How to keep your home cool

Advice and tips for cooling your house down during periods of hot weather and heatwaves

When temperatures rise during a heatwave or prolonged periods of hot weather, it's important your home is somewhere you can cool yourself down and have a restful night sleep. 

Most buildings in the UK aren't designed for very warm summers and aren't equipped with cooling devices like air-conditioning. If you're finding it hard to keep your home cool follow our tips that are easy to apply and cost-effective.

window with curtains slightly open and a plant in a vase on the ledge

Tips to keep your home cool

Keep warm air out during the day and ventilate at night

Opening a window doesn't always mean you're cooling your home. In fact, if the air outside is warmer you could risk making it worse. During the hottest parts of the day, it's best to close windows to keep the warmer air out. Check the forecast to gauge when temperatures are starting to rise.

Wait until the cooler times of the day to open windows. When they are open, you can creating a breeze in your home by opening different windows to help air to circulate.

Close curtains and blinds

Even with the windows closed, sun shining through the glass can warm your home up quickly. Make sure to cover windows during the day to protect from direct sunlight like blinds, curtains, or external shutters. If you don’t have anything to block out the sun, hanging a bed sheet or towel should have a similar effect.

Avoid generating more heat

You don't want to generate any further heat so make sure your central heating is turned off. You can also turn off and unplug appliances and electronics when they're not in use, as well as avoid having too many lights on.

You should also consider cooking at cooler times of the day, or choose meals that don't require the use of an oven or hob that create additional heat. 

Use fans effectively

Electric fans can help ventilate , but only if the temperature is below 35 degrees otherwise you risk spreading warm air around your home. Ceiling fans can quickly cool a room if you have one in place because they push cooler air, down. You can also place portable fans to improve airflow. 

Create a cool room

It can be hard to keep an entire home cool, so aim to create a specific area by choosing one or two rooms like a bedroom, or sitting room, to keep cool instead. Keep windows covered and shut and close doors to stop warm air entering.

Try to avoid, or spend as little time in as possible, rooms that will be hard to keep cool like a kitchen where heat is generated by appliances and cooking devices, or rooms with large, windows where the sun is shining.

Find a cool space

If you are struggling to keep cool in your home, public spaces like libraries, shopping centres and supermarkets may be cooler. You can also check with your local authority as they may have identified cool spaces where you can go. Only do this if it is safe for you to do so. 


Seek medical help if needed

If you have concerns about an uncomfortably hot home that is affecting your health or someone else’s health, seek medical advice. If it’s an emergency, call 999.


Help to stay cool and safe

It's important to manage your health during a heatwave when dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are more likely to occur. Follow our advice for staying cool and safe: 


Vulnerable groups

Certain groups are more vulnerable to the impacts of heat and lack of sleep than others. 

Learn more about which groups of people are most vulnerable in a heatwave and find advice for how to help. 

Elderly woman is supported by a British Red Cross volunteer

Help and support during a heatwave

If you need help to prepare for a heatwave our support line volunteers can provide (where possible) free and confidential support and signposting to local services. 

Call 0808 196 3651 between 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 8pm on Wednesdays.

A British Red Cross coronavirus support line volunteer talks on the phone while looking at a laptop and writing on a pad of paper.