Five tips for keeping cool while the weather is hot

With the summer now in full swing, you may feel that temperatures inside your home are as high as those outside. Overheating can be associated with health risks, particularly for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, so it is crucial to keep your home cool, ventilated and healthy.

NHBC, the leading standard-setting body and warranty provider of new homes, offers the following five tips to keep you and your home cool during spells of outdoor high temperatures:

  • Keep curtains drawn during the day – direct sunlight through windows and glazed doors can create a greenhouse effect in your home. External shading to diffuse direct sunlight with a strategically-placed awning or gazebo may also help to keep rooms cooler.
  • Where possible, cross-ventilation of fresh air is the best way to keep internal temperatures low. Make sure that windows are open on opposite sides of your home to assist the circulation of air throughout all rooms.
  • A fan on a low setting can keep a light breeze blowing across rooms, especially if it is placed on the windowsill to draw in and circulate external fresh air.
  • Avoid adding to internal temperatures by turning off unnecessary appliances and not using the standby function. Where possible, keep the use of laundry and cooking appliances to early mornings and late evenings when it is cooler.
  • Keep your body temperature low while indoors by wearing light clothing in breathable fabrics such as linen and cotton. Sipping water frequently and the use of a water mist spray or cool wet cloth on the skin can help to make you feel more comfortable.

Through NHBC’s research arm, the NHBC Foundation, guidance has been published for house builders to help them design and build new homes in a way that keeps them energy efficient but reduces the potential for overheating.

Neil Smith, Head of Research and Innovation, NHBC, said:

“When the temperature indoors increases sharply, we are often unaware of the dangers or the precautions we should be taking. Occupants should consider the best way to reduce indoor temperatures and watch out for signs of overheating in themselves, family and friends.

“The potential health issues associated with too much time in the sun often get the most headlines, but indoor overheating can also be a concern. The effects of exposure to heat can be mild, but symptoms have the potential to develop quickly if left untreated – so it is very important that everyone takes the necessary precautions to keep cool.”

For more information and to download a handy checklist, please visit www.nhbc.co.uk/homeowners/guidanceandadvice.

The NHBC Foundation research is available to view and download at www.nhbcfoundation.org/understandingoverheating