How do you keep your home cool in the summer? It can often seem to be up there with the great unanswered questions of our age, such as: which came first, the chicken or the egg?
On a serious note, though, it’s annoying. In fact, it can be really annoying for those three or four days of heatwave that we get each year in the UK, that most houses over here aren’t built with aircon, and as such, they really do store heat.
Which means, for those three or four days, our houses will feel like saunas.
As we’ve just experienced something of a heatwave (by UK standards, anyway) and, if you’re anything like me, you spent a significant amount of time trying to make your house cool down, it seemed a pertinent time to write a blog giving you my top tips on how to keep your house cool during the summer – without installing an expensive air-con system.
Keep your blinds closed
Seems obvious, and it is, but, if the heat isn’t getting in, then you aren’t having to make efforts to combat how well your house seems to store it.
According to unsubstantiated assertions in articles I read when looking for ways to cool my own house down, making the most of your shades, blinds and curtains can reduce the heat stored in your home by up to 30%.
So, to reduce the greenhouse effect of your windows in your house, shut your blinds. Especially on south and west facing windows.
Leave your doors open
Unless you are, in fact, planning on trying to create a home-sauna, don’t leave rooms closed off. Closing the doors to a room will prevent cool air from flowing in and will leave the room both hot and stuffy.
Make sure you leave doors in your house open; this way air will permeate through the whole house, rather than trapping and storing hot air in closed off rooms.
Create your own sea-breeze
This sounds more difficult than it is. If you want to create a faux sea breeze, fill a bowl with ice, and stick it at an angle, in front of a large fan. The air will run across the ice and create a nice cool breeze that will instantly reduce the temperature in your house.
Swap your sheets
Don’t spend the night sweating your proverbials off under thick sheets and blankets. Switch your bedding up to something light and cotton based. Cotton breathes more easily than winter fabrics, and as a result, will keep you cooler.
You could also invest in a couple of buckwheat pillows. Buckwheat hulls naturally have air space between them, so don’t hold your body heat as much as conventional pillows do.
Give these two a try, because we all know the last thing you want in the summer is to wake up feeling like you’ve fallen asleep in a jacuzzi.
Cool your body, not your house
We, as a species, have survived for millennia without air-con. You can, too. Drink plenty of cold drinks, apply a cold cloth to your neck and forehead, wear the right clothes for the heat – do what you can to cool yourself from the inside out.
It will probably work more quickly, and it’s definitely a cheap way to do things.
Turn on extractor fans
This one sounds weird, but the extractor fan above your hob, and the extractor fan in your bathroom, are both purpose built to pull the hot air that rises from your cooking, or showering, out of your house.
So, for a quick hot-air-removal, turn these one for a few minutes.
Heat-proof your bed
Get a chillow – it’s like a summer version of a hot water bottle for your head – and put it under your head while you’re in bed. Or get a hot water bottle, fill it with cold water and stick it in the freezer for a bit before putting it in your bed.
I’ve also read – but never tried, and don’t like the sound of it – that slightly dampening your sheets before bedtime will help to keep you cool.
Let cool night air in
In the summer, it’s often (slightly) cooler at night. So, open the windows before you go to bed. Just make sure that you have some sort of insect netting over the windows to stop all those annoying insects from getting in.
Get energy saving light-bulbs
This will not only save you money on your energy bills, it will also have an effect on the heat in your house.
Old, incandescent light bulbs emit more heat than light. The heat to light ratio is actually around 90:10, a massive waste of energy and a contributor to excess heat in your house. So, chuck them in the bin (if you’re still using them at all), and get some energy saving light bulbs that don’t produce heat with 90% of the energy they use.
Doing this will make a difference (small as it may be) to the heat in your house, and also contribute to cutting your electricity bills.
Get the barbecue out
Using your hob and oven at 200 degrees, when it already feels like it’s 30+ degrees Celsius in your house, will make it even hotter in your house.
So, head outside while the weather is good and stick your food on the barbecue. This will also give you the opportunity to get your garden furniture out of storage, sweep off the cobwebs and get some use out of it.
Make some heat-beating home improvements
If you’re really intent on making the three days of British summer more bearable in your house, then there are a few heat-beating home improvements you can make that will really help out.
You can install insulated window films, these will keep it cool in the summer, and help to keep heat in during the winter. You can add awnings over your windows, plant trees or vines in strategic positions, to provide shade and myriad other small changes that will help your home to absorb less heat on those really hot days. If you’re really determined to keep your home cool in the summer, then you could even go as far as painting the roof white – this will help to reflect heat away from your house, before it even enters.
Keep your cool at Store First
Luckily, keeping cool isn’t something we struggle with here at Store First, as all of our self storage centres have air conditioning and storepods are climate controlled to ensure your belongings stay in tip top condition.
What’s more, once the Great British weather reverts to its usual chilly outlook, we have plenty of room in our storage centres for you to store barbecues, fans and chillows galore. Find your nearest location right here.