Sunday 8 July 2018

It's too damn hot... (staying cool at home in the summer)

Well, it is for me, anyway.  I'm hot.  OH is hot.  The son who currently has an entire leg in plaster is hot (don't ask).  The other son (who claims not to be able to sleep without a duvet, crazy child) is hot.  The dog is hot.  Basically, we're all hot.

The thing about having been born and brought up in northern Europe is that until a few years ago, I didn't know how to manage summer heat in my home.  We so rarely have it, after all.  I don't know about you, but my first instinct when the weather outside is scorching is to open all the windows in the hope of finding even the slightest bit of breeze.  I mean, that's obvious, right?

Except, if you visit southern Europe, that's not at all what you see in the heat of the day.  If you walk around Spain, Greece, Italy, France, between 11am and 6pm you don't see rows of open windows.  Instead you're faced with closed shutters, windows and curtains. It's almost as if - wait a moment - people who are used to living with those climates are trying to keep the heat...  out.  Oh.

After a few summers spent in self-catering accommodation in southern Europe, OH and I finally picked up on the good sense of this practice and now whenever the temperature outside rockets, we do the same thing.  In case this is not something you've come across before, here's how to keep things cooler at home.

  1.  As soon as it becomes cool enough in the evening, open windows and blinds to let the cooler air into the house.
  2. Safety allowing, leave the windows that way all night.
  3. It’s not been heating up here until around 10am-ish, so leave curtains and windows open until then (or whenever that happens where you are), BUT...
  4. Around 10/11 am (or assuming you work outside the home, when you leave the house in the morning if it’s earlier than that), shut your windows. All of them (except perhaps a hatch into the attic, if you have one.  It makes sense to leave that open, to give any hot air that is in the house somewhere to escape to).
  5. Close your curtains and blinds to keep the sun out.  
  6. Then, when it starts to cool in the evening, return to Step 1.

And that’s it. It may seem counter-intuitive but I promise, it’s far more effective a way to keep your home cool than leaving windows and doors open in the hope of catching a through-breeze; all that does is move hot air into and around your home.
Good luck!