Us Brits are an odd bunch. We long for sun and mercury testing heat for the majority of the year, which is spent in gloom and despair, but as soon as it’s t-shirt weather, we’re moaning that it’s too hot.
Life goes on. Indeed, living on this curious isle means each year we are faced with a guessing game about whether we’re going to get a dull and rainy or scorching and bone dry summer. And the unpredictable nature of a British summer means that many homes simply aren’t prepared for extreme weather conditions, whether it ends up being hot or cold.
Unlike those who live in hotter countries, when we are lucky enough to experience a heatwave or are blessed with particularly high temperatures, the lack of air conditioning and ventilation in UK homes can leave the inside of our homes feeling unbearably hot and sticky. With the current COVID crisis meaning we’re spending more time at home at the moment, this, frankly, isn’t fun.
To make sure your home is prepared for potentially hot summers, here are 7 ways to keep your home cool this summer.
If you have a budget available and are fed up of your home becoming a hot mess when summer rolls around, then consider having an air conditioning unit installed. It doesn’t have to involve a huge investment (on average, an AC unit will cost you in the region of £500 with installation at round £1000) but it will make a significant difference to the temperature and humidity of your home.
If you’re considering having air con installed but have no idea where to start, professional suppliers and installers of air conditioning units to homes and commercial properties BOXT have a simple tool on their website which allows you to answer a few simple questions about your property before determining the right AC unit and price for you. Check it out.
WINDOWS AND WINDOW COVERINGS
While it may be tempting to open your windows as wide as they can go when it’s hot outside, this isn’t actually advisable if you’re trying to keep temperatures down. If the temperature outside your home is warmer than inside, opening the windows will only let hot air in, making your home an even more uncomfortable environment to spend time in.
If you have south-facing windows, in particular, it’s important to block any direct sunlight that tries to shine its way through during the day. We’re not saying cultivate a crack den energy and spend your days in the dark, but it’s wise to keep your windows shut and curtains or blinds firmly drawn unless you want to end up sleeping in a sauna by the time it reaches the end of the day! Direct sunlight that’s left to stream into a room might look gorgeous but it can hugely increase the temperature and even cause your home’s furnishings to fade in colour.
If there is a slight breeze in the air on a hot day and opening a window seems like a good option, try to make sure windows are open at opposite ends of the house so the air can circulate through your home and cause a nice cooling draft.
Finally, open your windows before you go to bed to make the most of the natural drop in temperature at night time.
If an AC unit is a little out of your price range for the time being, then keep cool with a fan. A ceiling fan is, of course, functional, moving air around the room and making things less stuffy, as well as offering a cooling breeze on warmer nights. But it also brings tropical chic to a room in both its appearance and sound. What’s more, if you’re struggling to sleep in summer, the hypnotic groove can help lull you off into slumber. Many ceiling fans also double up as lights.
Electric fans come in all sorts of shapes these days; consider a desk/table fan which are designed for personal cooling and are ideal for sitting atop a desk or table top. Pedestal fans, which sit on an adjustable stand are great for circulating air throughout the room. Or, tower fans are perfect for small rooms as they have tall narrow bodies. Moreover, they typically have more features than other types of fans and do a better job of cooling down the entire room. They do, however, have a higher price tag to match.
There’s nothing worse than getting into bed and immediately feeling sticky and stressed about getting to sleep in the heat. While a fan can definitely help, you don’t want to become reliant on one being switched on all night as this can cause coughs to occur and will ramp up your electricity bills, too.
Getting some summer bedding can be a huge help and stop you from dreading bedtime and the restless slog before eventual, snatched sleep. Think cotton, linen and other similar breathable fabrics that are naturally drier and cooler on the skin. A high-thread-count might look good but when it comes to getting in bed when it’s hot, but you want a low-thread count and your fabric to be as thin as possible for cook, comfortable sleep.
When it comes to cooking in the summer months, the types of meals you eat can have an effect on the temperature of your home and cause the environment to heat up for a number of hours if you’re slow roasting or doing lots of stovetop cooking. To avoid overheating, adapt your cooking for the summer months and opt for lighter meals that don’t involve using the oven. Instead of the usual Sunday roast, why not put the effort into a delicious Summer barbecue or even a fresh salad? The lighter meals will have you feeling lighter on your feet, too.
Wall and loft insulation is most commonly associated with keeping our homes warm during the winter and preventing hot air from escaping, but actually, it plays a key role during hot summers too. Insulation can help to keep the hot air out and allow you to cool your house down as much as is possible. Sometimes during particularly warm spells during the Great British Summer, we realise our homes aren’t as well equipped as we’d like to deal with the heat. Insulation is one way of mitigating this.
LIGHTING AND APPLIANCES
You might not realise it, but your electrical appliances and the lighting around your home can give off a significant amount of heat. Try to only use lights when necessary and always turn them off when you’re out of the house or in the garden to save energy but also reduce the amount of heat energy produced. On top of this, be aware of which appliances are switched on. Even charging your phone overnight can cause the temperature in your room to increase making it worth keeping your electrical usage in mind.