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December 2022
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Keeping it low while the heat is rising

Today is likely to be one of the hottest days in the UK and at 11:28 the temperature in my lounge is around 24.8°C, and that’s with the south facing windows protected by closed curtains.  I know as while the boiler is off, if it’s not burning gas it’s not getting hot, the room thermostats are cheerfully reporting back the temperature and humity.  It’s warm and only going to get hotter this summer.

Our modern houses in the UK are foraciously protected from losing heat, but that can be used to your advantage at the moment.

Fight the urge to open windows during the day.

This may seem insane, but if it’s hotter outside than in, all you will be doing is letting in that hot air.

As you keep your curtains closed (that’s official advice from HM Gov), keep those south facing windows shut too.

Of course, that can feel like you’re sitting in the dark, but if you can, take the opportunity to cover up and take a book under a tree or beside a north facing wall?

Of course, the night is coming later this time of year, but as the temperature drops outside, throw open the shades and let in cooler air.

Keep hydrated.

Water is your friend, though make sure you keep your salt levels up too.  Sweating is how humans keep cool and during the summer, our water requirements can dramatically rise.

Try to siesta or at least not to do anything that can raise your body temperature.  In the summer, in the UK, peak heat is between 1pm and 4pm, this time of year.  If you cannot nap, try sitting down.  Raising your legs and feet can help reduce swelling.

Do not use electric fans if the temperature gets above 37°C in a dry room.  There are a few theories about this but the easiest comparison is the idea of a fan oven, the hot dry air passing over your body can make the situation worse!  If you are in a dry area, wetting your body (having a shower for example) before switching on the fan may help you work around this issue.

Why not just buy an air con unit and keep your cool?

Great idea, but as with the fan, they only work well if properly installed and I’m guessing that isn’t your situation right this minute.

If you do get a unit, ensure the vent is facing north – they work significantly better if you can do that.  If not, consider about when you want to use them.  In a bedroom, venting east when you are using to chill the room before sleep can get similar performance to venting north.

Turn off anything you are not using and I mean at the wall.  Anything with a fan or AC-DC converter will be dumping heat out into your room: now is not the time to watch a movie.

We’re not there yet, but some ideas.

If it’s yellow let it mellow was advice given during Cape Town’s draught a couple of years ago, preventing the waste of water by flushing away urine only toilet visits!

The government in South Africa also advised collectinig water during showers for flushing away solids.  Baths were banned but if you really must, one bath can be enjoyed more than once and the waste water used via buckets for toilet…

Don’t wash loads in the washing machine unless a full load.  Same with the dishwasher.  Can it wait for another few items?

Don’t water your lawn or ornamental beds – if it’s not food, it really should recover when the rains do come.  The car doesn’t need to be ultra shiny, just the external mirrors and the windows for visibility.

All great advice (not), I’m still hot!

Now is not the time to work from home.  Go into your office (many have aircon already in place) or if it’s the weekend, many shops have air con.  Sainsbury’s for example, is your friend.  As is cineworld.  Watching a movie in a windowless, air conditioned room is heaven – hence the summer blockbuster.  It makes your cinema subscription worth its weight in gold.

If you walk to those venues, remember your camelpak or bottle of water to keep cool and you’re hitting two goals at once – exercise and keeping your cool.  Enjoy the dry weather while it lasts.

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