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How to maintain your cool in the summer heat

After a long rather dismal spring, summer is here. But what kind of summer will it be? After the record high temperatures in 2022, will there be another heatwave?

Predictions and forecasts can often tell conflicting stories, but it’s a good idea to be prepared for hot weather if it does come our way. And if it catches us unawares, everyone will soon be complaining about being too hot! 

So here are a few of our top tips on how to maintain your cool this summer.


  • Stay hydrated

It is really important to keep well hydrated during hot weather. As a general rule, you should aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day all year round and increase this if the weather is very hot. If you start to feel thirsty, it’s an indication that your body is already mildly dehydrated, and you may also experience symptoms such as headaches, fatigue or dizziness. 

Water is the best thing to drink; tap water is fine. Hot drinks such as tea and coffee also count, and can actually help to cool you down because they raise your body temperature which then causes sweating and reduces the heat of your body. But avoid drinking excessive alcohol as this can dehydrate you even further. 


  • Take a dip

As well as water being the best thing to drink, it is also an instant way to cool your body down. So, if you feel too hot, use the power of water. If it’s possible to go for a quick swim, this will cool your whole body down. If not, the next best thing is a cool bath or shower.

But if neither of these is an option, you can achieve a quick dose of cool by either wiping a damp cloth over your neck or wrists, or by filling a bucket or basin of cold water and plunging your hands or feet into it for a welcome cool down.


  • Wear loose clothing

Wherever possible, wear loose-fitting clothes in hot weather. Covering your body with loose-fitting natural fabrics – such as linen and cotton – can help to keep your skin cooler than skimpier summer clothes such as shorts and strappy tops. This is because they are able to absorb sweat and allow your skin to breathe, rather than the heat on your skin just building up. 

White and pale colours are best if you’re going to be out and about in direct sunlight all day, as they reflect the heat. But if you are likely to spend quite a bit of time in the shade, black and darker colours work better as they will radiate out heat and cool you down.


  • Reduce your appliance use

In really hot weather, reduce your use of appliances wherever possible. Every appliance in your kitchen – oven, dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer – generates heat, so the less you can use them the better. So, for example, eating al fresco – picnics, BBQ’s, salads etc – will enable you to have good quality meals without the oven. And washing up by hand, doing very short washing machine cycles, and letting clothes dry naturally – ideally outside – will all dramatically cut down your use of other kitchen appliances.

Why not also reduce your use of digital and entertainment devices and enjoy more of the light summer evenings? See our last article on Five ways to make the most of lighter evenings for some great ideas on this. 

Using portable digital devices less also means that you need to charge them less, which also saves energy and reduces pockets of heat around the home. Also remember to unplug any non-essential electrical items when not in use, otherwise they will continue to drain electricity and generate heat.


  • Be wise about windows

Windows are a major way of heat getting into your home, so it’s worth making a plan to manage this as best you can. 

The first thing to be aware of is the general rule that if it is warmer outside than in you should keep the windows closed, otherwise hot air will come into your home and that heat will then linger. This means keeping windows closed during the hottest parts of the day, which can seem counterintuitive but give it a try. 

As soon as it begins to get cooler outside, get your windows open to let the cool air in. Once they are open, do all you can to get a good flow of air going through the home by opening different combinations of windows to enable a through draft to dispel hot air. 

A similar logic applies to curtains and blinds. If you have thick dark curtains or blackout blinds keep them open during the day to avoid latent heat becoming trapped in the room. But if you have lighter curtains or blinds, closing them during the day can help to reflect the sun’s rays back out of the room. You may also want to try putting reflective material on the outside of the window to bounce back the heat and keep the room cool.


  • What about air conditioning units and fans? 

If the weather is really hot, is it worth trying either a portable air conditioning unit or a fan? 

A good quality portable air conditioner can cool any room quickly and evenly. But they can be heavy and unwieldy, some are noisy, and of course you will be using energy in the process. Many people would argue that the days when they are really needed are so rare that it is not really worth it. Yet others swear by them and would not be without one during the summer months. So, if you really feel the heat and need a dramatic solution to help, it could be worth a look.

Perhaps a more realistic option for most people is an electric fan. But even here, opinion is divided as to whether fans really make a difference: many people insist that all they do is blow hot air around the room. And again, they can be noisy, generate heat whilst operating, and consume energy. A couple of tips for effective use of fans is to either place the fan by an open window, so that it draws in the cooler air from outdoors, or placing a bowl of ice in front of your fan to cool the air as it blows around. 


  • Prepare your bedding

One final tip is to make sure that you are using the best kind of bedding for the heat. If you are still using the same duvet as you did in winter it may well be too heavy, so look for something lightweight that is more suitable for the hot summer nights.

You can also add an extra chill by slightly dampening your sheets before bedtime. And some people recommend placing an ice pack underneath their pillow for an additional cooling effect. 


We hope that the above ideas give you advice and inspiration about ways to maintain your cool this summer. 

Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from direct lender Munzee Loans.