Consumer expert Jasmine Birtles shows us her top tried and tested ways to spend very little, yet stay cool.
It is fair to say us Brits are not used to any extremes in weather. Therefore news that a heatwave is coming back withhigh-pressure system known as the ‘Bermuda High’ approaching towards the end of the week, weather experts have warned of temperatures as high as 41C by 17 July. Not the news we wanted to hear. in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
Fans and AC are notoriously pricey to use. Some bladed fans cost aprox 20p per day according to Energy Saving Trust. This is a cost we currently just don’t need. Therefore consumer expert Jasmine Birtles to the rescue. After many hours research and with help from her expat editor (Used to Madrid’s 42 degree heat). She has come up with the best, proven ways, to stay cool this summer. Some as litter as £10 for the whole summer.
Check your Fan Costings
Birtles says that to start you need to check what your fan is costing to run, because some are significantly cheaper than others. “ The ok part is that fans are surprisingly energy-efficient, especially when compared to an electric air-conditioning unit. That however, does not mean they are affordable to many.”
According to Appliance Analyst, to work out the cost of running your fan, you need to understand how much you pay per unit of energy (1kw). This should be listed on your energy bill. According to the Energy Saving Trust “the national average price (as of November 2021) per pence/kWh of electricity is 20.33p. We have rounded it to 20p for illustration purposes”.
“Multiply the cost of a unit of energy by the kW output of your fan and that will be how much it is costing to run your fan.
Also pick a fan with a DC motor. For example, the Bionaire ISF004 Desk Fan has “a DC motor that uses 63% less energy than a traditional fan. Copper motors can also help reduce energy loss by generating less heat”.
Also all bladeless fans consume far less energy than their bladed counterpart. This is because their motor doesn’t have to manage the movement of large blades.
If fans are still too much of an expense we suggest this cooling mat. It is only £6.79 at the moment and such a game changer. Seriously. Much like with our beloved four legged pals, cooling mats are an absolute saviour according to MoneyMagpie’s Vicky Parry “ My dog goes from panting to not panting within seconds of wearing one. Therefore, one awfully muggy night, when I felt like my feet were made of molten lava, I grabbed his mat and put my feet on it. I was asleep within ten minutes. Since then I swear by this method. Although it doesn’t create a breeze, it brings your temperature right down. I wear it round my neck, sit on it, or on my back and feel noticeably cooler”.
Again according to Parry “In my twenties I lived in Madrid. There was no AC in mine or my friend’s flats, so we were left getting quite creative in 40 degree, very dry heat. I then noticed that on the Metro, Spanish people genuinely do use those handheld fans seen in every picture of Spain since the seventies. As a kid, my mum had always told me that fanning myself actually increases heat as I am physically exerting.
So, why in this insane heat, were people, who were used to such things, fanning themselves?
Truth is, the method is all in the wrist, use very small flicks and don’t use your whole arm. Guess what: it works! Korean people also have a tradition of handheld fans. Both Spain and Korea live in extreme heat, so there is clearly something in this tradition for it to survive so long.”
Stay Cool Downstairs
Another trick I learned in my time in Madrid sounds daft, but it honestly got me through one of the most uncomfortable summers of my life: it was to keep your nether regions cool. I wondered why so many modern flats still had bidets and was told that we retain a huge amount of body heat in our downstairs region. Therefore if we keep it cool there, it makes us feel cooler all over.
With this in mind, I invested in a postpartum cooling pad. I am not postpartum or recovering from surgery. However, there is a gel pad that you keep in the fridge or freezer that you then put in your pants. It is an absolute game changer.
Lean into the Heat
This sounds absolutely counter-intuitive, and possibly the last thing you fancy on a scorching day, but it honestly can be the difference between sleeping and not sleeping: have a warm bath before bed, As opposed to the cool showers and baths I see consistently recommended, run yourself a hotter bath. Make sure you have water as you don’t want to faint. But by immersing yourself in water that is hotter than out of the bath, when you get out you will feel cool. The effect won’t last for that long, so it is worth doing right before you try and sleep. The same can be said for hot tea and spicy food: both favoured in India, China and other hot countries, they suggest that heat actually cools you.
Let the Night Air in.
This is all well and good if you don’t have hayfever – and if you do I suggest you simply skip to the next stage – but leaving all your windows open at night and doors open to circulate allows the house’s core temperature to drop. Leaving your windows open at night is a great way to ensure fresh air, but also poses the biggest consideration, which is the safety and security of your home. If you leave your windows open, please be mindful of this.
Also if your lights are on and your curtains open, beware of moths and other beasties sneaking in.
This is in no way cheap but there are special bursaries and ways of updating your insulation. This applies in both the cold and hot weather, sadly. If your home has good insulation, the indoor temperature should be manageable, regardless of what is happening outside. MoneyMagpie have done a guide to cost effective insulation here.