When summer rolls around, we all hope for sunny weather, imagining a weekend in the garden sipping an ice-cold drink while the children play in a paddling pool. But if you don’t have the luxury of lounging around when things start to heat up, you’ll be reminded of how challenging it can be to be at home — and, for some of us, to work from home — in high temperatures.
While this summer has been a bit of a write off, we are set to have some warmer weather in the next few weeks. It’s too soon to say if the rest of this summer will be a scorcher, but in case it is, here’s how to deal with the heatwave at home.
1. Close your windows
Yes, you read that right! Keeping your windows closed can help to keep the hot air out of your home. Once it has cooled down in the evening, open your windows back up for ventilation — but only do this once you’ve turned the lights off so you can prevent insects from inviting themselves in.
2. Keep your curtains closed
Natural light is good for us — it helps our bodies to produce vitamin D and even makes us happier. But letting the sunshine directly into your bedroom is only going to make it hotter and harder to sleep.
The chances are that you’re not hanging around in your bedroom on a hot day, so once you're up, pull down the blinds, close the shutters or draw the curtains. When you do return to your room at night, it’ll be a cool haven where you can sleep soundly.
3. Set your sleep up for success
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the biggest challenges during a heatwave, but closing your curtains isn’t the only thing you can do.
Some of us feel the need to shower more regularly in the summer because we are sweating more. But how often are you washing your sheets in the hotter months?
A survey by Love 2 Laundry found that 21% of us sleep in the same sheets for up to two months without washing them. For the best sleep and hygiene, you should be washing your sheets at least once a fortnight in general. When it’s hot, you might want to think about changing your bedding more often as you are likely to be sweating more in the night.
Still finding it hard to sleep? If you find yourself pushing off your duvet in the night, it may be the wrong tog rating for this time of year. Consult the image below to help you choose the right duvet for a good night's sleep in the summer months — or, if you’re still too warm, consider using the duvet cover to sleep with instead of the actual duvet.
4. Keeping food safe
The Food Standards Agency recommends keeping your fridge at a temperature of 5°C or below. Buy a fridge thermometer, as fridge dials aren’t always accurate. Don’t overload the fridge (air needs to circulate) and open the door as infrequently as possible to prevent cold air escaping to ensure your food remains cool.
It’s also important to think about the journey your food makes from the supermarket to the fridge. A study by WRAP found that the temperature of some foods could increase by up to 11°C on the journey from shop to fridge and could take 15 hours to reach a safe temperature again.
During a heatwave, don’t take any risks: use a cool bag to carry chilled food home. After a food shop, use the fast freeze/chill buttons in your fridge. This reduces the temperature of freshly added foods to safe levels quickly, in the fridge or freezer.
5. Make the most of your fan
A fan can help air flow around the room, but if it’s hot, all it’s doing is moving warm air around. You can makximise your fan's power by placing a bowl of ice at a safe distance in front of it (remember a fan is an electrical appliance after all...) to cool the air down. Now you have homemade aircon!
In the market for a new fan? Check out our latest roundup of the 9 best tower fans.
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