As we enter the annual period of seasonal heatwaves the usual sense of foreboding falls over us as we realize we may be faced with the prospect of withstanding the same scorching temperatures inside as we do outside. Some of us may be in the enviable position of having air conditioning indoors, however, the majority of us have no such luck. We struggle to sleep at night and to find motivation for the following day, we become restless and edgy, all due to the unrelenting heat.
Here we will take a look at the best solutions to ensure a restful night and an escape from the furnace we find ourselves in.
It may seem counterintuitive because often we think that keeping windows closed will keep the heat out, but actually the opposite is true. We need ventilation. If you think about your body, the main mechanism for cooling is sweating and this works much more effectively if we have air passing over our skin. The same applies indoors, a hot room will feel much cooler with a fan blowing. A little common sense also helps, if, for example, you have a window directly facing the sun then the curtains should be pulled tight and the window closed until the sun disappears. You can keep the house ventilated at night when it is cooler. As much as it is possible you should always try to keep air circulating throughout the day and your house will feel cooler.
The biggest complaint through heatwaves is people being unable to sleep. This can affect all sorts of things from our general mood, the way we interact with others, to our productivity during the day. The most simple remedy here is to change where we sleep. Normally we sleep upstairs, but everyone knows that heat rises, so the coolest room in the house is likely to be downstairs. Move the mattress or simply sleep on the floor, but always remember to keep the air circulating and you will find that you sleep like a baby.
Insulating your house correctly could be the long term solution that you have been crying out for, especially if you live in a part of the world that is prone to annual heatwaves. Speak to a firm of roofing contractors, and depending on the type of roof you have they will advise you how to insulate to keep the heat out. These can be one of the most cost-effective options available to you because not only will insulation keep the heat out during summer, but it will also keep it inside, in the winter, helping you to save on those energy bills throughout the year.
Plants can help cool the home from both inside and outside. How do they do that outside, you might ask? Well, if you have plants growing around the outside of your house you will protect the house from direct sunlight. Studies show that plants can block up to 800 watts of sunlight per square meter, which would otherwise have turned your house into an oven. However, you need to be careful about what to plant where. Wisteria can be great on south-facing walls as can climbing roses, and ivy is perfect for the other walls of your home. Not only will plants help to keep your house cool but they will also freshen up the look of your house and provide a haven for wildlife.
Ice may not be a long term solution because, well, it melts! Used correctly, though, in the short term it can provide added comfort and even help you to get some sleep. If you have a fan blowing why not place a bowl of ice underneath it, and as it melts the fan will blow the cool air around the room? Remember that hot water bottle? Well, fill it with water and place it in the freezer and you have a handy ice pack for when you need it. If you are struggling to get to sleep, put your sheets in the freezer half an hour before bedtime and you will have a perfectly cool bed to help you get that well-earned shut-eye.
As we have seen there are many techniques that you can use to stay cool in your home during the hot weather. Some options like insulation and growing plants around your home cost a bit more and take a little bit of time to come into effect, however, the potential savings to your wallet and the additional peace of mind they bring make them worthwhile.
Remember ice can be your friend so think outside of the box and try and use it to your advantage, from cooling your sheets when you’re trying to sleep, to giving that living room a cool breeze from your fan. Whichever method you choose, you will find your quality of life improves dramatically during these scorching months.