Things are warming up! The average number of hours for sunshine in England for May is 190.6 but is a much higher 240.8 for Portsmouth. We are lucky to receive more hours of sunshine than the rest of the UK and although we like to soak this up we may want to keep our homes cool, particularly if working from home during lockdown.
1) Protecting your home from direct sunlight:
Inside the property: windows in direct sunlight with no blinds or curtains will heat the home quickly through solar gain. For windows which receive lots of direct sunlight, particularly any south-facing windows it is worth sourcing some curtain and blinds. Light colours will help reflect the heat for these, whereas dark colours absorb it.
Outside the property: trees with large canopies can shade the parts of the house. Specifically you may want to shade the kitchen area of your home if it’s south-facing. Shutters are not common in the UK but if your property was particularly exposed to weather elements (perhaps at the front) then shutters can protect solar gain and from wind.For UK climate you may want the best of both worlds; to allow low-level sun into the property in the winter but prevent overheating in the summer. ‘Brise soleil’ is a design-solution to allow just that.
2) Insulating the property envelope
The more insulated your home is the more the inside is protected from outdoor temperatures, such as the cold air in the winter months and warmer air in the summer months. Therefore insulating all available aspects is a good idea: loft, floor and walls will help you protect from external conditions. You can also consider draft-proofing round doors and windows. Double-glazing and a UPVC door.
3) Air flow
Sometimes the air outside the property will be much hotter than the air inside in the summer months, especially if your home is well-insulated or shaded like above.
For natural ventilation to work effectively, cross-ventilation is best, i.e air would enter one side and exit another opposed to single-sided ventilation.
If your property is spread across several storeys utilise this; as hot air sinks it cools, so opening any roof windows and a basement or ground floor windows will help this cycle of cooling air. This cools the house from top to bottom.
4) Electrical devices
Lighting: halogen and incandescent bulbs emit more heat than LEDs.
Appliances/electronic devices: turn off unnecessary devices as these can contribute to overheating the property. It is also not good for the devices themselves to overheat.
Fridge: as it gets hotter your fridge has to worker much harder to keep its contents cool. It is worth hoovering the back of the fridge at this time of year if you can access it, as it over gathers dust and makes the fridge have to work harder.
Fans: shading and a cooling air flow are natural and inexpensive ways to cool your home, if using a fan over the summer months this will increase your electricity bill.
Air Conditioning: If you do use air conditioning then check it is running efficiently before running it this summer. It may be worth servicing it if you have not had this done recently.
You may notice fresh foods spoiling quicker in the heat and you may not have enough fridge space for it all. Try finding the coolest spot in your kitchen to keep items, ideally away from any oven or hobs.
By Louise Hyde