1. Lucky enough to have a ceiling fan? Fans are great in mild heat but when they’re going full blast they’re just blowing hot air around. To force them to blow air straight down, set the fan in a counter-clockwise direction (as you look up at it). There’s usually a switch on the motor to change the fan’s direction.
2. It’s a win-win: save electricity and stay cool at the same time. Light bulbs – even environmentally friendly ones – emit heat, so switch them off. The sun shines for longer now anyway.
3. Close off unused rooms to prevent cool air escaping during the hottest parts of the day. Take advantage of the cooler night hours by opening windows and letting air flow naturally through your home.
4. Up to 30% of unwanted heat comes from windows, and using shades and curtains can lower indoor temperatures by up to 20°C. Closing the blinds can prevent your home becoming a virtual greenhouse.
5. Blackout curtains block sunlight, naturally insulating a room. Neutral shades or white curtains with white plastic backings can reduce heat by up to 33%.
6. To prevent an invasion of summer-loving bugs and critters, spray the exterior of your house with a preventative insecticide to create an insect barrier. Protect your home by sealing doors and making sure there are no holes or tears in screen doors. Inside, check under the sink and other warm areas for cockroach nests. Call an exterminator or use bug bombs to prevent an infestation from growing too large.
7. Spruce up your dormant fireplace by decorating it with greenery. A collection of leafy houseplants make a beautiful summertime display.
8. Let nature freshen up your clammy
9. bathroom – place a houseplant next to the window to help filter the air. Good air-cleaning houseplants include snake and spider plants, English ivy, Boston ferns and small-leafed rubber plants, according to Nasa’s two-year study on how to clean the air in space stations with houseplants.
10. If you rely on air conditioning (AC) to cool your home, check that your AC unit is running properly. If you run one daily make sure you wash its filters every month. This will help to keep the electricity bill down.
11. Dig out your hot-water bottle but don’t put the kettle on. Instead fill it with cold water and stick it in the freezer to create a fabulous ice pack.
12. Switch to biodegradable soaps and detergents so you can use grey water to keep your garden in tip-top shape – this is especially helpful in drought-stricken parts of the country. Shower with a bucket, scoop up your bathwater or catch the washing machine overflow that would ordinarily go down the drain.
13. Create your own mini air conditioner. Fill a roasting pan or a box with ice and place it in front of a fan. When the ice melts the breeze from the fan picks up and distributes the cool air coming from the ice’s surface, creating a refreshing mist.