Stay cool – buying a property that won’t overheat

Rachel Johnston of Stacks Property Search says, “Most British houses aren’t designed for high summer temperatures – we’re more focused on how to keep properties warm! But a house that’s difficult to keep cool in a heatwave can be a miserable thing, so there are warning signs to look out for when buying, and things homeowners can do to improve the situation.

  • Ironically, period properties with thick walls and single-glazed windows (that let in the draughts in the winter!) are often blissfully cool during a heatwave.
  • “Conversely, modern houses with lots of glass, all of it double glazed, can create a greenhouse effect, letting the heat in, but not allowing it to escape. There are ways of treating glass to keep the heat out.
  • “Old-fashioned conservatories can be unbearable in the summer with their large quantities of the wrong kind of glass. They’ll need plenty of blinds which slightly defeats the point. Much better are garden rooms that use less glass, and with plenty of opening windows.
  • “There’s a growing inclination to introduce bi-fold doors into kitchen/living spaces. The prospect of being able to open up an entire wall is very seductive. But beware rooms that are window-free – it’s not always practical to open a door to let in the cool, so the bi-fold phenomenon can completely defeat the object.
  • “Low ceilings and small rooms can quickly become hot and stuffy. Look for good ergonomics – larger rooms with windows on more than one side and space that allows air to circulate. Accessible outside space on more than one side of the house allows the creation of a good draught to keep things cool. And plenty of green planting and shade outside shields your home from the sun’s heat.
  • “Beware large windows that don’t actually open or only have a small proportion of opening panes.
  • “A well-insulated loft keeps the property cooler in summer, as do stone floors, and thatch which tends to provide shade above the windows.
  • “Beware loft conversions that don’t have dormers – the heat of the sun pours in through roof lights, but they create minimal air flow.
  • “If you’re stuck with a property that heats up like a furnace in a heatwave, there are improvements you can make. Invest in attractive and efficient electric ceiling fans or air conditioning units; if you have an Aga, make sure you have an alternative cooking arrangement so you can turn the Aga off come the warmer months; most simple, but utterly critical, keep the curtains closed during the day, and open at night – black out blinds drawn during the day prevent the bedrooms heating up so you can enjoy a cool room when both you and the sun go to bed.”

Stacks Property Search & Acquisition, 01594 842880 / www.stacks.co.uk 

  • Ends – 
    • For more information, jpgs and interviews, contact Amanda MacCaw, 01386 700068 / 07977 238175 / amanda@wildmaccaw.co.uk

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