Keep your home cool this summer

29 June 2023 | OVO Energy

The summer sun is a welcome sight after a long winter. But as happy as we are to see the sunshine, us Brits aren’t that well prepared for hot weather – and neither are our homes. They're designed to keep us warm, not cool.

So, we spoke to Greig Millar, one of our very own OVO Energy Experts, to find out his top tips on keeping your home cool this summer. Plus some tips on getting to sleep in the heat.

Top 5 tips for keeping your home cool in a heatwave

As one of our Energy Experts, Greig has helped more than 7,000 UK households improve their energy efficiency and cut costs. With temperatures rising, and AC units costing around £24 a week to run1, here are some cool tips that won't break the bank.

1. Get wise with your windows

Creating a cross-breeze through your home on hot, sticky days will help cool things down. Choose which windows to open, and when, carefully. Opening windows on opposite walls, or at opposite ends of your home allows air to flow. And by opening windows at night and closing them during the day, you’ll trap the cooler air in to circulate. It might seem counter-intuitive, but you can point a fan at an open window, so it pushes the hot air outside.

2. Block out the sun

Tempting as it is to fling open the windows at the first sign of summer, it's not actually the best idea. 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. Keep curtains, blinds and windows shut when the sun is shining directly on them, and when you’re out. Try opening windows on the most shaded side of your home, to avoid sunlight and hot air getting in. 

3. Be frugal with your fan

Electric fans can really help to cool your home and give you instant relief. But they can use a lot of energy, and don’t actually cool the air. Since heat rises, the coolest air in your house is going to be at floor level. So it makes sense to set your fan on the floor and point it upwards. Position it so it points outwards towards the opposite wall, with no large objects in the way. This trick bounces the cooler air back into the room, to cool the overall temperature. If you’ve got a timer on your fan, this is a good way to make sure it’s only switched on as much as it’s needed.

4. Switch up your lightbulbs

90% of the energy given out by traditional light bulbs is heat.2 And more heat is the last thing you need on a hot day. Switching your bulb to an LED alternative will cool your room and use way less energy. As the weather heats up, why not check which bulbs you could replace. You'll save money, and keep cooler, in the long run.

5. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate! 

Insulation is often thought of as a cold weather solution. But insulation is just as important for keeping homes cool in hot weather. Loft insulation is usually the most affordable place to start, but on a smaller scale, you could try a draught excluder and inexpensive foam tape around doors to help keep cold air in and warm air out. 

So, in summary, when it comes to keeping your home cool in the heat, there are 3 key things to remember:

  • Only let cool air in
  • Keep hot air out
  • Limit heat from sunlight hitting your windows
how to keep your house cool in summer

Beat the heat while you sleep

Staying cool at night is vital for a good night’s sleep. So here are 2 ways to keep you and your bedroom cool this summer. 

1. Take a cool 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 cool shower right before you hit the sack for the night. 

It doesn't have to be Wim Hof cold, just enough to cool you down.

2. Turn your hot water bottle into an ice pack

Did you know that you can use a hot water bottle to cool down? If you have one, fill it with water and put it in the freezer a few hours before bed. 

Once frozen, it’ll cool you down 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

window insulation

If you’re looking into taking bigger steps to keep your home cool, here are some things to think about.

Energy-efficient windows

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’re a great way to stay cool without using electricity – just ask the Europeans.

Wall insulation 

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