We know, we know. After the winter – and hugely rainy spring, you’d be right to wonder if there’s any point getting excited about summer at all. But the good news is, things are set to get better and we’ll see at least a couple of days of sunshine, flip flops and last-minute barbecues.
Thing is though, we Brits aren’t very well prepared for hot weather (namely because we get it so rarely). When soaring temperatures strike we melt into sweaty pools of complaining and stickiness, tossing and turning all night and sitting in front of fans in a bid to cool down. As Peter Kay says, “I like it hot, but not this hot”.
Our counterparts in the States and Australia are more adept at dealing with the heat, but then they’re very dependent on air-conditioning – something we’ve no real call for in the UK. There are alternatives! Don’t rely on energy-guzzling electronics to keep you cool this summer, follow these top tips instead.
Tempting as it is to fling open the windows at the first sign of heat, it’s a plan liable to backfire on you. To keep your house cool, you need to keep the hot air out, so this means keeping windows – particularly south-facing windows – closed and covered with blinds or curtains during the day. Then at night time, when the temperature has dropped, you can open everything up to give your house a good airing.
But if it all gets a bit too hot during the day and you really must open a window, make sure you do so in a way that encourages a through draught – moving air is cooler than still air, after all. This means opening windows at opposite sides of the house and keeping doors open so the air can move through freely. But keep curtains and blinds closed to deflect any direct sunlight.
Also, a pro-tip for those with sash windows: make sure both the top and bottom are open equal amounts. The theory (well according to the Victorians, anyway), is that cool comes in through the lower opening and warm air is pushed out through the top.
Most people associate building insulation with cold weather and keeping heat in, but it’s just as good at keeping the heat out, too. Check out our straightforward guide to DIY home insulation and you’ll be reaping rewards all year round!
Leaving bowls of water lying around might look a little untidy, but doing so can help cool hot air. Similarly, trees and plants act as natural air conditioners and pump moisture into the atmosphere, so consider investing in a nice houseplant to help your efforts. Just remember to water it!
A surprising amount of heat is generated from appliances around the house, and switching them off can help avoid internal heat gains. Turn them off when not in use (don’t just leave them on standby), and make sure the backs of fridges and freezers have plenty of ventilation space – these appliances in particular can pump a lot of unnecessary heat into a room.
Also, conventional incandescent light bulbs generate light quite inefficiently, giving off waste heat in the process. Switch to low energy light bulbs to reduce overheating (as well as saving money).
Fans can prove a summertime godsend for the sleepless, but make sure you’re using them right. Since heat rises, the coolest air in your house is going to be at floor level, so set your fan on the floor and point it upwards. Position it so that it points outwards towards the opposite wall, unobstructed by large objects.
This will bounce the cooler air off the wall and back into the room, mixing with the warm air to help cool the temperature altogether. To speed up the process, place a bowl of icey water in front of the fan, so the airs blows across it.
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OVO Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879
Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.
1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount. All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas). All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.
33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.
3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year, paid monthly based on number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. OVO Interest Reward is capped at 12 times the amount of the current direct debit amount and is available to customers paying by advance direct debit. Terms apply: http://www.ovoenergy.com/terms/
95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Based on all new customer signups between 01/02/2016 and 31/07/2016
94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.
Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.