With the temperatures as high as they are right now, it's hard to believe that autumn is just around the corner here in Australia. But as we very slowly slide towards cooler temperatures, it's a good time of year to assess how you went through the heat, and whether there are measures you can put in place to make next summer more tolerable.
However, you'll probably also want systems and products that are cost, and energy-efficient.
So how did you keep cool this summer? Open windows, air-conditioning, fans? If you have air-conditioning, how often did you use it, and at what temperature, and how big were your power bills?
The recommended optimum setting for your air-conditioning is 24 degrees. If that didn't sufficiently cool your room/home, have a look around. Were there doors or windows left open that would have adversely affected the efficiency of the air-conditioning? Where is the air-conditioner positioned? Is the unit regularly serviced and cleaned for optimum efficiency?
And remember, every degree cooler than 24 degrees causes your air-conditioner to use 10% more energy.
There are ways of keeping the temperature of your home down so that you can survive with no, or minimal air-conditioning. For example, try and keep the heat out during the day by closing curtains and blinds, and shading the outside of windows with awnings or shades.
And turn off lights and appliances not in use, as they not only generate more heat, but they are also using up your electricity.
Substitute the barbecue
If you do need to cook in an 'oven', try substituting an outdoor barbecue instead of the one in your kitchen!
These are all ways to passively cool your home. Increasingly, modern homes are being built using the principles of passive cooling, and heating, taking into account the orientation of the home, ventilation, insulation, window placement and coverings, and thermal mass.
While the weather's still hot, try and note when and where your home gets cross breezes, and work towards maximising the benefits of those breezes to cool the home down.
If all else fails, and you've set your heart on an air-conditioner, autumn and winter are the times to get good deals.
Grab yourself a fan
Fans are a great alternative to air-conditioning and are available in many styles and prices. Ceiling fans can be very effective in maintaining air flow, and are cheap to buy and easy to install, compared to air-conditioning.
Ceiling fans don't actually lower room temperature, rather they work in the same way as natural breezes, by moving air around and over our skin to cool us down.
There are all manner of ceiling fans these days, from wooden to plastic to stainless steel. There's not a heap of difference, although wood and plastic tends to be quieter. What's more important is the reversible rotation, with one setting for summer and another for winter.
Room fans, for example pedestal fans and tower fans, start at around $12 and rocket all the way to $300-plus, if you choose an industrial version, or a Dyson! But they can very effective, and cost/energy efficient.
So good luck coping with the last scorching weeks of summer, and discovering what cooling system works best for your home. And remember, if all else fails, you can also get some great deals on installing swimming pools during the winter!