8 easy ways to keep your house cool this summer
28 July 2021 | OVO Energy
Here in the UK, our weather is notoriously fickle. Often, after endless weeks of dreary winter weather, we’ll suddenly have a glorious heatwave.
The thing is, as happy as we are to see blazing sunshine, we Brits aren’t that well prepared for hot weather. Most of our homes are designed to keep us warm, not cold.
So, we’ve been busy thinking up some tips to help you stay cool this summer: from how to cool down your room quickly, to how to sleep during a heatwave.
How to cool down a room without air-conditioning: 8 tips for cooling down fast
1. Close the windows and draw the curtains
Tempting as it is to fling open the windows at the first sign of heat, it could backfire on you. To keep your house cool, you need to keep the hot air out. This means keeping windows closed during the day – particularly south-facing windows.
You’ll also need to keep the blinds down and your curtains drawn too. Then at night time, when the temperature drops, you can open up your windows and give your house a good airing.
2. Create a cross-breeze through the house
OK, we know we just said you need to keep your windows closed as much as possible. But sometimes, we do all need to feel a bit of a breeze on our skin in hot weather. So, if you really need to throw the windows open, do it strategically – so you get a flow of air moving through the house.
This means opening windows at opposite sides of the house or room and keeping doors open so the air can move through freely. You could also try pointing a fan at an open window, so that it’s pushing the hot air outside. If you can, keep curtains and blinds closed or partially closed – to deflect any direct sunlight.
If you have sash windows, make sure both the top and bottom are open equal amounts. The theory (well according to the Victorians, anyway), is that cool air comes in through the lower opening and warm air is pushed out through the top.
3. Place some bowls of water around the house
Leaving bowls of water lying around might seem a little strange, but doing so can help cool hot air. Simple but effective.
4. When the time comes, replace your lightbulbs with LEDs
Did you know: traditional incandescent light bulbs are surprisingly inefficient. In fact, they give off up to 90% of their energy as heat1. Whereas energy-saving light bulbs convert 90% of the energy to light. Once your old bulbs die, why not replace them with low-energy ones instead? They’re cooler in the heat – and they use much less energy.
5. If you can, invest in a fan (and use it wisely)
Electric fans can be godsend in summer. But, since they do use energy, it’s good to make sure you’re getting the most of them.
Since heat rises, the coolest air in your house is going to be at floor level. So, if you have a fan, set it on the floor and point it upwards. Position it so that it points outwards towards the opposite wall, with no large objects in the way ideally.
This will bounce cooler air off the wall and back into the room, where it mixes with warm air, to help cool the temperature.\ If you’ve got a timer on your fan, this is a brilliant way to make sure it’s only switched on as much as it’s needed – helping to save energy.
6. Even better: try an ice fan
Need to get cooler faster? Try placing a bowl of ice and cold water in front of your fan’s blades, so the air blows across it.
This will send icy water droplets all around the room, which should feel like a relief on your parched skin. Voila: a homemade, DIY air-conditioner!
How to sleep in the heat
Staying cool at night is vital for a good night’s sleep. We’ve all been there, tossing and turning during an endless night. It’s not a great feeling. So here are 2 ways to keep your bedroom (and yourself!) cool this summer.
7. Take a cold shower before bed
Sometimes the best way to fight the heat is to trick your body into thinking it’s cooler. One way to do this is to have a quick cold shower right before you hit the pillow for the night.
Remember not to make the water too cold, and don’t do this right after you’ve come in from intense heat – a sudden change in body temperature isn’t healthy.
8. Turn your hot water bottle into an ice pack
Did you know that you can use a hot water bottle to cool down? It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true. If you have one, fill it with water and put it in the freezer a few hours before bed.
Once frozen, it’ll emit cold in the same way that it warms you up if you use hot water. Stash your ice pack in the bed before you get in, or place it under your feet, to help you regulate your temperature as you drift off.
Bigger investments for keeping rooms cool
If you’re looking into taking bigger steps to keep your home cool, here are some things to think about.
The biggest up-side to energy-efficient windows is that they keep the heat inside your home. So when you have the heating on during winter, you’re not losing energy to the outside world. But, during summer, did you know they’re also better at keeping the sun’s heat outside?
If you’re thinking of replacing your windows, check out our complete guide to energy-efficient windows and doors.
Awnings and shutters
Getting an awning or shutters will give the maximum amount of shade from the sun’s rays. If you’re considering investing in some, they’e a surefire way to stay cool without using electricity.
Most people associate building insulation with cold weather and keeping heat in – but it’s just as good at keeping the heat out too. If you’re able to invest in insulation, take a look at our guides to roof and loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, and solid wall insulation.
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Sources and references:
2 100% of the renewable electricity we sell is backed by renewable certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates (REGOs)). See here for details on Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates and how these work. A proportion of the electricity we sell is also purchased directly from renewable generators in the UK.
3 Each year, OVO plants 1 tree for every member in partnership with the Woodland Trust. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so tree-planting helps to slow down climate change.