Be prepared for hot days. Keeping a house cool means preparing beforehand and making sure you do the basics.
Keeping inside the house cool in the hot summer days
Keeping the indoors cool means keeping the sunlight out from the morning and not letting the hot air inside when it starts to heat during the day. Here are some tips to keep the indoors of your house cool in hot days.
Pull the blinds down from early morning before sunrise
Early in the morning or even the night before a very hot day, pull the blinds down and keep the inside as dark as possible. If there is any sunlight entering the house try and adjust the blinds so that it stays out.
Use blackout curtains and close them from the morning
Use blackout curtains in all windows and large doors wherever possible. Blackout curtains keep the sunlight out and they also insulate against the hot air and are perfect for keeping the inside of a house cool.
Adjust ceiling fans to run anti-clockwise
Usually ceiling fans have a little switch to change the direction. In Summer you would want the fans to be reversed, to be running counter-clockwise (when you are looking from below) to provide better air circulation in the room.
Close all the windows and the doors when its hot outside
When the house is cooler than outside, close all the windows and doors and open them when outside is cooler than the house. Go around the house and make sure all windows and doors are closed. One small open window can really warm up the house in a very short time. Also make sure all windows are fully shut by getting close and doing an inspection.
Insulate the house as much as you can
Are your walls insulated, is your ceiling insulated? Make sure your walls and ceilings are insulated so that the outside heat doesn’t come inside. You can also insulate window films to make them repel sunlight.
Seal windows, doors and any gaps/crakcs
Change seals around the windows and doors. Use blockers to block air gaps. Use sealants, towels, blu tack, tarps or anything else you can use to make sure there is no hot air coming in from outside.
Don’t cook anything indoors and turn the stove off
Stove creates heat and the heat stays inside the house. On very hot days, its best to not use the stove or the oven. If you use them, the house will heat up. So whats the alternative? use microwave to heat up food indoors. Use a barbecue or grill outdoors, leave food out in the sun to warm up or eat cold food like salads.
Unplug everything that you don’t need
Anything plugged generates heat. Unplug anything you dont need. Even if they are in standby they will still produce a miniscule amount of heat. Unplug TVs, computers, fridges etc that you wont be using during the day.
Try not to use any electronic equipment
To keep the house cool, try to not use any electronic equipment. Turn off the Tvs or watch shows on your mobile instead. Try not to use your computer or a laptop as they all add up.
Close off unused rooms
Some rooms get hotter than others when its very hot outside and if left open will let in warm air inside the house so close off any unused rooms early and keep them closed until its cooler.
Use LED lightbulbs
Try not to have lights on in the first place but if you have to, use light bulbs that use less energy and generate less heat. LEDs come to mind.
Don’t run your laundry or do your ironing
Laundry running for an hour generates heat again. Ironing also generates heat, try and do these beforehand.
Use exhaust fans
The exhaust fans in the house are great for getting rid of hot air, when it gets warm, turn them on to get rid of hot air. There are usually exhaust fans in bathrooms. You can also turn on exhaust fans in the kitchen to get rid of hot air from there.
Use a fan with a bowl of ice in front of it
This one the oldest trick in the book and everyone swears by it. Get a normal fan, start it and put a bowl of ice in front of it. The air from the fan will hit the ice, cool down and spread around the room. Obvioulsy this is best done in a smaller room for better results.
Dehumidify the house
We perspire to cool our bodies. We sweat, the sweat evaporates and wicks the heat away leaving our bodies cooler. A dry environment facilitates this evaporation. If your house is humid already, its harder for sweat to evaporate. So use a dehumidifier or turn off the humidifiers beforehand.
Keep out sunlight as much as you can, reflect Sunlight where you can
Sunlight and Hot air are the two doom bringers when it comes to wanting to stay cool. Keep out sunlight from before the sun rises. Use blinds, curtains, reflective panels etc. Have any windows without blinds and curtains, here is a quick trick, the reflectors that you use in your car, can be put on your windows to reflect the sunlight.
If you have high windows open them to let hot air out
Have hight windows in your ceiling, attic etc, You can open them strategically when the sunlight doesn’t come from them to get rid of hot air. Since hot air rises to the top, these windows are excellent to get the hot air out. For optimum efficiency you should be opening a window at the lowest point in the house where possible though.
Use Indoor Plants
Indoor plants help keep the house cool. Having lots of indoor plants not only helps keep the house cool, but also makes you feel cooler by looking at them.
Keeping the outside of your house cool in hot summer days
If you keep the outside of your house cool, there will be less hot air and sunlight that tries to get inside your house keeping it cooler. So its important to keep the outside of your house cool to keep your house inside and outside cooler overall. Keeping sunlight out of the outside really helps in this.
Add shade outside the house
Add shade outside the house by using shade clothes wherever possible. Areas outside the house where there are windows, glass doors and doors, if shaded properly help a lot in keeping the overall house cool during very hot days.
Trees and plants provide shade and help keep environment cooler overall. Strategically plant trees and plants so that they provide shade to windows and doors around the house. Walls that are east or west facing will also benefit from having trees and plants next to them to block the harsh Australian sun.
Install outdoor blinds/shades
Lots of companies offer outdoor/blinds and shades for windows and doors. These help keep the sunlight out of the windows doors and also keep yoru house more secure from robbers. You can also put just normal shades etc on the outside of your windows/doors to keep the insides cooler.
Install Glazed or double glazed windows
Glazed and Double Glazed windows reflect most of the sunlight and also don’t allow the inside pane of the glass to get as hot. This way your indoors stay cool.
Try and use natural lawn
Artificial turf can heat up and trap hot air around them warming up the outside areas. If the outside of the house it hot, the inside will eventually get hot. Try and use natural lawn where possible.
Cooling your body in hot summer days
The other key to staying cool in scorching hot days is keeping your body cool. If your body is cool, it won’t feel as hot. However if your body is hot, it will be hard to deal with even in warm days.
Take a cool shower
Take a cool shower when its hot. Feel free to do it multiple times during a hot day. If it’s very hot or you are feeling very hot, make sure you dont jump into a very cold shower as that can cause heart attacks. Spend enough time in the shower to cool yourself before jumping out of it.
Use a cold bath
Fill up your bath with cold water and lie down in it to cool yourself. You can reuse the water during the day to stay cool. Lie down on it for as long as you like to stay cool.
Wear cotton/cool clothes
Clothing makes the biggest impact on whether your body stays cool or not. Its best to use cooling clothing (climacool, dry, moisture wicking ) clothing. If that is not available, 100% cotton is best. Make sure to use loose fitting which allows a lot of air flow. If you do not have appropriate clothes, no or less clothing is ideal.
Cool your pulse points
Keeping your pulse points cool keeps your whole body cool. So try to cool off your ankles, wrists and neck. Dipping your feet in cool water, dipping your hands in cool water, wearing damp clothes around them will help keep your body cool.
Lie down on the tiles
Some house have tiles rather than carpet. Tiles stay cool and are usually low in the ground. If you have tiles in your house, you can lie on them direclty or over a sheet placed on them to stay cool.
Drink/Sip on cold drinks
Apart from Clothing, Hydration makes the biggest impact on your overall body temperature. Keep it low by sipping on cold water and cold drinks during the day. Use insulated drinking bottles to keep the water cool inside bottles.
Spend as much time as you can in lower areas or basement of your house
Have you got a basement or a tile floor or a lower level. Spend as much time as you can on the lower areas of your house. Remember hot air rises to the top so the cooler air is at the bottom of the house.
Try and not do any work/chores that increase your heart rate
Doing intensive exercises/work/chores will raise your heart rate and warm up your body. These can also lead to heat strokes on a very hot day. Stay away from these on a very hot day. If you absolutely have to, make sure you have someone to look after you.
Sleeping properly and staying cool in hot summer nights
What’s my biggest issue with hot days? Sleepless Hot summer nights. I hate it and I am sure you all hate it. The hot feet, the sweaty forehead, the constant watching of the clock/watch to see how long you have left to try and get some good sleep. It’s a nightmare without falling asleep. Luckily here are some tips to take away some of the heat from your sleepless hot nights
Use cotton sheets
Similar to keeping your body clean, use natural fibres. They will help absorb moisture and keep it cool overall.
Spray water or dip your feet in cold water at night
Hot feet are terrible and a hindrance to a night of good sleep. Keep a spray bottle with water next to bed or if it’s a persistent issue, keep a bucket of water next to bed. Whenever you wake up or can’t sleep because of hot feet, give it a good spray or dip it in the water to cool it down.
Eat salads and water rich fruits and vegetables for dinner
The more your body has to work to digest your food, the more heat it produces. So stay off proteins for dinner for the night. Instead opt for cooler options such as salds and fruits. Water based vegetables also help cool your body down. Stay cool as cucumber by chomping on some cucumber during the day and before bed.
Drink a cold glass of water before bed
Cool your body by drinking a cold glass of water before bed. This has a two step solution. First it cools down your body and second also helps with the perspiration during the night keeping your body cool.
Dampen a sheet or towel in cool water and use it as a blanket
A trick passed on by centuries and first discovered by Egyptians, dampen a sheet or towel and use that as a blanket to keep your body cool during the night. You may need a towel under you as well to make sure your mattress doesn’t get damp.
Sleep at a lower level
People have high beds and higher means warmer air. Sometimes its a good idea to just put a sheet or a blanket on the floor and sleep on the floor because the air is cooler there. Obviously this may not be as comforable for everyone, so you have to prioritise what you want.
Wear natural fibers and cotton/moisture wicking materials
Similar to staying cool during the day, make sure your sleeping clothes keep you cool during the night. Just because you wear the same PJs to sleep every night, doesn’t mean it will keep you cool during the night.
Stick your sheets in the freezer few minutes before going to sleep
Another “cool” trick. Before you go to sleep put your sheets in the freezer for a few mins and then sleep in them. This will keep the sheets cool and hopefully will get you to sleep before they warm up.
Open your windows and doors at nights
At nights usually outside is cooler than inside the house. Take advantage of this by opening your doors an windows at nights (or evenings when outside is cooler) to let the cool air inside the house. Houses are likely to stay warm during the night because of warmed up walls during the day.
Create a free air flow system
Don’t just open the doors and windows, but open them strategically to create an airflow system around the house. Open doors and windows at opposite ends of the house. Open doors and windows in the direction the air is flowing so that you get more air through the house and cool air replaces warm air during the night.
Install a fly screen so that you can sleep with your door open at nights
Open doors and windows could mean insects and other nasties get inside your house at nights. While its good to stay cool, you still have to be safe, so install fly screens that you can lock to sleep with doors/windows open and with peace of mind.
Looking after others on hot days
Scorching heat is an issue for everyone especially older people and animals. Once we are cool and have taken necessary precautions, It’s important to look after others.
Check up on your elder neighbours
If you have elderly neighbours or people you know, please check after them when you can. Elderly people cannot handle heat as well as others and are at a higher risk than most people. Check up on them and offer assistance where you can.
Keep some water out for the birds and other animals
Animals and birds usually won’t always have shelter and water around in very hot days. Its important to keep out water for them during very hot days to make sure they survive.
Any tips for staying cool and surviving very hot days?
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