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Top 10 heatwave hacks on a budget

The heatwave entered the UK and our great British summer has begun. But keeping cool can be costly! See these budget friendly solutions, to help you beat the heat.

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heatwave woman fanning herself sweating

In the last week, UK Google searches related to air conditioning installations have increased by 400%. Additionally, popular air conditioning brands such as BOXT, AEG and Black + Decker have seen an increase in AC related searches of up to 700%. However, installing an air conditioning unit is costly - a lower end air conditioner could set you back around £1,250. The more premium systems range in price up to around £2,500.

If your budget won’t stretch to a new AC unit (or your eco-consciousness won’t let you consider one), there are many money and energy saving hacks that can help you to stay fresh this summer.

To help you stay cool and keep costs low this summer,  the personal finance experts at money.co.uk have revealed 10 unique ways to keep you and the house cool on a low budget.

10 heatwave hacks on a budget

1. The freezer is your friend

TikTok’s most popular #heatwavehack is to freeze your hot water bottle. For this hack, you’ll need to grab a hot water bottle, fill it with water and pop it into the freezer. Just before bed, remove and place under the bed covers for perfectly chilled sheets. No hot water bottle, no problem! An alternative is to place your sheets in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer a few minutes before bed.

2. Aloe-lujah

This inexpensive hack is a quick and effective way to keep cool and a great alternative to shop-bought aftersun creams. Simply fill an ice cube tray with aloe vera to make single-use cubes that are instantly soothing on the skin, refreshing and great for sunburn. 

3. Chilled caffeine fix

Tackle the heatwave with a refreshing and budget-friendly chilled caffeine fix. On average a coffee shop iced coffee will cost £2.94, this DIY alternative will make up to 11 coffees at just £0.10 per cup. Freeze espresso shots in an ice cube tray and once frozen, add as many cubes to a cup as you’d like, top with cold milk, add sugar to taste, stir and enjoy!

Another creative way to make the most out of your tea cupboard this summer's to create a spritzing face mist, perfect for refreshing summer skin. Using any herbal tea as a base (green tea, peppermint and chamomile are popular), and adding an essential oil to a reusable spray bottle with some distilled water and you’ll have created a cooling spray you can use all summer long which comes at a fraction of the cost of facial mists.

4. Keeping rooms cool

Ensure you keep your blinds and doors closed in the rooms that you are not using, to avoid strong sunlight during the day, particularly when the sun is at its strongest point. Once the temperature drops in the evening, you should then open the curtains and windows to allow the room to get a good dose of cooler air. This can save cash by avoiding having to use a fan or AC unit to cool a warm room down.

5. Hack a fan

No air-con? No worries! Running an air conditioner will set you back 44p an hour, whereas a standard electric fan will cost just 2p an hour!

You can create an air conditioning effect by using a fan. Position a shallow bowl or pan of ice in front of your fan, to transform it into a cold mist machine. Utilising a fan over an air conditioning will offer huge savings this summer too. To achieve an extra layer of cool, hang a damp towel over the window to invite a cool breeze into the room.

6. Replace lightbulbs 

To keep your house cool and save energy, go green with your lighting. By switching from incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs you can not only lower your energy bill but help keep your house cooler too. This is because CFL or LED bulbs produce less heat than standard bulbs whilst providing the same amount of light, meaning you could save up to £60 a year by switching.

7. Swop bottled for tap to save the planet and your bank balance

Bottled water is costly, not only for the planet but also for your bank balance. Save yourself pounds each day by swapping bottled water for tap water. Fill any spare glass or plastic bottles with tap water and pop them in the fridge to chill.

8. Cooling dinner time

When you gear up the BBQ, there are certain foods you should be cautious of if you want to keep cool. Foods that are high in protein, sugar and fibre, require more effort to digest and therefore generate more body heat. You can opt for citrus rich marinades, which can help to break down protein structure and make grains more digestible. 

Another great tip to keep yourself and the house cool at dinner time is to avoid using the oven, take the cooking outside, stick to salads or dust off the slow cooker to keep the heat at a minimum - saving money on your energy bill too.

9. Housework can wait  

Running your washing machine and tumble dryer during the day will increase the heat inside your home, and running around hoovering will make you hotter too. The chores can wait till the sun goes down, or better yet once the heatwave is over! Opting to use appliances in the evening could also mean you could benefit from off-peak electricity usage and reduce cost. 

10. Sleep low and alone

Snuggling and heat don’t always go hand in hand. If you want to go down a less conventional route, you can always kick your partner out of bed - not that that’s always the best recipe for a relationship. Alternatively, moving your mattress on the floor will give you access to cooler air. It will help prevent you from spending the night in sweats and will help improve your blood flow in the heat.

Ben Gallizzi, energy expert at money.co.uk, said: “With the mercury set to skyrocket and hit 30 degrees Celsius this weekend, the UK is posed for some sizzling temperatures this summer. But rising temperatures doesn’t need to mean rising bills. 

“Whilst blasting the air conditioning might feel like the best action to take, it isn’t that cost-effective or energy efficient. These simple and money saving hacks mean that you can be making smarter choices to help you cool off without seeing spikes in your energy bills.”

While these tips will help to keep you cool and save money this summer, it is always a good idea to compare energy deals, to ensure you are getting the best deal and saving money where possible.

About Ben Gallizzi

View Ben Gallizzi's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.