Well, this is a problem we don’t normally have! Usually, homes in the UK are built to be warm and dry inside, and, unlike houses in hotter countries in Europe, aren’t really made to keep the heat out. With the UK in the grip of unusual temperatures this summer, we’re simply not used to coping with it.
Coming home to a house that’s like an oven and not being able to sleep at night because it’s too hot is no fun at all, so here are our helpful hints to coping at home in a UK heatwave! (Mind you, we’re probably all set for the wettest August on record now…).
1. Be a cool customer
Take a tip from the Mediterranean. The best way to keep your house cool is not to let the heat in in the first place. It may sound counter-intuitive, but don’t open any windows in the middle of the day – all you’ll be doing is letting the hot air in. Open windows from about 9pm – you can leave them open overnight if it’s practical to do so. Make sure they’re shut by 8am when it’s starting to heat up outside. Close all the curtains, and if you’re lucky enough to have shutters close those too.
2. Fans of a draught
Electric fans don’t really cool the air down, they just move hot air around. Having said that, though, the resulting draught can be nice! If you’re planning to put an electric fan in the bedroom to help you sleep, bear in the mind that although you can buy very cheap options (around the £15 to £20 mark), these may be very noisy. Another simple trick is put a bowl full of ice cubes in front of the fan, and let the draught distribute the cooler air.
3. If you can’t stand the heat…
…keep out of the kitchen. Or at least don’t use the oven. Alternatives include using the barbecue, using the hob (which isn’t normally on long enough to make much difference), eating lots of salads and going out for lots of lovely pub dinners in beer gardens.
4. And so to bed
Not being able to sleep because you’re too hot is horrible, and tossing and turning and throwing covers on and off doesn’t help.
If you’re got flannel or polyester sheets on your bed, start by changing them for cotton ones. Fill a spray bottle with iced water, and keep it in the fridge. Just before you get into bed, lightly spray your pillow and sheets with a fine mist of cold water. A hot water bottle filled with iced water can help, as well, as can taking a cool shower at bedtime.
5. It’s a dogs’ life
Remember furry friends when the heat is on, too – after all, they can’t take their coats off!
Don’t underestimate how hot the house can get during the day while you’re out at work. Allow pets access to tiled floors, if you have any, which will be cooler than carpeted areas. Shut the curtains and leave internal doors open. Make sure your pet has plenty of fresh drinking water, and invest in a cool mat for them to lie on.
Cats are originally desert animals and tend to cope much better in the heat than dogs, who can really suffer – a cool coat will help to keep pooped pooches fresh.0