We’re in the middle of one heatwave, and there could be more to come, but summer can prove tricky when we’re away from air-conditioned offices, and escaping abroad for a week by the pool still isn’t guaranteed.
Here’s how to keep your house cool during the summer swelter…
1. Get a fan
Fewer than one per cent of Irish homes come equipped with air conditioning (and most of the time we all know why), so if you want cold air blowing your way, a plug-in fan is likely the easiest way to go. They only provide temporary respite, but on a really hot day temporary respite is more than enough.
For added freezy feelings, place a bowl of ice or iced water in front of your fan, which will help cool the air the fan blows in your direction.
2. Sleep with cotton sheets
Put away the duvets, quilts and bedtime blankets, cotton should be your sheet material of choice during long hot summer nights. Even more breathable than satin and silk, light-coloured cotton bedsheets are probably the coolest coverings you’ll find.
And if things get really, unbearably hot, try popping sheets in a plastic bag and stashing them in the freezer for a bit, before putting them back on the bed for super cool sleep.
3. Close the curtains
Closed curtains and blinds are often associated with stuffiness, but by exposing all your windows at the start of a scorching day, you can basically trap yourself in an enormous greenhouse.
Black-out blinds are especially effective at blocking incoming rays if you’re willing to opt for something a little more heavy duty.
4. Seal any gaps
You’re looking to physically block as much heat as possible from entering your home, and some surprisingly blunt methods might help you do so. Towels or draught excluders can do the trick around doors and windows, while DIY enthusiasts can close up any cracks in the masonry with off-the-shelf sealant.
Keep your windows closed during the day, and only open them to let in cooler air overnight. If you must engage in daytime window-opening, make sure you open windows on either side of the house, and keep doors open to create a through-draught.
5. Invest in house plants
House plants can help permeate a stuffy room with moisture, and window sill staples like rubber plants, snake plants, and peace lilies can help create a more breathable microclimate.
Some indoor-friendly flora even sucks up pollutants and particulates – aloe plants spring to mind – potentially helping you deal with the heat a little more easily.
6. Turn off your tech
Appliances give off a surprising quantity of heat, particularly while charging. Power down computers and televisions rather than leaving them on standby, and try to leave plenty of space behind fridges and freezers for ventilation.
If your laptop is actually on your lap, you’ll be able to feel the heat very directly, and if you can, it might be wise to periodically switch it off during your day.
7. Engage in cooling activities
It’s not exactly rocket science, but cold drinks can cool you down; damp cloths can cool you down; and cold showers can cool you down a lot. Ice your wrists, pop your feet in a bucket of cold water, eat a lot of ice lollies – you have options.
8. Turn off the lights
The marginal heat loss benefits do not outweigh stubbing your toe, so still flick the light switch if going for a bathroom break after hours, but light bulbs do emit heat as well as light, and a naturally lit home tends to be a cooler home.