If you want to keep the aircon off there are many ways to keep your house cool in hot weather (Picture: Getty Images)
With energy bills having soared in recent months, many of us spent the winter keeping the central heating to a minimum, as we sought other more cost-effective ways to keep warm.
With summer almost upon us, you might be heaving a sight of relief that warmer days are here and the heating is no longer needed – but if the temperature soars to the 40C levels we saw in 2022 millions may be faced with the problem of how to cool their home down instead.
And if you reach for the air-conditioning or that portable fan, that could also have an impact on your energy bills, given the amount of electricity they can potentially use.
The good news is there are plenty of ways you can keep your home cool without falling back on electric-powered devices.
‘Although energy bills are set to go down, it makes sense to lower your energy usage as much as possible in the summer, to build up credit towards your winter bills, particularly as we will not be receiving the £67 per month support this winter,’ Catherine Grayson from A-Plan Insurance tells metro.co.uk.
‘There are some common-sense ways to do this without the use of an air conditioning unit.’
Follow our tips to ensure you’re truly chilling at home…
Keep windows and blinds closed
It might be tempting to open all the windows and let the fresh air in over the hotter months, but actually this can have the opposite effect, letting rays of sunshine into your home and making it feel warmer.
Instead, keep your windows and blinds closed when the sun is at its strongest. The NHS website advises: ’Close windows during the day and open them at night when the temperature outside has gone down.’
Keep your blinds closed when it’s hot outside (Picture: Getty Images)
‘Investing in some blinds could be a good move for summer and winter,’ Ms Grayson suggests, ‘reflecting the heat through the window in summer, and keeping it in during the winter’.
Spray your curtains with water
If you don’t have blinds, you can still make use of your curtains to bring some much needed cool air to your home.
Simply spray them with cold water and leave the window open – when the breeze comes in through the window it will pass by the water and evaporate it, which in turn cools the air in the room.
Put tinfoil on your windows
As unlikely as this sounds, this is a great way of keeping those rays at bay – since windows magnify heat, covering them up with tinfoil when the sun is at its hottest will actually reflect the sun off the window.
Tinfoil has many uses – including cooling your home down (Picture: Getty Images)
This means you can avoid having the sun shine directing into your home and heat it up. However, if you’re going to attempt this make sure you put the foil on the outside of the window, rather than the inside, as this will stop the glass from getting too hot from any direct sunlight.
Invest in a battery-powered fan
You don’t need to give up on fans completely if you’re trying to save on electricity – a battery-powered fan, such as this one from Amazon for example, will still give you relief from the hot conditions.
You’ll still need to plug it in to charge it, but depending on the speed you run it at you could get up to 12 hours worth of usage out of it before you have to do this. Other options include a portable neck fan such as this one, which will keep you cool as you walk around your home, and again lasts for up to 12 hours depending on usage.
The ‘bowl of ice’ trick’
If you have a fan at home it’s likely that you’re already using it. But have you tried using it with a bowl of ice, too?
Try placing a bowl of ice cubes in front of your fan, which will work to cool the air the fan is circulating around the room, like a DIY air conditioning unit without the mega expense. Once again, you could use a battery operated fan for this, keeping costs down to a minimum.
Make your own aircon with a bowl of ice (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
‘Fans are lower in cost to run,’ Ms Grayson explains, ‘so popping a tub of ice cubes in front of one when you (or your pets) get too warm can help with the cool down, or give you a more comfortable night’s sleep.’
Make your hot water bottle ‘cold’
You might have relied heavily upon your hot water bottle to keep warm in bed this winter, but you’d be surprised to learn you can use it in the summer too – especially to stay cool while you’re sleeping.
Fill the bottle with cold water, stick it in the freezer around a couple of hours before you’re due to go to bed, and you’ll have a way of staying chilled during the hottest nights of the year.
You can even keep it topped up with ice cubes if it starts to warm up.
Hot water bottles aren’t just for keeping warm (Picture: Getty Images)
If you don’t have a hot water bottle to hand, you could do something similar with an empty squash or fizzy drink bottle.
‘Don’t throw away your plastic pop bottles, refill them with water and freeze them. They take longer to melt and can be used in front of a fan or as a ‘cold water bottle,’ Ms Grayson suggests.
Other alternatives include putting uncooked rice in a pair of clean socks and freezing them for a few hours for a makeshift ‘cooling pad’.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that while it may not directly cool your home down, staying well hydrated can help you feel less hot, which in turn will help you feel more comfortable.
‘Above all else, hydration is really important, so keep some cold water in the fridge and sip regularly,’ Ms Grayson says.
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You don’t need to reach for the aircon.