune the design to keep the sun out as much as possible. During summer, sunshades can prevent the sun from heating up rooms through the windows. Make sure the sunshade is not oversized so that the sun can still warm up the rooms in wintertime.
With new and existing homes, a good sunscreen can offer a solution to keep the sunbeams out. In this case, your best option is an automated system that will also function when you are not in the house. A solar sensor will make sure the sunscreen will deploy automatically. That same sensor, combined with a wind and rain sensor, can ensure the sunscreen is closed in times of limited light, high winds or rain.
It will help to a certain extent to keep doors and windows closed as much possible in order to prevent the outside heat from entering the home. In the evening and at night, you can open the windows when the outside temperatures are lower than inside the home.
During longer periods of high temperatures, the above measures alone will not suffice to keep the temperature inside the home at an acceptable, comfortable level. In these cases, we need to call upon air conditioning. The operation is somewhat similar to that of a refrigerator or freezer. It always contains a condenser and compressor.
Choosing an IHS requires clear thinking and discussions with your installer. (Courtesy of Fotolia)
Homes are mostly equipped with split systems, where the condenser group is installed outside. A cooling pipe is connected to the appliance inside the home. In most cases, a thermostat is installed on the wall, and in certain cases the appliance can be operated with a remote control.
In the case of mono-split systems, each interior unit has its own exterior unit. When you want to cool various rooms, it is more interesting to opt for a multi-split system, where all interior units are connected to one larger exterior unit. Split systems have an additional advantage: they create less noise inside the house than mono block systems.
Besides controlling the heating, various Integrated Home Systems (IHS) can also control the air conditioning.
In this case, the IHS’s temperature sensors measure the temperature in the room. When temperatures fall below comfort level (e.g. 20°C), the heating will turn on. However, when temperatures rise above the comfort temperature, the air conditioning will start.
Make sure that the comfort temperature for heating (20°C) is always set a few degrees lower than the comfort temperature for cooling (e.g. 23°C). This will prevent the heating and air conditioning from operating within the same scope. With the IHS, it is also easy to use time clocks to cool the house by the time you get home from work.