Knowing how to keep your house cool in summer can be a godsend during heatwaves and hot sticky nights.
Summer is an exciting season full of BBQs, beach trips and dips in the paddling pool. Yet whilst we all crave the sunshine, it’s the subsequent soaring temperatures that many of us struggle with. Especially when it comes to sleeping in the heat and trying to keep babies cool in hot weather.
Keeping our home environment as cool as possible is an effective way of combating these heat hurdles and can be easily achieved through a number of simple hacks. With this in mind, we’ve gathered the best expert advice and tried-and-tested tips to put into practice for when the hot weather next hits.
How to keep your house cool in summer
1. 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.
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 investing in a purpose-built indoor window shade. 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.
Try Sunfree 2 Pack Light Filtering Pleated Fabric Shade, £26.99
2. Open windows and balcony/garden doors in the morning and at night
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.
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 the theory at least!
3. 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.
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.
4. Turn off unused appliances
Like ovens, other appliances around the house will generate unwanted heat into a home over the summer.
Consider turning things like your telly, desktop computer and kitchen appliances off – don’t just leave them on standby. This will stop them overheating and warming the rooms they are in.
Similarly, be mindful of charging things like your phone or tablet. These too give off heat, so it might be best to charge first thing in the morning when cooler. And avoid charging them at night, especially if struggling to sleep in the heat.
5. Turn lights off and invest in energy-saving lightbulbs
Light bulbs are another source of heat in homes and should be kept off when trying to cool your house down.
The type of lightbulb you choose can also have a big impact on their heat-generating abilities.
“Conventional incandescent light bulbs generate light quite inefficiently, giving off waste heat in the process,” says OVO Energy. “Switch to low-energy light bulbs to reduce overheating and save money.”
Try ECO Energy Saving 11W Bayonet Light Bulbs, £11.99
6. Invest in some house plants
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 through a process known as transpiration.
The most heat-efficient plants are peace lilies and rubber plants as they work best in humid conditions.
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!
7. Use a fan to cool down a room
A top tip when using fans to cool down is to leave a large bowl of mounded ice in front of it while it’s working. This will circulate cooler air around the room and function like a makeshift AC.
Positioning you fan correctly for optimum cooling is also important.
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.
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.
Try Honeywell HT900E1 Turbo Fan, £25.75
What is the best way to keep cool inside in hot weather?
Pack away those 13 tog duvets for now and crack out some cooling cotton sheets instead. Cotton bed sheets have been scientifically proven to improve sleep in the heat, thanks to their breathability.
As Lucy Ackroyd, Head of Design at Christy England explains: “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.
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
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. Scientists have found that a bath before bed helps to lower the body’s core temperature, which in turn aids better sleep.
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.