Beat the Heat

Beat the Heat

Published 09 June 2023

Our summers are getting hotter. In fact, last year's July heatwave smashed dozens of records across the UK. While people are happy to see the sun after a long, dreary winter, many are unprepared for hot weather. This includes peoples' homes, which are designed to keep us warm, not cold. With extreme temperatures forecast this weekend and over the summer, here are some tips on how to cope with the heat.

If you are going outside

Take care when going outside, and do not underestimate the hot weather. If you go out, make sure you and your children wear appropriate clothing (white is the best), a hat and plenty of sunscreen. Bring a brolly for extra shade. Remember to drink lots of water to keep hydrated.

Close your windows and draw the curtains

Swinging open the windows at the first sign of heat might be tempting, but this could backfire on you. To keep your home cool, you need to keep hot air out.

This means shutting your windows during the day, especially if you have south-facing windows. Keep your blinds down and curtains drawn too. When temperatures drop, open your windows at night to let cooler air in.

Create a cross-breeze through the house

Yes, we said to keep your windows closed. But sometimes, we need to feel a breeze in hot weather. If you need to open a window, do it strategically to get air flowing through your home.

This means opening windows at opposite sides of your house or room and keeping doors open so air can move freely. If you have a fan, point it at an open window to push the hot air outside. Keep curtains and blinds closed or partially shut to deflect direct sunlight.

Put some bowls of water around the house

Leaving bowls of water around might seem strange, but doing so can help cool hot air.

If you can, invest in a fan (and use it wisely)

Electric fans are a great way to keep cool. But, since they use energy, ensure you're getting the most out of them.

Because heat rises, the coolest air in your home will be at floor level, so put your fan on the floor and point it upwards.

Also, position it to point towards the opposite wall (ideally with no large objects in the way). This will help bounce cooler air off the wall and back into your room. It will also mix with the warmer air, helping to cool down the temperature. If your fan has a timer, use it to ensure it is only switched on when needed – allowing you to save energy and your electric bills.

Try an ice fan

Place a bowl of ice or cold water in front of your fan's blades so the air blows across it. This will send icy water droplets around the room.

How to sleep in the heat

Staying cool at night is vital for a good night's sleep. Here are two ways to keep your bedroom (and yourself) cool.

Take a cold shower before bed

Taking a tepid shower or bath is one of the quickest ways to cool down before bed. Avoid turning the cold water on, which can stimulate your skin and wake you up. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, a warmer shower will encourage your body to release heat to the surface of your skin and can encourage you to sleep.

Turn your hot water bottle into an ice pack

If you have one, fill your hot water bottle with water and put it in the freezer for a few hours before bed. Once frozen, it will emit cold. Put this in your bed before you get in, or place it under your feet, to help regulate your temperature as you drift off.