Hot, sticky, muggy, close, moist, sweaty – all the things we get to enjoy during British summertime. The epic heatwaves continue and are only going to get more intense each year, so it’s about time we got used to it right? Climate Change means us Brits are feeling the heat more than ever and we’re all looking for ways to stay cooler in the summer, dreaming of those cool air-conditioned shops and offices as we open yet another box of choc-ices.
Tips to make your room cooler
With the cost of living at an all-time high and that glorious British sunshine getting hotter by the day it seems, we’ve collected up some top tips for how to keep your home cool if you’re not yet ready to install air conditioning.
1.) Keep curtains and blinds closed
The ambient temperature in a room doesn’t just increase on its own – sunlight streaming in through windows can warm a room pretty quickly to uncomfortable temperatures.
Closing your blinds and curtains can go a surprisingly long way to keeping a room cool, even in the height of summer. Blackout curtains that completely block the sun will help the most, but most curtains and blinds will make a difference. If you want a room to be cool when you get up in the morning, you should also remember to close the blinds and curtains before you go to bed – especially in rooms with east-facing windows which will catch the sun in the early hours of the morning.
2.) Windows – shut or open?
If you’re trying to cool a room you will probably want to open a window to let in a lovely, cooling breeze… but in fact, this depends on the temperature outside compared to inside your home. In the heat of the day, when the temperature outside is high, opening a window will let that warmer air in and won’t do much to keep you cool. You should keep windows shut during the hot daylight hours, but open them later in the evening to let the cooler air in.
3.) Shut doors to rooms that are not being used
Shutting unused doors is a key part of cooling a living space or work environment – basically, a smaller volume of air in each room gives you more control over how warm or cool the air in that area is. So close the doors of any rooms you aren’t using or don’t intend to use, and you will find it easier to make a difference by following the other cooling tips.
4.) Use a fan to create a cross-breeze
Fans can be really helpful in making a room more comfortable. Although strictly speaking fans move air around rather than chilling it directly, clever use of fans can make a real difference. Create a cross-breeze by placing the fan in a naturally cooler area and angling towards a warmer part of the room or house. You can also turn a standard fan into a makeshift cooling unit by putting a bowl of ice in front of it – as the ice melts the fan will gently distribute a mist of cooling water droplets around the room. Don’t forget your kitchen or bathroom extractor fans, either – turning them on can actually help to get rid of warm, humid air and cool your home.
5.) Cut down on your use of electrical appliances
In baking hot weather you quickly realise how much heat electrical appliances can put out. Ovens, cooker hobs and kettles are obvious culprits, but other kitchen appliances such as your washing machine and dryer, as well as televisions, laptops and desktop computers can all contribute to making your rooms warmer. Try to avoid using heat-generating appliances until the cooler hours of the evening if possible. When it comes to cooking, there’s always the opportunity to eat more salads and cooling snacks… or it could be a great excuse to crack out the barbecue!
6.) Choose natural fibre bedding to keep cool
Keeping cool and comfortable isn’t just about lowering the temperature of your home. We all prefer to wear lighter, more breathable materials in the heat… and the same should apply to your bedding! Natural cotton or linen sheets will help keep you cool and get a good night’s sleep. You might also want to invest in a specially designed cooling pillow or gel pad that you can slip inside your pillowcase. It’s also worth considering switching between a winter and summer duvet. 4.5 Tog duvets are recommended for hotter weather, so purchasing a lower tog duvet for the summer and a higher tog for the winter not only cools you down in the heat but also keeps you toasty when the weather turns.
7.) Use a dehumidifier
Temperature isn’t the only thing that can make warm weather stifling, sticky and uncomfortable. Humidity also plays a part, and we’re no stranger to a humid summer here in the UK. Using a dehumidifier will reduce the moisture levels in the air and, while it won’t directly cool a room, it can help your home feel a bit less sticky in the heat.
8.) Insulate your home
It may seem odd to talk about insulation in relation to cooling your home, but just like a thermos flask can keep drinks either hot or cold, good quality household insulation will help keep your home cool in summer as well as warm in winter. It can also be worth looking into “weatherstripping”. With a relatively small amount of expense and effort, you can seal up gaps around your windows and doors, which ultimately gives you better, more efficient control of the temperature of your home.
9.) Heat pump technology
So if you’re not quite ready to invest in Air Con, this might not be the option for you, but heat pumps provide a longer-term solution to your warming woes. Widely used in Scandinavia and parts of Europe, the heat pump is a highly energy-efficient technology compared to traditional boilers and, what’s more, many types feature reversible heat flow which means that as well as providing eco-friendly heating during the colder months, it can also be used to cool buildings in the summer. Our article on the difference between boilers and heat pumps provides more information on the pros and cons of each system.
Whilst we’re all sweating (though hopefully a little less now) in the heat, now is the best time to consider preparing your home for winter by getting your boiler serviced or spreading the cost of installing a new, more energy-efficient boiler in your home on a pay-monthly finance plan. Get in touch with the Aquila team and we’ll be happy to provide more information on preparing for the next of the extreme seasons with new offers on Combi Boiler swaps!