Those living in cold areas may love to make the most of the summer sun. However, it can become unbearable for those in warmer regions.
As the days stretch longer, the mercury on the thermometer rises, and the sun shines brighter and hotter, they have no option but to give up on outdoor living and seek refuge indoors to keep themselves cool.
And it can be frustrating, especially for those who love spending time outdoors and have spent a great deal of amount decorating their outdoor areas.
If you’re one of them and have been wondering How to Keep Balcony Cool in Summer so you can spend more time outdoors, we have some great solutions for you.
10 Ways to Keep Your Balcony Cool in Summer
The smaller size of balconies rules out some temperature control options, like installing a fountain, pool, or pond.
But fortunately, there are still many ways to keep your balcony cool in hot weather. Here are some of the best ones:
Use an Evaporative Cooler
Have you ever thought how amazing it would have been if you could also install an air conditioner on the balcony? Using an evaporative cooler is the closest you can get to it.
Specifically designed for outdoor areas, evaporative coolers come with a water tank that you need to fill up to have it do its job.
As you turn on the cooler, the water from the tank travels to a pad installed inside. As the air pushes through the fan installed inside the cooler, it passes through the wet pad and cools off.
Ideal for areas with hot and dry summers, evaporative coolers are available in several varieties, but all of them can be grouped into three categories:
- Direct Evaporative Cooler – This is the most commonly used type.
- Indirect Evaporative Cooler – Produces less humid air than the direct type.
- Two-Stage Evaporative Cooler – The most energy-efficient of all (but also the most expensive).
Use a Misting Fan
Do evaporative coolers take up too much space? Consider misting fans!
Similar to regular fans in appearance, these work quite similarly to evaporative coolers. But instead of wetting a pad inside, misting fans generate tiny droplets of water while pushing the air forward. These droplets cool off the air and, as they evaporate, your surroundings, too.
They are also more energy-efficient than evaporative coolers and take up much less space (which is often the biggest concern in balconies).
Misting fans are also quite affordable (considering the work they do), durable, and available in a variety of styles and sizes, allowing you to choose the best option according to your balcony size. Your primary options include:
- Portable or Box Fan
- Floor Standing
In addition to these specialized outdoor misting fans, there are also misting kits available on the market. These are basically hose and nozzle attachments that you can use to convert any regular fan into a misting fan. Isn’t it great?
Buying Tip: When shopping for a misting fan, don’t forget to consider its CFM (cubic feet per minute) rate along with its size, style, and price. The higher the CFM rate, the more area the misting fan will cover.
Use a Regular Fan
If you’re a little tight on budget and can’t buy an evaporative cooler or a misting fan to keep your balcony cool in summer, you may even use a regular fan to beat the heat.
It won’t obviously have the same impact on the temperature, but it will create airflow and make your time out on the balcony more comfortable.
While installing a ceiling fan is ideal as it can cover a large area, you may also use a pedestal or box fan if that’s not an option.
Bring In the Nature
Plants aren’t just appealing to the eye; they also create shade and give a cooling effect to the area. When strategically placed, plants can also create a privacy screen, saving you from nosy neighbors while you’re enjoying time outdoors.
Pro Tip: Place tall plants or grow vines and creepers on the sun-facing side of your balcony to block the harsh sun rays and create a natural shade while also cooling off your balcony. The fresh oxygen you will get from these plants will be an added advantage.
Love plants a little too much? How about creating a garden on your balcony? Check out our blog post, How to Turn My Balcony into a Garden, for some simple but useful tips.
Block the Sun with Architectural Screens
If you live in an area where it gets very hot in summer or your balcony gets a lot of sunlight, plants alone may not be enough to block the sun and cool your balcony.
Pair them up with architectural screens for better results.
These will block out the sunlight and turn your hot balcony into a cool outdoor space, allowing you to use your balcony during the summer season as well.
Architectural screens are available in a wide variety of styles, materials, and designs, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and existing home/balcony décor.
There are screens with fixed frames, adjustable slats, and roll-up blinds.
The only downside of architectural screens is their cost. They can cost a pretty penny. And while the investment is worth making, not everyone can afford architectural screens.
Hack: Room dividers can be a cheaper alternative to architectural screens. They also need no installation and are foldable, allowing you to remove them when not needed, i.e., in the evenings and in winter.
Install an Overhead Shade
Along with plants and screens that block the sun from the front, you also need an overhead shade for added protection.
Unlike decks, balconies generally have a roof. However, they can still get very hot. Adding another layer of shade beneath the roof can have a cooling effect.
You do not have to extend it to your entire balcony. Install it just above the seating area to keep yourself cool.
Depending on the size of your balcony, its décor, and your budget, you can choose to build a shade with an awning or more permanent features, like a balcony pergola.
Repaint Your Balcony in a Light Color
Repainting your balcony may seem like a lot of work. But it’s totally worth it when you’re trying to keep your balcony cool.
As is common knowledge, dark colors absorb more heat, and lighter colors reflect them and thus, help to keep your surroundings cool.
So, if your balcony is painted in a darker shade, it’s time to repaint it in a cool color. Choose a neutral shade, like off-white, for best results.
Neutral shades also go well with all design schemes, so you won’t have to switch up your balcony décor.
Make Sure You Don’t Block the Wind
While building a protective screen against the sun, make sure you don’t end up blocking the wind as well.
Maintain the airflow by leaving the sides of the balcony open. Keep the privacy wall to the front to block off the sun.
If you’re concerned about privacy, you may use linen curtains on the sides to block the view while maintaining airflow.
Keep the Floor Cool with an Outdoor Rug
You have blocked the sun with plants and a privacy screen and built an overhead shade as an extra layer of protection.
But what about the floor? It can get scorching hot during summer and increase the overall temperature of your balcony. But using a rug can help. It is particularly great for balconies with concrete flooring.
Just like the overhead shade, the rug will add a protective layer beneath and keep the heat in control. You may just have a rug in the seating area or place an outdoor carpet all across the balcony.
Outdoor rugs are made with weather-resistant materials, so they can withstand temperature changes and will last you a long time.
Use the Right Furniture
It’s common for people to use metal furniture on balconies, patios, and decks. But it’s a bad choice, more so if you get harsh summers and struggle to keep your outdoor areas cool in hot weather.
Metal absorbs so much heat that it becomes a heat source, making metallic furniture the worst choice for outdoor areas. Also, avoid leather furniture.
Synthetic wicker furniture is the best choice for outdoor areas. You may also use wood furniture, but it will need sealing for weather protection.
Don’t Let Heat Take Away the Fun of Outdoor Living
Summer is the season for outdoor fun. Don’t let the heat take this opportunity away from you. Use these tips to keep your balcony cool in hot weather and continue to use it to its full potential.
In summary, it’s important to make your balcony comfortable, but not at the expense of energy efficiency.
By following these simple tips, you can minimize your carbon footprint, keep your home cool, and save money in the process.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I shade my balcony?
There are several ways to shade your balcony, including installing curtains, using umbrellas, or installing a pergola or canopy. You can also use shade cloth or mesh to provide additional shade and privacy.
What are some effective outdoor cooling systems?
Some effective outdoor cooling systems include outdoor fans, evaporative coolers, and misting systems.
Outdoor fans can provide a refreshing breeze, while evaporative coolers use water to cool the air.
Misting systems spray a fine mist of water into the air, which can help to lower the temperature and provide relief from the heat.
What are the best plants for keeping a patio cool?
Plants with large leaves, such as elephant ears, can help to provide shade and coolness. Other plants that are good for keeping a patio cool include ferns, palms, and bamboo.
You can also plant climbing vines and train them to grow up trellises or pergolas to provide additional shade.
What are some DIY balcony cooling ideas?
Some DIY balcony cooling ideas include hanging wet towels or sheets over the railing, creating a DIY misting system with a garden hose and misting nozzles, or placing bowls of ice in front of a fan to create a cool breeze.
Cooling your balcony can make it a more pleasant space during the hotter months. Here are some balcony cooling ideas to consider:
- Umbrellas: Freestanding or table umbrellas can provide instant shade.
- Shade Sails: These are stylish and come in various shapes and colors. They can be installed to create shade over larger balcony areas.
- Pergolas: If your balcony is large enough and you have the necessary permissions, you can install a pergola and outfit it with climbing plants or shade cloth.
- Plants like ferns, snake plants, and aloe vera can have a cooling effect.
- Vertical Gardens: If space is limited, consider a vertical garden with cooling plants.
- Install a misting system that releases a fine spray of water to cool down the area. Ensure it’s suitable for outdoor use.
- Waterproof and weather-resistant fans designed for outdoor use can circulate air and make the balcony feel cooler.
- Small fountains or water bowls can introduce a cooling element and the sound of water can also be relaxing.
- Use outdoor rugs that are light in color to reflect sunlight and provide a cooler surface underfoot.
- Deck tiles or interlocking wood tiles can create a cooler walking surface than concrete or ceramic tiles.
- Attach reflective foils or screens to railings or walls, facing the direction of the sun, to bounce back some of the sun’s rays.
- Use outdoor curtains made from light-colored, weather-resistant material to block sun and create a breezy, shaded alcove.
- Ensure your balcony furniture arrangement allows for natural airflow. Avoid overcrowding the balcony.
Cooling Pads or Mats:
- If you enjoy sitting on the floor or if you have pets, use cooling pads or mats that can provide a cold surface to relax on.
How do I choose the right outdoor misting system?
When choosing an outdoor misting system, consider the size of your balcony, the amount of water pressure available, and the type of misting nozzles used.
High-pressure misting systems are more effective at cooling, but require more water pressure and can be more expensive.
What are some tips for maximizing outdoor airflow?
To maximize outdoor airflow, make sure that your balcony is free from clutter and obstacles.
Use light-colored fabrics for curtains or shades, as they reflect sunlight and heat. You can also use outdoor fans or install a ceiling fan to help circulate air.
Finally, consider using plants to provide shade and coolness, as they can help to increase air circulation and provide a natural cooling effect.