Expert Advice: 5 Ways to Cool Down A Loft
You can keep your space airy even without an AC unit with these tips
If you have a loft, you'd know that compared to the other parts of your home, this area is harder to cool because of the openness of space. A loft is adjoined by a high open ceiling that the living area of the lower floor shares. In most cases, only a low railing (at least one meter high) separates the said areas and given this, with full height glass panels facing the area and tiny window openings factored in, a loft can become really warm.
While the air-conditioning should be considered in cooling your space, you can also take note of other fixes like proper ventilation, the time you open your windows, the kind of window treatments you use, and maybe even putting up walls. Here are tips to keep in mind:
1. Consider the placement of your AC unit.
Although it's an instant fix to the warm air problem, AC units consume a lot of power and may entail huge bills—especially when used 24/7. Take note of the placement of your units as it's best to have them installed facing furniture like the sofa, dining table, or your bed to maximize the cold air.
It also helps if the air-con is near the ceiling to cool the air above you. It will be harder for the unit to do if it is located below your window. As in any other space, remember that warm air rises and cool air sinks. Whether you already have an AC unit installed or none, by simply using ceiling or stand fans, you can keep the air moving and in effect—cool the space.
2. Make the most of your electric fans.
Similar to the AC units, it would also help if you know how to work with your electric fans. Wall or stand fans can be tilted towards the ceiling to push cold air up. Draw cool air in at night by placing a fan in front of an open window, but this should not be done during the day. If you have an extra fan, have it pointed toward the window instead to push the warm air out.
Ceiling fans on the other hand can run in two directions. Make sure that the air blows down and not the other way around. Try standing below the fan to test if the air is expelled directly at you, otherwise, change the setting because it may just be letting the warm air circulate around the room.
3. Open your windows—but take note of perfect timing.
Let the air in early during mornings (before the day heat begins) and at night when the air starts to cool. You can opt to keep your windows closed during the day to avoid letting the heat in, that way you can keep your loft cooler than the outside.
4. Choose the right window treatment.
High loft ceilings and full glass panels work hand in hand. Given this, direct sunlight that passes through the glass can cause heat build up. The right window treatment can help keep the heat outside during the day as long as they are closed.
Consider working with Roman shades, full curtains, and sun shade roller blinds. Use blackout fabric or lining for your thick Roman shades and curtains—take note that they are available in 5o% to 100% blackout fabric types.
For custom made curtains and shades, it is advisable to use a 100% blackout lining behind your fabric of choice. Roller blinds also come in a variety of sun shade percentages as well, so be sure to ask about this and get the highest kind, if possible. You can also have your windows tinted as this can block off the heat as well. However, check with your building management first to see if they will allow this.
5. Put up walls.
As much as you’d want to keep that open layout, you’ll have to compromise a little in order to help cool your space. No need to worry as the walls don't have to go all around the loft perimeter—depends on the look and feel you want. A common option is to have walls built on the two ends and sometimes, at the room’s corner. These can be narrow at 600mm to 800mm in width so that you can still have the space in the middle to overlook the staircase and the high ceiling in the living area.
RL Tip: Use lightweight materials like plywood or fiber cement board for the new partition walls. You may also want to work with decorative panels (Ricad/Meilleur brands are available locally) for this.
Consider having floor-to-ceiling curtains installed in between the new walls to help contain the air from the AC unit inside the room when in use. Depending on the length and width of the remaining opening, it is recommended to have this customized (you can still check those that are readily available).
RL Tip: For aesthetic purposes, choose a thin flexible rod. This should span from end to end so that you can draw the curtains to the sides if you want to sit back and admire an open loft.
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Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]gmail.com.
Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at]gmail.com with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.
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