Cooling a country house in summer

We are fortunate that our house has thick walls, and is built onto rock with its back nestled into the hillside. This makes it naturally cool in summer and means we rarely use the air-conditioning units fitted throughout the house. But in the +40° C heat we are currently experiencing, we have a ‘summer heat’ routine which we follow religiously. It took us one summer to hit on the routine, in that first summer we were over-heated and we learned the hard way. So, we became more Spanish and less northern European. Yes, we sunbathe, but we like to keep the house cool and we sit outside in the shade. pool house curtain 7-8-13This is our ‘summer heat’ routine:

Know when and where the sun rises and sets. This sounds obvious but you need to close the shutters and the windows BEFORE the sun hits the glass;

After the sun has set, open all windows wide and, if you can, leave them open all night so cool air flows throughout the house;

Hot air is just as much an enemy as direct sunshine;

During the heat of the day, keep all doors shut. The inside of the house will be dark, but it will be COOL;

Tiled floors are cooling, rugs are not;

Set aside seating on a shady terrace, under a pergola or a convenient tree; view from the terrace sofa 25-8-13Drink water, lots of it. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate, fizzy drinks do not count. Water, fruit juice and tea do count. As cooling as beer seems, it is not the best choice;

Eat salads: fruit and vegetables are full of fruit and help to keep you hydrated;

If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Keep a large glass of water on the go all day, and keep drinking;

Wear a sunhat, and loose cotton clothing; sunhats 25-8-13Swim, this is a double win-win. Exercise + cool water;

Use your aircon unit sparingly, beware they gobble electricity!

Eat gazpacho, like the Spanish do. There is always a huge vat of the stuff in Pablo’s kitchen in the summer, it is very cooling.

5 to remember
las paredes – the walls [of a house/building]
afortunado/a – fortunate
la rutina – the routine
tengo sed – I am thirsty
el mosquitero – the fly screen [at a window]

4 thoughts on “Cooling a country house in summer

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