For those of us old enough, we still fondly remember the long hot summer of 1976. It was day after day of long, hot days which stretched throughout the summer season. Of course, for those of us not used to the current levels of heat, it’s left us wondering about the best ways to keep cool this summer?
The recent heatwave has seen much hotter days than we’re used to and even in shade, including indoors, the ambient temperatures have been uncomfortable for many of us.
So, to keep cool this summer, what are we to do?
Well, there are lots of options (including air conditioning) to choose from, but here are some of our favourite ways to stay cool:
Fit blackout blinds or curtains to sun facing windows. Simply blocking out the sun can be enough to keep many rooms cool.
Keeping windows and curtains closed. As counterintuitive as it may seem, keeping windows close and curtains drawn until the sun goes down can protect you from up to 30% of unwanted heat entering your home. This is especially true if your windows are south or west facing
Hot air rises, so why not open your loft hatch and let the excess heat up into your loft void?
If they’re not in regular use, close the doors on rooms with south or west facing windows to stop the heat spreading around the house.
Give the oven a rest. Most ovens throw out plenty of residual heat long after we’ve finished cooking. Why not go a different route such as a BBQ or salad? Or both!
Water is great for its cooling properties. A bowl of ice cubes placed in front of an electric fan is a marvellous way to quickly cool the air temperature in a room.
With that in mind, creating a water feature on your patio in your garden also has cooling effects. Which is why you’ll often see them in town squares and market places when in hot climates.
When in Rome. As they often do in warmer climates such as the Mediterranean, consider painting your home white. Light colours help to reflect to light and heat.
After dusk, open windows and use fans to move the cooler air around your home.
Where natural fabrics such as cotton and linen.
For the evening, ensure your sheets are 100% lovely cool cotton and not a manmade fibre mix.
Keeping a cool head. Did you know that buckwheat pillows are naturally filled with air pockets which serve to keep us cooler than conventional pillows?
Can’t sleep. If you’re too hot and yet can’t sleep without a sheet or covering, why not try filling a hot water bottle with water and freezing it? Placed in your bed a short time before retiring cools the bed beautifully.
If you don’t have them already, consider planting plant trees and shrubs around the garden to create shaded areas. Growing evergreen climbers over a pergola or arbour will not only look fantastic but also provide a much-needed shaded area to sit.
Why not fit a sun canopy or an awning to the area most exposed to the sun? This gives both shade from the sun and reduced the sunlight and heat entering your home.
These are just some of our favourite suggestions to keep cool this summer. Of course, we’d love to hear your suggestions too!
Our last point is, don’t forget about your pets. Many of them struggle in the heat and it’s not uncommon for animals such as dogs to develop heatstroke!