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How to keep your house cool during hot weather

Melanie Whitehouse / 19 July 2016 ( 21 June 2017 )

Keep your house cool during the hottest days of summer with our quick tricks for your home.

Desk fan
Keep your home cool during a heatwave with these tips

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.

Saga have partnered with Rated People to help connect you with over 50,000 trusted tradespeople across the country. Find out more.


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 for a selection.

Air conditioning

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 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 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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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.