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Hot and humid weather in the summer can result in oven-like temperatures in your house, lead to sleepless nights and make daytime relaxation difficult. There are some simple steps that you can take that will help to create a much cooler and more comfortable environment in your home, without having to fit expensive and energy-consuming air conditioning systems. Surprisingly, many will also contribute to your home being warmer in winter!
(1) Insulation. If your house is poorly insulated it not only leads to expensive heating bills in winter, but also makes it more difficult to regulate the temperature year-round. It’s worth exploring government schemes that offer some financial support towards the cost of insulating your home, as the terms have changed recently, but there might well still be funds available to help cover the initial outlay. And over a period of time you will find that you make a significant saving on your annual energy bills. Don’t forget to check that your home insurance covers any increase in the value of your house as a result of upgrading the insulation: the flexibility offered by Allianz Your Cover will enable you to make any necessary changes to your policy. (2) Ventilation. Many people assume that opening windows during the hottest part of the day to create a through-draught is a good strategy. In fact it often leads to the interior of the house getting warmer. The trick is to shut windows, close curtains and pull down blinds during the hottest time of the day, and as soon as temperatures fall, create cooler through-draughts by opening them. If it’s safe to do so, open as many windows as possible at night to keep temperatures down. Roof windows are an excellent way to provide safe night-time ventilation, and the calculation is that for optimum night cooling you need to open about 25% of the total window area. During the day it should be no more than 15%. (3) Switch off appliances. The many electrical appliances that we all have in our homes create a surprising level of background heat if they are left on. Make sure that appliances such as fridges and freezers which have to be left on have enough space around them to create a good level of ventilation, and create a house rule that computers and televisions are all turned off when not in use. You are also creating a safer environment by doing so. Leaving lights burning can also contribute to higher temperatures so switching off lights when you leave a room, and making sure that all lights are fitted with low-energy bulbs will help. (4) Plan shading. With summer temperatures predicted to rise in the future, planning internal and external shading will also help keep your home cool. Fitting windows with darker colour lined curtains and blinds is a first step, but take a look at how you might provide external shading as well. If your house is south facing you might want to fit an awning or external shutters to some windows (they’ve been doing this for centuries in southern Europe), and consider planting some trees or climbers to provide shade during the hot summer months. (5) Keep Cooking to a Minimum! Some people might welcome this advice, but following the example of the Aussies, go for cooking outside as much as possible in the summer– there are lots of delicious barbeque recipes around to help inspire you. It’s fun, the family will enjoy it, and cooking and eating outside helps to keep indoor temperatures down. Go for healthy salads and experiment with sushi dishes to avoid using your cooker as much as possible. This Guest post has been brought to you in association with Allianz Your Cover.