Keeping your home cool
With the heatwave underway, when we head back indoors to escape the sun, we can soon feel like we’re sat in a stuffy oven. Unless you like the feel of melting into your sofa, here are a few ways to get the air flowing and transform your home back into a pleasant retreat from the heat.
Keep curtains and windows closed during the day
On a beautiful day it’s natural to want to have the sun shining in. However, by doing so, you’re creating a greenhouse-like heat effect. A room will stay cooler if curtains and blinds are closed – even better if they’re the blackout variety. An open window will also let hot air into the house, rather than cool air – which, if you have a fan on the go, completely defeats the point.
Open windows once the day gets cooler
Windows should be kept closed when the day is at its hottest, but once the heat starts to drop they can be opened again. Temperatures fall considerably at night, so opening a window in the evening will allow cool air to circulate around the house – it should help you sleep better, too.
If you have flies and mosquitos getting in, it might be time to invest in a net.
Check your Filters and Ducts
If you are lucky enough to have air conditioning - If the filters and ducts of your air conditioning system are blocked up or in need of a clean, then it won't be working as efficiently as possible. It also means your aircon will be using up more energy than needed in an attempt to compensate, increasing your energy bill. Remove any dirt or dust that's clogging the filter, replace any components that require replacing and, if you think a more thorough check is needed, consider calling a professional to make sure your unit is working at maximum capacity.
If like the rest of us mere mortals you are not fortunate enough to air conditioning - then here is how to DIY it! - Simply put a bottle filled with ice and a tablespoon of salt into your freezer. The salt helps the freezing point of the water go even lower, creating colder ice. Once you’ve done that, simply put the bottles in front of the fan. As the ice melts the breeze from the fan will pick up the cool air coming from the ice’s surface. This will recreate a cool breeze, similar to an air conditioning unit. Alternatively, a bowl of water in front of the fan, or a wet towel placed over a fan works just as well.
You don’t want to be sending stale and musky air through your home, so spread a few dehumidifiers around in places susceptible to damp. These will remove moisture from the air to create a less humid environment. Some air conditioning units have built-in dehumidifiers for a sleek and convenient alternative and can be moved from room to room as necessary.
Fans - Ceiling and Floor/Desk
The time has come to switch your ceiling fan back on, but make sure it's rotating in the right direction before you do. Most ceiling fans are design to push warm air downwards during cooler months and circulate cooler air upwards during the summer. You want it to be rotating in a counter-clockwise direction and then warmer it is, the faster it should be spinning. If you've had it off all winter, make sure you give the blades a good dusting before you turn it on or it will spread over your room.
For even better air circulation, position floor-standing fans and desk fans throughout your home. Some have a oscillating function to direct air in different directions - which is particularly great if you and your family are spread around the room and all want a chance to feel the breeze. Try placing a bowl of ice water in front of them to cool the air that they’re blowing around and create a more refreshing feel.
The majority of heat escapes your home through the loft, so having good ventilation in this area will reduce heat build-up and help you keep cool. If you have vents, hatches, or windows, make sure they’re open to allow the heat to escape upwards and keep the air cool in the lower parts of the house.