12 genius ways to keep a house cool – including a clever fan hack

Top tips on how to beat the heat.

While we all look forward to warmer days and nights, the reality of coping with increasing temperatures can leave you feeling frazzled. Suddenly, you feel sluggish and unable to complete daytime tasks. And as for getting a good night’s sleep, well, good luck! 

So if a sudden heatwave (like the one we’re suddenly getting in September) sees you struggling to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, we can help. Read our handy tips to keep your house cool so you can stay chilled and enjoy the summer.  

Bedroom setting with a double bed and mattressCredit: English Blinds
There are plenty of ways to keep your house cool in the summer

1. Close your curtains and blinds

Block out the sunlight

A quick and easy solution to keep the heat out of your home is to block out the sunlight. Drawing your curtains and closing your blinds will prevent the sun from warming up your rooms. Keeping a conservatory cool in the summer is a particular challenge, but there are thermal window coverings available, all designed with insulating  layers to keep the heat out in summer and inside during winter. 

Blinds by Post, English Blinds and Hillarys all offer thermal versions that will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter.

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Shut that door!

Besides keeping your curtains and blinds closed, shutting your doors and windows during the peak of the heat will also prevent your house from filling with hot air and overheating. But let the fresh air back in once the sun has stopped shining.  

2. Create a cross breeze

Get savvy with your windows

There are plenty of ways to keep our homes cool without spending a penny. How we open and close our windows is one tip that costs only a few seconds of time but can make a big impact on keeping cool.

“Choose which windows you open and when carefully,” says Greig Millar, OVO’s energy expert. “Opening windows on opposite walls or at opposite ends of the house will create a cross-breeze and allow airflow to move through the house,” he suggests. “Better still, if you open windows at night and then close them through the day, you’ll trap the cooler air in to let it circulate without escaping.  

Millar also recommends pointing a fan at an open window to push the hot air back outside. Try one of our best desk fans to do the job. Our top-rated fan is currently reduced at John Lewis:

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3. Change your lightbulbs

Make the switch

Millar also recommends swapping your light bulbs to help turn down the heat: “Traditional light bulbs give out most of their energy as heat,” he explains, “and in an already hot room, additional heat is the last thing you need. Switching your bulb to an LED alternative will cool your room and use less energy. 

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Woman changing a ceiling bulb to a LED lightbulbCredit: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov
Turn down the heat and switch to LED light bulbs

The three rules for a cooler house

When keeping your house cool, there are three key things to remember, advises Millar: “Only let cold air in, keep hot air out, and limit solar gain – the heat that’s generated through sunlight hitting windows.”  

4. Reduce heat from appliances

Swap to alternative methods

Stoves, televisions, dishwashers, hairdryers and even fridges and freezers generate heat that adds to the temperature of your home. Although we’re not suggesting you turn your freezer off – ice cream on a hot day is always a welcome treat – some appliances can be used more carefully.  

Make sure you turn off your lights if you’re not in a room and swap them to LED light bulbs where you can. Consider reducing the amount you use your oven or avoid using it during the hottest part of the day. And if you use a hairdryer, can you go au naturel and rely on the day’s heat to dry your locks? 

Woman with towel wrapped around wet hairCredit: Shutterstock/Aleksey Boyko
Towel drying your hair can reduce the heat produced by a hairdryer

5. Invest in a cooling mattress

Beat the heat while you sleep

We all know the knock-on effects of a restless night’s sleep can leave you feeling fractious and tetchy until your head next hits the pillow again. Investing in a mattress designed to balance temperature can help you achieve a better night’s rest when it’s hot.   

“For sleepers who typically run hot in bed, or for couples who find regulating the temperature at nighttime difficult, finding a mattress that offers cooling benefits and is breathable can help,” says Victoria Cedena, brand specialist at mattress specialist, Zinus.  

“A hybrid spring mattress offers all the advantages of a memory foam one, with multiple foam layers and cloud-like comfort, while the springs offer a cooler sleeping environment thanks to the breathability of the innerspring core,” she explains. “By choosing a hybrid mattress, you’re gaining the best of both technologies, making for a restful night’s sleep whatever the weather.” 

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Bedroom setting with a double bed and mattressCredit: Zinus
Finding a breathable mattress can help you stay cool and get a good night’s sleep

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6. Keep it cool underfoot

Opt for wooden flooring

Thick, deep-pile carpet may seem the perfect way to keep toes cosy in the winter, but it won’t help to keep your home cool in the summer. “The right flooring plays a big part in maintaining the ideal temperature in your home,” says Natalie Mudd, creative director at The Wood Flooring Co. 

During summer months, carpeted floors can increase the temperature in the home as they are known for absorbing heat,” she says. “However, wooden floors remain cool, providing a much more comfortable environment.” 

Wooden floors also have the added benefit of retaining heat during the winter, helping you save on heating costs.  

Tiles are another option, especially slate or granite, which are cool to the touch. Ceramic and porcelain tiles also keep their cool unless they are exposed to the sun, so may not be the best choice if you’re looking to keep a conservatory cool. 

Living room featuring a single chair and wood flooringCredit: The Wood Flooring Company
Wood flooring keeps cool in the heat

7. Keep your interior colours light

Create a calming vibe with paler colours

Sweltering in the heat? Reach for the paint brush (or dial up a decorator) and paint the walls white.

Light-reflecting colours avoid heat absorption, meaning your house will be easier to keep cool if you decorate with whites, creams and greys. Opting for white will naturally brighten a dark space,” says Helen Shaw, director of international marketing at paint specialists, Benjamin Moore, “making even the smallest rooms feel spacious and airy.  

“Alongside this airy feeling, a light-hued wall paint such as white, beige or pastel will absorb less heat, creating a cooler and calmer feeling,” she adds. 

Homes Editor In Chief Amy Cutmore has a go-to white paint – Sail White by Crown. “It has a cool tone, so it works well with greys, blues and greens,” she says. “I’m not particularly fond of whites that have a warmer, yellow base, as they don’t look as fresh over time.”

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A cool, neutral colour palette will create an airy living space.Credit: Benjamin Moore
A cool, neutral colour palette will create an airy living space.

8. Invest in breathable fabrics

Keep the heat at bay

Relaxed linens and breathable cotton are the best fabric choices for any upholstered furniture in the home in the warmer months, according to advice on Sofa.com. Switching to fabrics formed from 100% natural material throughout your home will help keep the heat at bay. 

Living room setting with a sofa and footstool in white, cool fabricsCredit: Sofa.com

9. Create shade with an awning

Stop the sun’s glare

Apart from transforming an outdoor space by creating a comfortable shaded area to sit in, an awning can also help cool your interior by blocking the sun’s rays from entering your home. Daniel Hatfield, brand manager at Luxaflex, says this has an environmental benefit: “Awnings can ease the strain on using cooling products, such as air conditioning systems and fans, therefore helping to lower energy costs. 

“Our research shows that without any window covering, 61% of solar heat is transmitted into the interior, whereas when an awning is fitted, as little as 10% of solar heat is transferred into the home,” explains Hatfield.  

An additional benefit to external shading products is they also offer protection against harmful UV rays, helping to prevent furniture, carpets and blinds from fading. 

Tip 
Awnings are not just for patios and can be used to shade balconies and windows. 

Outside awning over decking and outside furnitureCredit: Luxaflex
An awning can stop the sun’s heat from entering and warming your home

10. Insulate your home

Keep the heat out in the summer

Although it may seem odd to add insulation to keep your house cool, experts say it makes a difference. “Good levels of insulation throughout your home, as well as draught-proofing and installing energy efficient windows, will help to keep it a comfortable temperature whether it is warm or cold outside,” says Joanna O’Loan, knowledge manager at the Energy Saving Trust.   

“Insulation reduces the amount of heat travelling either way through your walls,” she explains, “keeping more heat inside in the winter and outside in the warmer months.” 

11. Use an electric fan

But use it wisely

Electric fans can help to cool your home and give you that instant relief. However, they can use a lot of energy and don’t actually cool the air. Instead, they increase the velocity in airflow which makes the air feel cooler. 

Millar explains the best way to use a fan: “Since heat rises, the coolest air in your house will be at floor level, so set your fan on the ground floor and point it upwards. Position it to point outwards towards the opposite wall, with no large objects in the way. This will bounce the cooler air back into the room to cool the overall temperature.” 

White electric room fan on a side tableCredit: Duux
Electric fans can give you instant relief from the heat

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Tip  Chloe King, brand manager at Duux, shares her top tip on keeping extra cool with a fan:  

Put a bowl of ice or a frozen water bottle in front of a fan. It will create a cooling breeze, but this will only work if you position yourself directly in the path of the airflow.”

12. Invest in air conditioning

Be portable and keep cool

For a quick cool down, a portable air conditioning unit could be the answer, but use it wisely. The increase in energy prices means you could face a costly bill to keep cool. You’ll also have to factor in the upfront price, which can be anything from £400 to £1,000.  

The advantage of a portable unit over a built-in system is a lower initial cost, no installation charge and the freedom to move it around your home. For a built-in system you could expect to pay from £1,750 to install air conditioning in a small room, according to Checkatrade. However, portable units do need an outlet pipe to disperse the air outside. 

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Camilla Sharman

Written by Camilla Sharman she/her

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With her 30 years of experience, Camilla Sharman has covered a wide range of sectors within the business and consumer industries both as a feature, content, and freelance writer.  As a business journalist, Camilla has researched articles for many different sectors from the jewellery industry to finance and tech, charities, and the arts. Whatever she’s covered, she enjoys delving deep and learning the ins and out of different topics, then conveying her research within engaging content that informs the reader.