Fans or air conditioning?
Fans are more efficient in their use of electricity than air conditioning units, but they just move air around and don’t actually cool it. There are lots of models out there, from elegant floor-standing models to tiny desk-tops, but they tend to disappear quickly from DIY stores when the weather gets hot, so nab yours early.
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Top-of-the-range Dyson Cool fans start at around £230 for the 12-inch desk fan but they are both quiet and powerful and some models also purify the air (ideal for allergy sufferers).
Find out how to make your home allergy-friendly
Be cautious when buying cheap models of fans because many of them, including tower fans (which take up less floor space), make too much noise for you to sleep at night.
Check whether the fan oscillates – useful for keeping air moving – and how many speed settings it has. A lower speed is perfect for night-time - you don’t want to wake up with a stiff neck. Some models come with a timer, so you can cool the room before you get home.
Alternatively, opt for a rotating ceiling fan fitted by a qualified electrician. Some models include integral lighting, killing two birds with one stone. Try www.wayfair.co.uk for a selection.
If you can afford the electricity bills and can’t bear another sultry summer, a portable air conditioning unit usually costs upwards of £200 (some double as heaters as well, so are useful all year round). See www.appliancesdirect.co.uk for air conditioners that suit rooms of all sizes.
Find out how to care for dogs in hot weather
Easy ways to keep your home cool
Block the sun
We all know we lose heat through our windows in winter, but we also gain it through our windows in summer, and particularly those that face the south and the west.
Track the sun throughout the day, opening and closing curtains and blinds to prevent the sun coming in as it moves around the house. This can lower the temperature indoors dramatically
Cool a room quickly
You can cool a room quickly by making your own ‘air con’. Take a big bowl – something unbreakable is best, like a washing-up bowl – and fill it with ice or frozen ice packs. Place it in front of a fan, at an angle, so the rotating air flows through the ice and out into your room. You’ll be suitably chilly in no time!
Install an awning
If your house is south-facing, a portable awning on the outside will help to keep the rooms shady. They start at just £64.99 from www.primrose-awnings.co.uk and come in a range of plains and stripes.
Turn lights off
Incandescent lights give off a lot of heat, so turn off lights when not in use. Use the washing machine, dishwasher, hob and oven during the cooler parts of the day.
Have some cold compresses on standby
Make yourself some cold compresses with folded rags dipped in cold water, and chill them in the freezer. When you’re too hot, apply them to pulse points on your wrists and neck.
Create a breeze
Once the sun has moved away, open windows and doors wide and let any breeze there is flow in. Create a cross breeze by placing a fan opposite the window.
How to keep cool at night
Pure cotton sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers breathe with you and will keep you far cooler than synthetic.
Keep a hot water bottle filled with water in the freezer and place it at the foot of the bed before bedtime.
If you can bear the thought of going to bed in damp bedlinen, misting your sheets with cold water is said to keep body temperature down.
Find out more about sleeping well during hot weather
Cool down your garden
Take your inspiration from hot, dry countries like Morocco and include a water feature. Even a small fountain provides a cooling effect.
Find out how to install a water feature
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