The Victorian window hack that will help keep you cool (without ac) during the heatwave

It's a lucky day for sash window owners, as a viral heatwave hack has revealed how to create your very own AC

Victorian window hack for heatwaves - listing image
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When the weather reaches temperatures of over 30°C, many of us are willing to get creative when it comes to ways to beat the heat. So if you're looking to survive the late summer heatwave, this Victorian window trick could be your saviour. 

Dealing with unusual levels of heat in our homes can become extremely uncomfortable. Whether it’s keeping us up through the night or agitating us through our work day, that sticky warm heat is majorly disruptive and quickly becomes unbearable.

So what can we do to tackle it? Well among the various tips and tricks for how to keep cool in the heatwave are some unusual but useful hacks. Managing Director at Core Sash Windows, Sean Mac Anbhaird, has shared his tips on keeping cool and if you have a sash window you're in luck.

Largely used during the Victorian era but also a popular style in many contemporary buildings, sash windows are specifically built to regulate the temperature - if you use them the right way. So if you're looking for ways to cool down a room without AC, it's easier than you might think.

Victorian window hack with sash windows - keep your room cool using a sash window trick

(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to Anbhaird, “Opening both the bottom and top sash equally will separate the airflow and create a similar effect to air conditioning.” 

The University of Cambridge conducted a study on the science of Victorian sash windows and how effective they are at ventilating our homes. They found that when a sash window is opened as explained above, the light cooler air from outside enters through the bottom opening and the heavier warm air floats out of the top of the window. 

Anbhaird does however warn to take care when opening your windows, ensuring that your windows have the full range of movement before you give this hack a go. 

A viral TikTok video demonstrates the uncommon hack, with hundreds of users left shocked that they didn’t know about it before. One user remarked, “Victorians. The cleverest generation ever.” However, despite the ingenious windows and their functionality, over a century of landlords and homeowners may have made this hack a little more difficult to pull off for some. “Mine have been painted shut since 1983” complained one frustrated user. 

Nevertheless, this is a great idea for those of you looking for an easy heatwave trick that'll help keep you cool without costing you a penny!


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Other window hacks to keep you cool

If you find yourself without any sash windows then not to worry! Anbhaird shared number of other window-related cooling hacks and given his recommendations.  

Fix your draughty windows

More often than not we're focused on getting cool air into our homes and tend to forget about making sure it stays inside with us. Even with the best expert fan hacks around, your home won't stay cool for long if all that wonderful cold air is escaping outside. 

Due to the way some windows are fit, there are often hairline gaps between the glass and the frames. Over time, these gaps can widen and cause unwanted draughts. To regulate the temperature in your home, Anbhaird recommends sealing these small gaps. "An effective window sealer such as silicone sealant or a variety of adhesive weather strips can be used to stop air from seeping through the gaps, " he advised. Should you want to try sealing your windows, you can pick up window sealant on Amazon for as little as £5.99/$3.38

It is of course very important to open your windows from time to time, both for ventilation and for mould-prevention.  

Using tin foil to reflect light

This hack is definitely one to be use with caution. A TikTok user has shown her so-called heatwave hack of covering her bedroom windows with sheets of tinfoil - a tip that regularly does the rounds when temperatures heat up. Due to its reflective qualities, tinfoil is great at minimising heat as seen with car insulation window covers. It's also extremely affordable, with prices starting at £3.10/$2.64 on Amazon. 

However, Anbhaird is quick to warn of the dangers of covering your windows in the foil. He says, "Windows can get too hot from light being reflected at the glass, so you run the risk of damaging your windows or even cracking the glass in extreme cases." 

"Aluminium can also intensify brightness, making it a potential fire risk should the light reflect on flammable materials," He continues. "You’re much better off investing in a set of thermal curtains that will not only keep you warm in winter but prevent your home from becoming too hot in summer." 

Victorian window hack for heatwaves - fan in window hack

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Use fans to push hot air outside

At first glance, you may not think there's much you can do with a fan to get the most out of its cooling qualities. However, they're a lot more versatile when used in inventive ways! 

This hack is not as commonly known as others and it uses the laws of physics to create a wind stream which will help cool down your entire home. "This hack relies on air pressure to effectively push hot air outside of open windows while simultaneously pulling in cool air," explains Anbhaird. 

To achieve this, simply set up a fan facing toward an open window. While the fan blows the warm air from inside your home out the window, open any windows that are on the opposite side of your house. If you want to give this a try and finally invest in a great quality fan then it's time to take advantage of some of the best fan deals this summer. 

Emily Smith
Digital lifestyle writer

Emily joined woman&home as a staff writer after finishing her MA in Magazine Journalism from City University in 2023. After writing various health and news content, she now specialises in lifestyle and home writing where she covers all things cleaning, interiors and homeowning.