I am trying everything I can to keep my house cool this summer.
Someone recommended I keep the curtains in my home closed throughout the day as this will stop the light, and therefore, heat getting in.
However, I am a bit worried that shutting the curtains will stop any air getting in at all and make my home hotter. Is it worth it or not?
Heat: Will closing the curtains keep a home cool – or will it actually make it warmer instead?
Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: Britain is expected to feel record-breaking heat this week with temperatures potentially soaring up to 38 degrees.
Britons typically aren’t used to dealing with this sort of weather and many of us will be worrying about what we can do to keep ourselves, and our homes, cool in the blazing sunshine.
While owning a good quality fan is an obvious solution to combat rising temperatures, this will use up a fair amount of energy.
Auto-switching service, Migrate, saying that electric fan usage adds £1.6million a day to UK energy bills when used for eight hours a day.
Keeping windows open all day is also tempting, to let as much air circulate as possible.
However, you should always consider safety and security when doing so – leaving ground floor windows wide open all day, for example, is definitely not recommended.
It has long been suggested that keeping the curtains closed during hot days will keep your home cooler and prevent extra warmth getting in.
But there are also those that say keeping them closed prevents fresh air circulating in the home which will therefore keep it a hotter temperature.
There isn’t a fast and hard rule for this, it would seem, as it has been suggested that if you have pale curtains, you are safer to keep them shut as this will help keep the heat out – but if you have dark curtains, you will be blocking in the heat if you keep them closed.
Cooling down: Many people in the UK are trying to keep cool in this week’s summer heatwave
Victoria Arrington, spokesman for Energy Helpline, replies: Keeping your windows shaded is indeed an excellent way to keep your home a bit cooler, especially during the intense temperatures of the current heatwave.
With the majority of drapes and blinds, air should still be able to circulate in the home, even with the windows closed.
In general, the more opaque the curtains or blinds are, the better the cooling result will be. There are even specialty ‘solar’ curtains that have been designed for this very purpose.
However, for the ultimate effect, when you are home, you could keep your drapes or blinds closed, and your windows open at the same time – these two combined should hopefully bring some relief during these ultra-warm days.
If you are able to, you could also add a fan to the mix to could cool yourself even further.
The most powerful tool out there is air con – however, it’s not such a great winner when it comes to energy efficiency. It tends to use approximately 80 per cent more energy than a fan.
Ryan Fulthorpe from GoCompare, replies: It’s really going to depend on the type of curtains or blinds you have, as well as the actual build of your house, so there really isn’t a definitive answer.
For instance, choosing lighter curtains, voile or blinds in a lighter colour could help to reflect the sun’s rays out of the room, so it’s worth keeping these closed.
If you have dark fabric curtains then it’s probably best to keep them open, as dark colours will draw in the heat and could leave the room even warmer.
Even better, just like the reflective screens which go on the windshield of your car, putting something reflective on the outside of the glass or using window film can keep the overall temperature of the room down, by bouncing sun rays away.
South facing windows could particularly benefit from this.
More generally speaking, if your house is well insulated, even if the walls absorb a lot of heat it will be blocked from entering your home with good insulation.
Grace Gausden, This is Money, adds: Although air conditioning would be the best solution, this isn’t always an option as it can be pricey and unnecessary for most of the year.
Window films, however, are a much cheaper alternative.
The thin laminate, mirrored films can be installed to the interior or exterior of glass in homes and buildings and are used for a number of things.
Some people have tinted films fitted to their windows so people cannot see in, for example, whilst others have them to filter UV rays to stop fixtures and fittings from fading.
One of the main uses, however, is for heat and glare reduction which can cut excess heat in the home by 80 per cent.
It would still be worth trying to keep your curtains closed for one day when you are not at work to see if your house feels cooler when you return home – investing in a cheap room thermometer should give you a rough answer.
If this works, great, but if you are finding the heat really unbearable, it could be worth investing in solar curtains that keeps the sun’s rays out in the summer but also reflects heat back into room in winter.