How to Prepare Your Home for Summer Heat
Check out these updates that will ensure your property is ready for hotter days
So why not take some time to assess your home, and carry out updates and fixes to ensure you’re as prepared as possible for when temperatures hot up again? As part of our Sustainable Renovation Planning guide, here are a few updates you can do now to help keep your home cool in the next heatwave.
Starting your renovation? Read How to Renovate Sustainably
If you’re lucky enough to have sash windows, you already have an early form of air conditioning at your fingertips. When the windows are opened at both the top and bottom, they provide quick and effective ventilation thanks to a convection flow of air. Cool air enters the room through the bottom of the window and warm air is then pushed out of the opening at the top.
If you have sash windows that have seen better days, now’s the time to get them fixed to make sure they’re working properly and can be correctly used to maximise airflow when temperatures rise. Or, if you’ve been considering having sash windows installed, it’s worth booking an appointment to talk to an expert now.
Find sash window professionals in your area on Houzz.
While we might be more used to thinking of heavy thermal blinds and curtains as a way to cosy up a room in winter, they can also effectively keep the same room cool in the summer. Making sure they’re tightly closed during a heatwave can help to lower internal room temperatures.
Look for curtains or blinds that block out both light and UV rays. Also ensure they’re larger than the window opening, so they completely screen the glazing and no light can seep in around the edges. Find an interior designer today to help you upgrade yours.
If you have roof windows in your home or extension, you might have struggled to keep temperatures down on hot days. With the sun directly overhead for several hours a day, rooms with skylights can get uncomfortably hot, even if you keep all other doors and windows closed and curtained.
To counteract this, look into getting shades or UV filters fitted to any roof windows now to ensure you’re prepared for this summer. There are several options available, from solar film to fitted blinds.
For the most effective solution, anti-heat blinds or shutters can also be fitted to the outside of roof windows. These stop the sun’s rays from reaching the window panel, significantly reducing the heat that enters the room. You can combine these with internal blinds for maximum effect.
More: How to Choose Window Treatments to Keep Your Home Cool
If you have south-facing glazing, you could consider ‘passive shading’ to help cut some of the glare and heat when temperatures rise. This comes in various forms, including projecting eaves, an overhang above the window, a fabric canopy, or a slatted brise-soleil.
Adding in planting, as shown on the exterior of this extension by Charles Barclay Architects, will also boost the cooling effect. Talk to a designer today to get ideas for your own home.
As well as focusing on the heat entering your home from the outside, it’s worth looking at all the things inside that produce heat, too. In periods of hot weather, try reducing your use of electronic devices and appliances indoors.
Inefficient lightbulbs, for example, can produce a surprising amount of heat. If you still have any incandescent or halogen bulbs, now’s the time to switch to LEDs, which get nowhere near as hot.
Kitchen appliances such as fridges and freezers also emit heat, particularly when they aren’t being used efficiently. Undertake some regular maintenance on yours over the winter months, cleaning out air vents and defrosting to keep them running as efficiently as possible. If you need to upgrade an appliance, choose one with the highest energy-efficiency rating.
Now is also a good time to get into the habit of taking devices off standby when they’re not in use to reduce both energy consumption and heat.
East- and west-facing rooms are harder to passively shade, but a deciduous tree should provide some shade in summer then let through daylight in winter.
“In the summer, the sun rises very early and, in east-facing rooms, it’ll be beating right in until around midday – meaning a full six or seven hours of it,” Sam Cooper of E2 Architecture + Interiors says. “With west-facing spaces, you’ll get the same, but in the afternoon. In this instance, growing a deciduous tree can be a good idea if possible.”
This is a longer-term measure, of course, but the sooner you plant your tree, the sooner you can feel the benefit of its shade.
Creating a green screen on exterior walls and around windows and doors can help to shade your interior and cool the walls of your home, making indoor temperatures a bit more comfortable.
Thinking about your garden in this way marks a shift from just considering the aesthetics to using plants to help protect and defend your home against the effects of climate change. A layer of greenery can also have the reverse effect in winter, keeping your walls warm and providing natural insulation when temperatures drop.
Some believe houseplants can also help to cool the air inside your home through transpiration, so introducing a few pot plants could also help to keep indoor spaces more comfortable.
Feeling inspired? Talk to a garden designer for more ideas on how to add a leafy layer of shade to your walls.
Have you tried any of these ideas in your own home? Share your thoughts in the Comments.