Beat the Heat

With these simple but effective tips you can make a positive impact on your comfort, your wallet, and the environment – letting you enjoy a sustainable and refreshing summer!

Avoid making more heat

When the weather is hot, try to minimise the heat you create.

  • Check your heating is switched off completely, rather than just turned down at the thermostat.
  • Turn off electrical items when they’re not needed. Lights, chargers, TVs, and computers can all generate heat. As well as keeping you cooler in the summer, switching off standby whenever you can will save you around £55 a year. A smart plug can make it easier to switch things off in one go.
  • Keep TVs and computers out of bedrooms which need to be cooler for sleep.

In the kitchen

The kitchen is often a hotspot in the house.

  • Keep cooking to a minimum during the day and cook when it is cooler. Microwaves are an efficient way to warm up food without creating more heat. Slow cookers are less heat intensive than using the oven or hob.
  • Keep your fridge happy. Fridges and freezers account for around 13% of an average household’s electricity consumption, as they are always on. Check your fridge and freezer doors close properly. Clean and defrost the freezer regularly and dust the condensing coils at the back to help them run as efficiently as possible. If you can, position your fridge and freezer out of direct sunlight and away from dishwashers and ovens, as a 5°C increase in the air around a fridge or freezer can increase its energy consumption by 20%.

Fans and air conditioning

  • When using an electric fan: Use fans if the air temperature is below 35°C, but: do not aim the fan directly at your body as this can lead to dehydration. Put it at floor level to circulate cooler air. Put a sealed bottle of ice or a wet tea towel in front of it to circulate chilled air (don’t let the fan get wet for safety reasons).
  • Air con versus fan? Which? consumer magazine compared the two options, and found that in most cases a good fan is sufficient and will use less electricity and cost a lot less to run than air conditioning.
  • Hanging up a wet sheet or drying wet clothes on a rack inside can also cool a space, but remember to ventilate the area when it cools down, to avoid mould and condensation.

Windows: dos and don’ts

  • Ventilate as much as you can when it is cooler outside – overnight, in the early morning, and in the evening – by opening windows and doors. To make the most of air flow at those times, open windows on opposite sides of your home and keep internal doors open. Once outside temperatures rise, close windows and doors.
  • Shade and cover windows – draw blinds and curtains or, if you don’t have them, hang light coloured sheets up to provide shade and reflect the heat, open curtains and blinds again, to maximise the use of natural light and avoid switching lights on until you need to. Reflective window film is also an option.
  • You might want to consider adding awnings to your home, particularly over south facing windows, if you have the budget and can.

Keeping your body cool

  • Hydrate. Drink before you get thirsty, as hot weather means you sweat more.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes and put your clothes – or some bedding – in the freezer for a couple of minutes before use.
  • Having a lukewarm shower (not too cold) before bed has been shown to help you sleep on a hot night. Showers save water and money but, if you prefer a bath, save the water to water any plants.
  • Too hot inside? It may be cooler outdoors in the shade or at a local public building like your local library, so if you’re struggling to keep your home cool, see if there is a cooler place you can get to without walking too far in the heat.
  • A cooling sports towel around your neck and shoulders can be effective, as can dabbing cool water on your neck and wrists.

Other actions

  • Join the Priority Services Register and be the first to hear about power cuts. Encourage vulnerable friends, family, and neighbours to do the same:
  • Sign up to the Heat-health Alert Service. Find out more and sign up here:
  • Look after your neighbours – especially anyone elderly, sick, and young.
  • Don’t forget the wildlife! Leave water out for hedgehogs, birds, insects, and other creatures. See:
  • Insulate your home. Good insulation helps keep heat in in the winter and heat out in the summer. See our Energy Saving Advice page for other things you can do to increase comfort in all seasons.
  • Plant drought-resistant trees or shrubs to create shade and reduce heat.

You can access the pdf version of this information below.

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