Energy efficient ways to keep cool in the heat

The British aren’t so good at dealing with hot weather, relying on energy-hungry fans and air-conditioning units to get through a heat wave. Here are some tips will help to bring energy bills down to a much cooler level.

Use the windows – It might seem obvious but using windows properly can help circulate air around a property and reduce some of the mugginess associated with a heat wave. Sash windows should be opened equal amounts at the top and bottom; because heat rises, this helps push hot air out while drawing cooler air in. The same principle applies to two-storey properties. Keep upstairs windows open to get rid of hot air and leave downstairs windows open to pull in cooler air and create some much-needed circulation.

Block out sunlight – During the summer it’s tempting to throw the curtains wide to let light in. All this does is heat up rooms so keep curtains and blinds drawn during the day and then, in the evening, open them up to make the most of the natural light for as long as possible.

Unplug – Light bulbs and electrical appliances emit heat. While it might only be a small amount, it’s enough to push an already hot place into unpleasant levels of heat. Eke out as much use as you can from natural light before flicking on electrical lights and swap old light bulbs for new, energy-saving ones. They emit hardly any heat and you could save on annual energy bills.

Take a cool, not cold, shower – A cold shower can be counter-productive as your body will react to dramatic change by trying to preserve heat. It’s much better to have a tepid shower that is cool enough to lower your core body temperature but warm enough to allow blood to the surface of the skin. You won’t need hot water to do this so turn down the boiler’s water thermostat – a tank of hot water will only add to the heat problem.

Use a fan effectively – If you do need to use a fan, create a cross-breeze by positioning it across from an open window or point it downwards so it pushes cooler air up into the rising heat. When things get really hot, position a shallow pan or bowl of ice in front of the fan – the airflow will pick up cold water from the surface of the ice as it melts, creating a cooling breeze.

Consider heat-wave friendly investments – The terms double-glazing and insulation are usually bandied around during winter when we’re keen to keep the heat in and the cold out. But a well insulated house works all year round and in summer keeps heat outside and cool air inside. Insulating your property is an investment that will save money and pay off whatever the weather.