With searing hot temperatures sweeping the UK amid a week-long heatwave, many Brits are desperately trying to keep their home cool.
Parts of the UK will be hotter than some of the world’s top beach destinations such as Hawaii, Jamaica, the Maldives and the Bahamas this week – with 33C (91F) highs expected today and tomorrow, and 29C (84F) on Wednesday.
But while few of us are fortunate to have air conditioning systems in our homes. experts have revealed there are things you can do to cool down your living space, both for sleeping and during the day.
Here FEMAIL uncovers the seven ways you can keep your house at a cooler temperature in a heatwave.
With searing hot temperatures sweeping the UK, experts have revealed how Brits can keep their home cool amid the week-long heatwave
1. Close your windows…
While it may be tempting as it may be to throw open the windows at the first feel of heat, experts have revealed this will only make it worse.
Dr Lindsay Browning, psychologist and sleep expert at luxury bed retailer And So To Bed told FEMAIL it is a ‘good idea’ to keep windows closed during the day time.
She said: ‘Generally, when it is really hot outside, it is a good idea to keep windows closed during the daytime, as you don’t want the hot external air to come into the house warming it up.’
She suggested Brits want to try to keep the hot air out and the house cool; which means keeping windows – particularly south-facing windows – closed during the day.
If you can’t bear to shut the air out entirely, open the top and bottom sections of your windows an equal amount.
This will allow hot air to escape through the top, while letting any cold breeze stream in through the bottom.
And if you have a loft, open the hatch in the day, to stop hot air getting trapped upstairs.
Meanwhile those Brits who have a conservatory, which can act as a heat-trap, should be particularly careful and keep the doors locked, especially if you let your cat or dog roam freely while you’re out of the house.
Dr Browning suggested opening the windows up and give the house a good airing in the evening, saying: ‘After the sun goes down, the outside air will start to cool down.’
2. …And shut your curtains
Remember to close the curtains where possible to create extra shade in your home, particularly if you live in a flat, as these can often become heat traps.
Dr Browning explained: ‘Although not practical if you are working from home in a make-do bedroom office, keeping the curtains shut during the day will stop the sun from heating up the room.
‘The sun beaming on the windows creates a greenhouse effect.
‘Keeping them closed means that when bedtime comes around the room is a lot cooler than what it would be otherwise.’
Temperatures soar across Britain to tropical highs
The mercury in central, southern and eastern England will soar again this afternoon amid a heatwave blasting the nation – with the hot weather set to last until at least the weekend when temperatures could get up to 36C (97F).
But it comes after a tropical night during which temperatures were still at 20C (68F) at midnight in London.
The UK’s hottest day of 2022 so far was June 17 when Santon Downham in Norfolk got up to 32.7C (90.8F) – while the country’s highest temperature ever recorded was the 38.7C (101.6F) in Cambridge on July 15, 2019.
Parts of the UK will be hotter than some of the world’s top beach destinations such as Hawaii, Jamaica, the Maldives and the Bahamas this week – with 33C (91F) highs expected today and tomorrow, and 29C (84F) on Wednesday. This will be followed by 28C (82F) this Thursday, 27C (81F) on Friday and 31C (88F) on Saturday.
The Met Office said there is a 30 per cent chance of the UK experiencing its hottest day ever day this Sunday – with the current forecast for 36C (97F) highs in London, although this could be upgraded in the coming days.
The whole of England will experience largely sunny days with some cloud throughout this week, but Scotland and Northern Ireland could see downpours on Tuesday and northern England will see some rain on Friday.
The forecast comes after a very hot weekend that saw Britain enjoy UK highs of 30.1C (86.2F) yesterday and 27.5C (81.5F) on Saturday, after 29.3C (84.7F) last Friday – with all three temperatures recorded in London.
3. Create a cross-breeze through the house
Even though you should keep those windows closed throughout the day, sometimes you simply need to feel a breeze.
If you need to open your windows, experts suggested doing it strategically.
Open windows at opposite sides of the house and keep doors open so the air can move through freely.
Andy Kerr, founder of BOXT, said it was a good way to ‘cool a room down quickly’, adding: ‘During a heatwave, a good hack to ensure the air flows quickly into a room is to create a cross breeze with your windows.
‘If you have two windows which are in line with each other or positioned diagonally, keep them both open.
‘You can also place a fan in front of each window (one fan blows in air from the outside, while the other window is reversed and blows air outside).’
4. Invest in a fan (and use it strategically)
Since heat rises, the coolest air in your house is going to be at floor level – so set your fan on the floor, and point it upwards.
Position it so that it points outwards towards the opposite wall, unobstructed by large objects.
Andy explained: ‘Tower fans are recommended as their oscillating switches work by creating a wind-chill effect rather than lowering the temperature of a room.’
He continued: ‘You also want to ensure any ceiling fans are set to anti-clockwise so they don’t distribute the warm air.’
Need it to cool faster? Try placing a bowl of ice and cold water in front of your fan’s blades, so the air blows across it.
Andy added: ‘You can position a shallow bowl of ice, ice packs or a frozen water bottle behind your fan which can be very effective at quickly cooling a room.’
5. Unplug and switch off your devices
A surprising amount of heat is generated from appliances around the house.
In 2020, researchers from ZDNet put a wireless charger to the test, using a thermal camera to study how hot it was, both in and out of use.
They found that when an iPhone 11 Pro Max was placed on the wireless charger, the device reached 32°C, while the surrounding air hit 20°C.
Switching devices off when they’re not being used (don’t just leave them on standby), and making sure the backs of fridges and freezers have plenty of ventilation space will help avoid internal heat gains.
Lisa Slack, Head of Product at Thomas Sanderson, explained: ‘Make sure you unplug any appliances you aren’t using, as they tend to generate a fair amount of heat and will contribute to making the hot day even hotter.
‘Remember to unplug kitchen appliances such as your toaster and any items you have on standby throughout the day like your TV.
‘Doing this will not only cool your house down, but it will also save you some money on your electricity bills too which is an added bonus!’
Meanwhile you should also avoid using tumble dryers and dishwashers, hang your clothes up to dry and handwash any dishes to avoid extra heat from electrical appliances.
Alternatively, put washing machines and dishwashers on in the evening when it’s cooler.
Also, avoid using the oven – try swapping to cold meals like salads and sandwiches to keep temperatures down.
Meanwhile you should also avoid using tumble dryers and dishwashers, hang your clothes up to dry and handwash any dishes to avoid extra heat from electrical appliances (stock image)
6. Use bowls of water around the house
Leaving bowls of water around the house can help cool hot air. Trees and plants also act as natural air conditioners by pumping moisture into the atmosphere, so consider investing in a nice house plant.
Lisa explained: ‘A natural way to keep our homes cooler in the heat is to buy more house plants.
‘Plants lose water during transpiration, which cools the air around the plants and leaves the space purified and fresh.
‘Having indoor plants throughout your home will provide moisture to the stuffier areas, making them more comfortable in the heat.’
Plants can also help by blocking out the sun. Planting some trees, or tall wide plants outside your south-facing window, or placing household plants in front of your window should help protect you from some of the sun’s heat.
7. Freeze your hot water bottle to cool down your bed
Jonathan Warren, director at mattress specialist Time4Sleep added: ‘Believe it or not, your hot water bottle can be used as an easy way to cool down your bed before sleep.
‘Despite the name, simply fill your hot bottle as normal and leave it in the freezer for a few hours before bedtime to transform into a nifty ice pack.
‘When you’re ready for bed, place the hot water bottle in between the sheets and allow the sheets to cool down.
‘For those who struggle to fall asleep during the heat, this little hack may prove to be especially useful in helping you drift off sweat-free.’