9 ways to keep your home cool in the heat of the summer
As the heat of the Spanish summer sets in, keeping indoor temperatures comfortable becomes a challenge. Not everyone has the luxury of air conditioning — or the budget to run it 24/7 — but there are plenty of other ways to beat the heat. Here are our top nine tips for staying cool at home when it's at its hottest outside.
30% of the heat in your home enters through the windows, so preventing as much of that heat gain as possible is key. Exterior awnings, that can be rolled in or out as the sun moves across the sky to prevent direct sunlight streaming in, are good options. Louvered shutters — typical of traditional homes in Menorca — also protect interiors from direct sun whilst allowing airflow between louvres. Keep blinds and shutters closed during the day, and open them up at night for more of a breeze.
If adding exterior blinds or shutters is not an option, the next best thing is interior roll-down blinds or blackout curtains, which work on the same principle to reduce heat gain.
Tinted windows work well to block out infrared rays, but if your home has regular clear glass windows, heat blocking films — also known as solar films — is a simple retrofit that does the same job. These thin, lightly tinted laminates easily adhere to existing glass without glue and are an effective, low-cost solution when you want to see out without your home heating up. As well as reducing heat gain by up to 85%, they also block the ultraviolet rays that can damage your skin and fade fabrics and soft furnishings.
You can find these products at any homeware store or even a shop that sells interior design products. In case of doubt, get in touch and we'll recommend a specific shop where to find them in Menorca.
It is the humidity, combined with high temperatures, that cause us to feel sticky and sweaty. However, if you can reduce the humidity the indoor temperature immediately feels more comfortable. And that is something you can do, without air-conditioning. Many homeowners in Menorca will have a portable dehumidifier that they use in winter (these can be easily bought and start at a little over 100 euros) but they work just as well in summer too, pulling moisture out of the air, and creating a drier, more comfortable indoor environment.
Fans help circulate air, creating the sense of a breeze and helping to evaporate sweat. But did you know that you can reverse the direction your fan spins, depending on the season? If you set your fan to rotate anti-clockwise, it pushes air down onto you, cooling you that much more in summer. In winter, reverse this so that your fan sucks the cooler air up and pushes the hot air that has risen out to the sides and down the walls.
DIY Air Conditioner
When you need to lower the indoor temperature a few degrees but don’t have an air conditioner you can create your own DIY version. Simply fill a shallow bowl with ice cubes, or freeze a large bottle of water, and place this in front of a portable fan portable that is directed towards you: the air from the fan will blow across the cool air above the ice, for a refreshing home-made breeze.
This might seem like a very basic trick but trust us, it is practical, easy to implement, and very useful.
Plant a tree
If you own your own house and have space, planting a leafy tree outside provides excellent natural insulation as well as being great for the environment.
Rooms, where the roof and windows are shaded throughout the day, will be noticeably cooler than those that are not.
Ideally, choose a deciduous tree so that in winter, when you need it it will lose its leaves and let the sunlight through, but will have full foliage in summer, giving you shade in the hottest months of the year.
It is undoubtedly a long-term solution, but as soon as you get the shade of a tree as a refuge from the sun's rays, you will notice its effectiveness. In addition to serving yourself, you will be helping the planet. Call us if you need any help choosing the type of tree or the area of the house where to plant it.
If you find yourself tossing and turning, unable to sleep on hot nights, try this trick: place your bedsheets in a plastic bag and pop them in the freezer for half an hour before you got to bed. Have a cold shower, then lie down on your fresh, cold sheets and you’ll be out like a light.
Make use of those gel packs that you freeze and apply to injuries or swelling to help combat the heat. Place the cool packs on your forehead, back of the neck, wrists, inner elbows or behind the knees for an instant refresh. Don’t have any ice packs? Make use of a hot water bottle instead: fill it with water and freeze it, then use this as a cool pillow, day and night.
Take any spray bottle, and first of all, clean it carefully to make sure any previous product is completely erased. After that, fill it with water, and keep it in the fridge so it’s always cold.
Then, whenever you need a quick refresh, spray yourself with an ice-cool mist.
Try adding a few slices of cucumber, mint leafs or even some aloe vera to give it an extra-cooling edge.
As you can see, at Portal Menorca, we not only care about finding the ideal home for you in Menorca but we also take care of those little details to help you have the best experience on the island. We hope to have been helpful with these tips to better combat the summer heat in your home.
Do you have some great tips and tricks to add to the list? Let us know!