Even though the wonderful country we call home, or Great Britain, isn’t known for having the very best weather, it is commonplace to get the odd freak heatwave over the summer months – and sometimes just before and after. Perhaps because the weather has been known to be incorrect in the past (probably goes without saying) we tend to ignore the warnings of upcoming potential blasts of extreme heat…and they are not pretty!
There’s no denying that it can be a real challenge. Follow these tips to try and keep your cool this summer!
Fans, air conditioning and heating…or lack of!It may sound ridiculous but the first thing to check if your rooms are insanely hot is whether your heating is working properly – or not, as the case may be. Ensure your boiler is serviced regularly and check radiators to make sure they are not on in error. If you aren’t sure or realise your heating is on and it shouldn’t be, call out someone – Proficient Plumbing & Heating come highly recommended – to help before it drives you up the wall – and costs you an arm and a leg!
So, it’s not your heating…now what? Granted, fans can sometimes do little more than blowing already warm air around your room, which can be frustrating, particularly at night. You are lying there, sweating, unable to use a duvet or even a sheet and all you can hear is the whirring of a fan – and the fan is not even cooling you down. This might be because of the quality of the fan you have. Check out reviews as there are some better ones outthere, but they may well be a little more on the expensive side.
On top of this, when it comes to effectiveness, the best ones to go for are ceiling fans. It may be that this is not an option for you, but if it is, it may be worth considering. Smaller desk fans work if you don’t have much space, or you could fork out and purchase an expensive air conditioner. It really comes down to how much it bothers you. If you are less willing to fork out for air conditioning, a trick is to put an ice pack or ice cubes in front of a fan to create a cool breeze, which will, in turn, cool you down. Remember to replace the ice when it melts, or the breeze won’t last long!
Another tip is to use two fans and create a cross-breeze. By holding your hand out of a window and checking which direction the wind is blowing in, you can place one fan in the same direction and position the other in a different window facing outward. This will push some of the hot air out of the room, creating a breeze.
If you want to go down the air conditioning route, it isn’t recommended to buy something super cheap as you’ll need something with enough strength to cool the room you’re in – but it is the easiest and probably most effective way to keep a room cool. On the flipside, stationary or mobile units are the worst type of air conditioning for energy efficiency.
Watch your windows
Close your curtains whilst the sun is out and be careful when opening windows. Although not ideal, the best time to have your windows open to cool down your house is when the sun has gone down. When the sun is shining straight in the window and the air is warm, there is no need to have your windows open.
If your house is south or west facing, you will receive the most heat during the day, so definitely try to keep your windows shut during the day. If you aren’t sure which way your house faces (and trust me, you are not alone!) you can find this out using Google Maps or a compass. The sun is at it’s hottest during the hours of 12-3 pm.
If you have air conditioning, do not open the windows – this is the same for air conditioning in a car. If you have an open window, cold air can escape and hot air is able to enter the room (or car). Keep your blinds and curtains shut at all times as the sun could heat up the room – and when it comes to curtains, you can actually purchase low-E window film or insulated curtains, which are specially designed to keep the heat out of your room.
Limiting the heat
Any rooms you are not using – ensure you keep the doors shut when you have a fan or air conditioning unit on in the room you’re in. The unit will have to work even harder if it has to expand to a bigger space, like a whole house.
Turn the extractor fan on when you have done cooking, as this can really raise the temperature in your kitchen – and if you live somewhere with an open plan kitchen/living room, then this will be even worse. Extractor fans suck the hot air (and any cooking smells) from the room and expel it outside.
Are there any heat-generating appliances you don’t need on? Ensure these are switched off when not in use. This includes electronic equipment such as computers, stoves, televisions, hair straighteners and dryers. Turn them off or simply unplug when you are not using them. Consider purchasing a dehumidifier, which will reduce the humidity levels in a room and will help to cool you down. You can buy them online and there often tend to be good deals. Simply turn it on and enjoy the less dry air. If you need to work out whether this would be beneficial to you, use a humidistat to measure it. The average humidity in any room should be between 50% and 55%.
You could try a cold shower to reduce your body temperature and make the room feel colder. Just as in the winter, a hot shower feels nice when you’re in it, but when you get out, it can be freezing – a cold shower in summer is essentially the opposite.