Whilst a heatwave with temperatures of 30 degrees might seem appealing when you’re lying on a sun-soaked beach with the occasional dip in the ocean, it does not have quite the same appeal when you’re stuck on the Tube or back in your flat, sans pool. If London does get the imminent heatwave we’ve been promised, then take a look at our handy guide to keeping your home as cool as possible all summer long.
London summer heatwave survival guide
Darkness in the day
It might seem inviting to open the blinds and let the glorious summer sun into your property, however by keeping your curtains and blinds closed during the day, you can dramatically cool down a room by as much as 15 degrees.
You might also think that it’s best to leave the window open all day and night, however this creates warm, stagnant air that cannot properly circulate. Instead, it’s better to keep the windows closed during the day and ‘flush’ out the hot air with the cooler evening air and a fan. To amplify this further, hang a wet sheet or something similar in front of your open window in the evening to instantly cool the air.
Ice, ice baby
It might seem obvious but ice is your best friend in the searing heat and can be utilised in a number of ways:
- Place a large bowl of iced water in front of your fan – as the ice evaporates it’ll create a lovely cool atmosphere in the air around you
- Drink a large glass of iced water before you get into bed or even suck on some ice chips to lower your core body temperature
- A temporary quick fix before bed is to put your bed sheet in the freezer for an hour or two (just make sure that you place it in a ziplock bag, or it’ll take on the smells of your freezer!)
- Pop your hot water bottle into the freezer for a few hours so that come bedtime you have an icy compress for under your pillow or underneath your legs
Hot showers and hot drinks
I know what you’re thinking – ‘are you joking? A hot shower and hot tea in this weather?!’ – but drinking a hot tea (whether it’s peppermint or English breakfast) triggers your body’s main cooling system: sweat.
Residents of countless hot countries including India, Indonesia and Australia are all partial to a hot drink when the mercury rises. As you take a sip of the hot fluid, the thermal sensors on your tongue send a signal to the brain telling it to sweat more. This trick only works if you’re in a room with a fan or a breeze as if the sweat can’t evaporate properly you will remain warm.
Similarly, whilst most people think a cold shower is the most refreshing solution to the heat, a hot shower (around 33 degrees) is the best solution before bed. As the hot water touches your skin, your body sends a signal to make your blood rush to the surface of your skin. This not only helps the heat evaporate, but the decrease in blood flow to your internal organs causes your core body temperature to drop, which not only relaxes you and makes your body feel sleepy, but also cools you down deep within. Ditch the duvet for a sheet and you’ll be off to the land of nod in no time!
All household appliances give off heat – even a phone charging at night. To avoid unnecessary heat:
- Switch off appliances where possible and unplug anything that doesn’t need charging
- Instead of cooking up a big Sunday roast and heating up the kitchen and potentially several other rooms, try limiting your use of the oven and hob. Fire up the outside BBQ or microwave your meals to keep indoor heat to a minimum. Pasta salads and buffet-style food work well, especially when your appetite is compromised
- If you have to use an appliance like a washing machine or dishwasher, try and limit use to the cooler parts of the day such as the late evening or first thing in the morning before work
Have any more tips to keep cool in the summer heat? Let us know here.