Experts share their most effective methods to handle extreme heat at home

If you are finding it difficult to be comfortable at home due to extreme heat, try these tricks to help cool yourself and the house down

bedroom with double bed and large windows
(Image credit: Alice Lane Interiors)

When it gets very hot we understandably do not want to go outside for too long. However, staying at home can be just as overwhelming if you don’t know effective ways to cool yourself or the environment down.

Being overheated at home can be very uncomfortable and frustrating, as you may feel like there is no escaping the rising temperatures and that doing everyday tasks becomes impossible.

So, if you are finding it increasingly hard to keep your home cool or are simply too hot to sleep, we have compiled the best methods and techniques to help you feel more comfortable at home this summer.

Experts share their most effective methods to handle extreme heat at home

Below, experts share their tried and tested tricks to get your body temperature down and cool your home

Coastal living room with pale color palette

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

1. Drink plenty of water

During hot temperatures, it is vital that you drink water even if you're not thirsty so that you stay hydrated.

The hot weather causes us to sweat, so it's important to replace the fluids lost in your body or you can become overheated, which may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

To prevent dehydration, have a water bottle nearby as you go about your day. Drinking one sip every 15 minutes is a great tip to space it out.  

2. Create an air flow

If you live in a two-story house, try to create a wind tunnel by opening a low window on the side of your house where the breeze originates and a high window on the opposite side.

This allows hot air to leave from the upper window and cooler air to be drawn in from the lower window. Replacing old fans you have had for years with one of the best fans on the market will also keep the air moving.

3. Create a temporary sleeping area

‘Consider setting up a temporary sleeping area on the ground floor or basement during a heatwave,’ says Josh Mitchell, HVAC Specialist and Owner of Air Conditioner Lab.

With warm air rising throughout the house, the lower levels will tend to be cooler and therefore can be a more comfortable place to sleep.

Josh Mitchell
Josh Mitchell

Josh is an HVAC expert and the owner of Air Conditioner Lab with years of experience tackling the challenge of home cooling. Josh has explored various innovative methods to cool down living spaces during hot weather.

4. Change your bedding

bedroom with white bedding and white venetian blinds

(Image credit: Sophie Allport)

Changing your bedding is another quick fix you can use to make your sleep more comfortable during hot weather. From bamboo to linen and Tencel, the best cooling sheets will help you to regulate your temperature. We tried the bamboo sheet set from Cozy Earth, which is high quality and made of eco-friendly material. 

Another thing to consider is using an organic buckwheat pillow, available at Amazon,  as they do not retain the same amount of heat as regular pillows do.

5. Optimize your HVAC

During hot temperatures, the last thing you want is for your HVAC unit to break down. 

Set your air conditioner to a comfortable temperature and make sure it is well-maintained. Clean or replace filters regularly to ensure efficient cooling. 

If a heatwave has been forecast, try to schedule an AC maintenance service before it hits to avoid any unexpected issues when you need it most. 

6. Take cool showers

She-shed ideas

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

Taking cold showers to lower your body temperature provides instant relief. 

If you find it difficult to adjust to a cold shower, start with lukewarm water and gradually decrease the temperature as you go, these will make you feel refreshed during the middle of the day and the effects also last for a couple of hours.

7. Keep your interior doors open

Another way to cool down the house and maximize ventilation is to keep your interior doors open.  

The whole house can then benefit from the cool air generated by your AC units this way. 

It also stops any hot air from becoming trapped in one room, and allows the warm air to be distributed evenly throughout the house. 

8. Use window treatments

neutral living room with outside view, stone flooring, grey sofa, wooden chairs, taupe curtains wooden ceiling

(Image credit: Mark Alexander)

Charlotte Granville, a home remodeling specialist at Fixr, says that it is important to utilize our window treatments during high temperatures. 

‘Keep your shades and blinds closed during the hottest parts of the day,’ she says. ‘This will help prevent any additional sunlight from entering your home and heating it up further.'

Charlotte Granville
Charlotte Granville

Charlotte Granville is a Home Remodeling Specialist at Fixr, a website that offers home improvement cost guides and connects homeowners with service professionals. She analyzes and writes about the home improvement sector and interior design trends.

9. Dress appropriately

Wearing light, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable materials such as cotton and linen is key to keeping cool in hot weather.

Opt for lighter shades that reflect sunlight rather than dark colors that absorb the sun's rays. White, blue, and yellow are all good choices. Stay clear from black and navy blue as these hold onto the heat for a long period of time.

10. Use a DIY air conditioner

‘You can make a basic air conditioner system by using a fan and a bucket of ice, says designer and decorator Charlie Victor. ‘Place the bucket in front of the fan, and as the ice melts, the fan will blow cool air into the room.’

This is especially good when you are asleep at night, as you lie horizontal the cool air will be in the right position to waft over you as you sleep. 

Another DIY cooling hack is to freeze a wet washcloth and use it as a cold compress, or fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a refreshing mist.

Charlie Victor
Charlie Victor

Charlie Victor is a go-to source for things including, home improvement, DIY projects, and backyard makeovers. Based in Florida, he has been transforming homes and businesses across the state since 1992.

Will a house get hotter with windows open or closed?

Many people often think that it's always better to open the windows in hot weather, but it's not. Sometimes, the air outside your home can even be warmer than the air inside your home. Opening the windows simply lets cool air escape and hot air enter, resulting in hotter interiors.

During these periods of soaring temperatures, it is important to keep your home and yourself cool. Aside from turning up the air conditioning, there are a number of other techniques you can try that will make you a lot more comfortable.

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.