Each year, as the warmer weather rolls around, the master bedroom of our home becomes extremely hot, even with windows open.
I have started to open the loft hatch in our three-bedroom house, the logic being that the hot air has somewhere to escape – but I don’t know if it is really helping. Is it a good idea?
Can you suggest any other ways to cool down the room by a few degrees – do fans really help, for example? Any tips greatly appreciated for a more comfortable night sleep! D.B, via e-mail.
It can be difficult to cool down a home in the hot weather but would opening a loft hatch work?
Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: While we Britons must treasure the small window of warm weather that comes our way each year, many complain about a struggle to sleep because their bedroom is too stuffy.
Sticky heat can be hard to combat, especially if opening windows and using a fan is not doing the trick.
Opening a loft hatch is definitely a novel approach to staying cooler but this is something that might not be effective for households as each home differs.
If it doesn’t work, there are numerous other options you could try including buying a fan, installing air conditioning or even turning off all the lights in the house.
Victoria Arrington, a spokesperson for Energy Helpline replies: Using the loft hatch could have some impact, but it depends on many factors, from how and where your home and roof are insulated, to the type of roof you have – tile will retain heat differently than wood shingles for instance.
If you have a loft window, opening it up will let out warm air, and that will likely produce a cooling effect – especially if you open some additional windows in your home to keep the air flowing.
There are many other useful ways to lower the temperature of your home in the summer months.
This includes keeping your curtains or blinds closed even though your windows are open. You may also want to consider blackout curtains for an enhanced result.
Fans can indeed provide relief from the heat. Some models are certainly stronger than others, so if you are really suffering in the heat, you may want to get a high velocity floor fan, which can really pack power.
For a more permanent solution, ceiling fans can be installed, which can be very effective. Both types of fans can be run for quite a bit less money that aircon – about an 80 per cent savings.
Air: Can opening a loft hatch in the home help to cool down the whole property in summer?
But if you do want the ultimate cooling effect, aircon may be the most effective way to go. Most UK homes don’t have it built in, so you may opt to get a portable unit.
You also should take care to avoid heat-generating appliances when it is too warm – for instance, try to keep your oven, hob, and dryer shut off during the warmest hours of the day. Instead, you could choose to use the microwave for warm food, and to line dry your laundry.
Finally, for some long term cooling, consider planting some shady trees near your windows. You may also want to look into installing insulation and/or double glazing – and be sure to check if government grants are available to help with the costs. You can learn more about eligibility here.
A spokesperson for the Green Age replies: Summer tends to be the time of year when our energy bills drop right down, but some of the things we do at this time of year are still costing us a lot of energy and money.
To keep your home cool, insulation is the best investment you can make. Insulation doesn’t just keep the heat from escaping when it’s cold outside, but it also keeps the hot air out in the summer.
Your external walls absorb a lot of warmth and radiant heat from the sun, but good insulation prevents that from dissipating into your home.
Opening the loft hatch might seem like a quick fix to your hot master bedroom, but is only really an option if your loft is insulated between the rafters.
If your loft is insulated at joist level, then you may find that opening the hatch only causes the even hotter trapped air to circulate.
A better idea than opening the loft hatch is to open windows strategically to create a through-draft. Ideally this means opening a lower window from the cooler side of the house and an upper window from the hotter side.
If you still feel like you need a fan to boost the breeze, place it by the lower window at the cooler side of the house to allow it to push the colder air in and through. This will maximise it’s effect and allow you get the best results.
Ryan Fulthorpe, home insurance expert at GoCompare, replies: If you want an undisturbed night in the heat, try opting for breathable pure cotton sheets, purchasing a summer weight duvet and giving your bedding a very light misting of water to keep things cool.
You could also try having a go at your own air conditioning system by setting up a shallow pan full of ice in front of a fan. The breeze from the fan will create a cool mist as it picks up cold particles from the ice.
If you’re still struggling, sleep on the floor, or even head downstairs if you live in a multi storey house, to escape the rising heat.
Light bulbs will also give off heat, so take advantage of the light evenings and make the most of the natural light around you to keep the temperature down.
Gadgets and other small electronics give off heat even when turned off, so look to reduce the total heat given off by keeping things unplugged when they’re not in use.