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11 ways to keep your flat cool in summer

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Most of us have experienced one of those hot summer nights where we just can’t settle, tossing and turning as we swelter in our unbearably humid bedrooms. And did you know that if you can’t cool yourself down quick enough it can lead to heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and hives!? While the latter is unpleasant, heatstroke can put your health in serious danger, so you need to try to prevent this from happening as quickly as possible.   

To stay cool in the summer when you’re outdoors, you’d typically stay hydrated, take a dip in a pool (if you’re lucky enough to have access to one), or simply seek shade. While you’d think that coming inside would do the trick, sometimes it can feel even more uncomfortable than being outdoors. This is because the heat has entered your home and made it feel like a horrendously sticky furnace.

Why do flats get so hot?

Unfortunately for those of us who live in flats, heat rises which means that the higher up your flat is, the hotter it will typically become. Or to put it scientifically, the density of air decreases as temperature rises, so hotter air will tend to rise up through buildings where convection is possible. Also, you’re less likely to benefit from shading produced by trees and other buildings that naturally keep your home cool during the summer.

Some flats can also have lots of large windows providing epic views over your city, but these just draw more sunlight and heat into your home. You may also be restricted on how much you can open your windows or may not like to open your windows to prevent air pollution and noise from coming into your home. All these factors mean that flats can feel really hot in the summer and that means that you can feel agitated and really uncomfortable.

To beat the heat, check out these 11 ways to keep your flat cool in summer

Close blinds and curtains

The easiest way to prevent the sun from heating up your flat is to close blinds and curtains on windows where the sun hits. They don’t have to be closed all day, just during the peak sunlight hours which are usually between 12 pm and 7 pm. Once this time has passed, you’ll want to open the blinds and curtains again to allow some of the trapped heat to escape.

Use a good old fan

With air conditioning units being a little on the pricey side to install and run, particularly for the typical sporadic hot days that we can experience during a summer in the UK, fans can be a great alternative. You just need to be a bit clever with where you locate the fans to ensure maximum effectiveness. For example, with multiple fans you can set them up so that they intersect the air around you from multiple directions, making it feel a lot cooler and breezier in your flat. Or, try facing your fan slightly towards the window to push the hot air out.

Did you know that the fan above your cooker and those in your bathrooms can actually help you with your summer heat problem too? As they’re designed to suck out the humid air in a room when you’re cooking or bathing, they can also suck the hot air out generated by the sun too. Try switching them on when you arrive home in the evening to remove the excess heat that has built up during the day but don’t leave them on for too long.

Discover ice bowls

This is a simple trick that can add an ice-cold breeze to your flat in the summer. All you have to do is fill a large bowl with ice or packs and place it in front of a fan. The airflow from the fan will be instantly cooled by the ice as it glides over and when it starts to melt, you should get a cool mist in your direction too.

Close doors to rooms you’re not using

If you’re using fans to cool your flat, you can encourage the cooler air into the most frequently used areas of your home by shutting doors to rooms that you don’t often use. This way, the cool air isn’t wasted and will have a greater impact on lowering the temperature in your flat.  

Opt for cold food

You’re probably not going to want to be standing next to a hot oven if your flat is already scorching but did you know that the heat from your oven and stove will only add to the excess heat in your flat? So, you may be better off choosing meals that don’t require cooking such as fresh salads, sandwiches, buying pre-prepared foods, or perhaps treating yourself to a takeaway every now and then.

Keeping windows closed and open

This may seem a bit counterintuitive but it’s best to keep your windows shut during the day rather than opening them. This will actually help to prevent the heat from coming into your flat, as if you were to leave them open, you’d basically be inviting in the hot and humid air to reside in your home.

Make special use of your freezer

OK, this one might not be for everyone as you’d need to have a pretty big freezer for it to work, however, if you do have the room try popping your bed sheets in there for a while before you go to bed. This will provide you with an invitingly cool bed to jump into which should help you to drift off comfortably rather than laying in a sticky, agitated heap.

Invest in a Chillow

Have you guessed what it is yet? It’s a cool, gel pillow that you can pop in your pillowcase to create a soothing place to rest your head. These ingenious creations simply need to be placed into the freezer (better start making some room in there) for 15 minutes before you go to bed.

Jump in a cold shower or bath

If the above hasn’t helped to keep your flat cool, you may get some relief from taking a cold shower or bath. It doesn’t need to be ice cold; in fact, this would be pretty uncomfortable and even dangerous for your health; so, just make sure that the water is refreshingly cool to lower your body temperature sufficiently enough to relax you in your hot flat. Plus, cold showers and baths won’t produce hot steam that would only make the temperature rise even higher in your home. 

Switch to cotton sheets

If you prefer the silky-smooth feel of satin sheets, you might not be doing yourself any favours in the summer months as they can actually make you feel hotter. Instead, opt for cooler cotton and linen sheets that are breathable and will help you to get a more restful night’s sleep.

Stay away from things that produce heat

This means laptops, iPads, and mobile phones – I’m sure many people would rather stay hot than do this, and of course, you may not have a choice if you’re working from home, but it really will help to keep you and your flat cooler during summer. Inefficient lightbulbs can also be a significant source of heat. While it’s likely that you won’t have lights on much during the long, summer days, it’s a good idea to make sure that they’re all using energy-efficient bulbs. Not only will this help to prevent excess heat in your flat, but it can also help to reduce your energy bills too.

Further reading

It won’t be long before it’s winter again, so why not check out ‘8 Winter maintenance tips for freehold properties’?

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