How to keep your house cool in summer

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  • Summer in Britain can really catch you off guard and be, well, actually really quite hot. And, when that mercury hits 30 degrees at night, it can be all-too-tempting to pitch up a tent in the local air-conditioned cinema.

    Knowing how to keep your house cool in the summer more than just keeping the windows open. Although obviously that does help!

    As a rule, people living in England don’t tend to have air conditioning at home. We tend to invest more in heating, for the various, rain-filled, chilly reasons.

    Summer is all well and nice for a BBQ and enjoying a paddling pool in the garden, but when it gets too hot for a good night’s sleep, something has to change.

    Especially if you’ve got little ones at home who wake during the night when it’s too hot, it’s vital that we keep our home environment as cool as possible as temperatures begin to soar.

    Here’s how to keep your house cool in summer – even when the temperature is rising outside.

    If you’re expecting, why not check out our tips on how to keep cool in hot weather during pregnancy, too!

    How to keep your house cool in summer

    Block the sun out

    It may seem obvious, but many people love to let the light in and have sun streaming through the window. But, if you’re wondering how to keep your house cool in summer, you may need to resist the temptation and keep curtains and blinds closed during the day.

    How to keep your house cool in the summer

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    Jason Peterkin, director at 247 Blinds, suggested that it’s also important to consider the direction that your window faces too, when it comes to preventing sun streaming in through blinds and curtains.

    He said, “You’ll first need to consider factors such as which direction your window faces; a south-facing room will benefit from thicker, thermal materials to help keep it cool.”

    Rooms with south-facing windows can be unbearably hot in the summer. If closing the curtain and blinds just isn’t doing the trick, try temporarily repurposing a car window shade or sun shade for the room by placing it in the window. Be careful that you place the sun shade flat. Fanfolding in the shade may concentrate the reflected rays and create a solar cooker effect – not good. Check the safety instructions on the product or get advice when purchasing the sun shade before using to check it’s safe to use in the home as well as the car.

    Eat outside if you can – and don’t use the oven

    Make the switch to BBQ eating – no one wants to be stuck in a kitchen with the oven on, not when it feels like you’re IN an oven already.

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    Plus, using the oven generates unnecessary heat in your home during warm days. If eating outside isn’t an option, consider preparing meals that don’t require the use of the oven to cook.

    Consider delicious summer recipes like no-cook salads, open sandwiches and Mezze platters.

    Similarly, like ovens generate unwanted heat into a home over the summer, so do some other appliances around the house. Consider turning things off – don’t just leave them on standby – to stop them overheating and warming the rooms they are in.

    How to keep house cool in summer naturally

    Keep windows and balcony/garden doors open

    It’s best to open doors and windows first thing in the morning and late afternoon – basically after the hottest part of the day has been and gone. The trick is to keep air moving through your home. Did you know that moving air is cooler than still air? Basically think of a breeze moving through your home. To do this, make sure you have windows open at opposite ends of your home with the doors open in between. This will create a draft and allow air to move freely through your home.

    How to keep you house cool in the summer

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    If you find flies and mosquitos are getting in, invest in a net that will cover door frames or windows.

    The most important time to keep your windows open is at night. This is when the air is coolest. Leaving these open while you sleep can also be a good way of keeping the house cool at night.

    One final top tip for anyone with lovely sash windows – make sure both the top and bottom are open equal amounts. The Victorians designed the windows so that cool air comes in through the lower opening and warm air is pushed out through the top. Or that’s theory at least!

    Invest in some house plants

    Houseplant sitting beside a shiny red watering can

    House plants have really been having a moment recently and we can’t deny that they certainly make our houses happier. As well as being proven to boost your mood, house plants can also help keep your house cool.

    Plants act as natural air conditioners and generate moisture into the atmosphere. So having a house plants or two around will help keep house cool in summer naturally. Just don’t forget to water them – especially as the temperature creeps up outside!

    How to keep a room cool in summer without AC

    To keep rooms in your home cool on hot days you may want to consider buying a fan.

    When you have a fan, leave a large bowl of mounded ice in front of the fan while it’s working. This will circulate cooler air around the room and function like a makeshift AC. But at no where near the cost!

    Positioning you fan correctly for optimum cooling is also important.

    How to set a fan to cool down a room

    Fans, when left to their own devices, can just circulate the same warm air. It may seem counter intuitive, but the trick with getting the most out of your fan isn’t actually to always point it in your direction. Rather, you want to consider pointing your fan towards an open window – especially at night.

    How to keep your house cool in the summer

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    If you angle a fan towards a window, they will work to push out the warm air, cooling the room. If you want to get really technical about it, place the fan facing out of the window in a room you’re not sleeping in. Place the fan facing out of the open window and make sure the window in your bedroom is open. When you turn the fan on, this should create a sort of low pressure system in your home where hot air is driven out of one room and in turn sucks cool air into the room your are in.

    Have a ceiling fan? Set it anti-clockwise for a similar cooling affect. If you have a basement, position a fan pointing up the stairs to the rest of the house. This will push the cooler air below the house up into the ground floor.

    MORE: When does summer start in the UK? This is why there are two start dates

    What is the best way to keep cool inside in hot weather?

    Swap sheets

    Pack away those 13 tog duvets for now and crack out some cooling cotton sheets instead – it’s much more breathable and better to sleep in. Keep away from the satin and silk, too.

    How to keep your house cool in summer

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    Lucy Ackroyd, Head of Design at Christy England explained, “Pure cotton sheets have sensory benefits and are naturally breathable so they help to regulate your temperature and moisture levels while you sleep, stopping the clammy feeling you can experience with synthetic fibres.

    “Secondly, high thread count fabrics are smoother against the skin so as well as being much more comfortable you are less likely to feel tangled up or trapped by rougher fabrics that cling, especially to nightwear.

    Try just sleeping under a sheet as well as ditch the duvet altogether. The lighter layer will keep you cooler and stop you getting so hot overnight.

    Use the fridge and freezer 

    A handy tip to keep cool inside and overnight is to use a hot water bottle – but just freeze them instead! Fill the bottle with tap water and place in the freezer for a few hours before leaving it at the foot of your bed.

    hot water bottle

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    The Sleep Council also recommends using the fridge to cool your bedding down before you go to sleep. They say: ‘Put your pillow case in the fridge before bedtime’ in order to keep cool inside on hot nights.

    They also advise: ‘Chill socks in the fridge before bedtime as it will help to lower your core body temperature.’


    Adjust your body temperature

    how to keep your house cool in summer

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    Before bed, put your wrists under the running cold tap and bathe your feet in cold water. Both of these will help lower your body temperature before turning in for the night.

    If you’re really hot, take a cold shower or even a cold bath to really cool yourself down and lower your body temperature.

    The Sleep Council also advise having ‘plenty of cold water’ throughout the day and ‘always keep a glass handy by the bed’ so you can take a sip of cool water if you feel hot in the night.