How to cope with the heatwave

We’ve seen enquiries for integrated air conditioning systems rise considerably over the last couple of weeks. Something that perhaps won’t come as a surprise as the UK has been experiencing temperatures of over 30⁰C.

Modern Properties

Many of the properties we work on have large areas of glass, in either sliding or bi-fold patio doors.  These large expanses of glass can create considerable solar gains on sunny days.  Along with the glass, flooring often consists of large tiled expanses with underfloor heating systems.  With the sun beaming in through the glass the floor and pipework begins to heat up and steadily radiate heat throughout the day and long into the evening even after temperatures begin to cool outside.  As a result we have been seeing indoor temperatures rise above those outside.

Solutions

The good news is there are varying steps you can take to help keep your home cool, or at least prevent it from heating up too mush during a heatwave.  Some things can be done straight away whilst others require a more considered process of design and installation.

Shading

Simply drawing the curtains or lowering the blinds before the sun streams into the room can help to prevent large solar gains and excessive heating.  It also has the added effect of shading your floor and prevents this turning into a giant radiator for the rest of the day.  By integrating your blinds and curtains into a home automation system you can control them through an app on. With this app you can control your blinds even if you are away from home.  Blinds can be set to automatically lower if your room reaches a certain temperature, therefore removing the necessity for you to even remember to do it at all.

Airflow

OK, it seems really simple, but opening the windows will make a big difference. There are just a few simple principles to note to get the most out of this cheap and easy solution.  Firstly, wait until the air outside the house is cooler than the air inside. To create the most efficient airflow, don’t just open all the windows.  You need to take advantage of the fact that hot air rises. Best practice is therefore to open windows on the shady side of your property downstairs (your inlet), and then open the windows on the hot side of your property upstairs (your outlet). To create the best flow of air you probably only need to open the inlet windows slightly.  Its also worth noting which direction the breeze is flowing and opening your inlet window to take advantage of this.

Air Conditioning

Moving beyond the more natural ways of keeping your house cool, the obvious and most effective way of cooling is through air conditioning.  A well designed system will consider the cooling load and ensure the most efficient use of energy. Air conditioning can be integrated into your home automation system.

 

What we do

Circle Automation not only provide home automation systems, we also design, install and commission HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) controls.

Recently we were asked to provide a control system for a property benefiting from a ground source heat pump. The system was to supply the hot water services and heat for the underfloor heating. In addition to this the property had air conditioning units.

Our designers set about ensuring that the control system complied with building regulations whilst providing maximum comfort for the occupants. As the air conditioning was able to heat as well as cool it was decided that the UFH would heat the space up to 18 degrees.  The air conditioning split units would then supply secondary heat for instantaneous rises in temperature. Ensuring the rooms were always at a steady 18⁰C when not in use, but without the long wait for the room to heat up if relying on the under floor heating only.

Our engineers were also able to help keep the rooms cooler during the hot summer months. This was achieved by running cooler fluid through the under floor pipes, providing a degree of passive cooling. Whilst this alone cannot satisfy the cooling load, it ensures that the stone and tile surfaces are kept at a lower surface temperature. Working alongside the automated blinds, the floor temperatures are able to remain much cooler, helping reduce the build up of unwanted heat.

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