Coping at Home During a Maltese Summer
Winter is far behind us and the heat of summer is around the corner. For those of you who are new to our beautiful Mediterranean island, or for those of you who arrived here after last September, you’re about to experience your first Maltese summer. Summer is arguably the best season of them all. Say goodbye to chunky wool sweaters and puffy winter jackets, and say hello to the sun! Summer is the season of swimming, sun-tanning, barbecuing and beaching! You’ll see your friends more and you’ll better be able to enjoy all that Malta has to offer. Here, during the summer, we have 13-14 hours of sunlight a day, on average, and temperatures are generally in the early thirties. What more could you ask for?
While summer in Malta can be beautiful and enjoyable, it can also be rather uncomfortable. Particularly during a heatwave, when temperatures can soar above 40°C! What’s more, hotter temperatures bring other problems, such as mosquitoes! Whether you’re foreign or not, scratching is a common summer symptom, experienced by all. So, if you’re about to encounter a Maltese summer for the first time, you’ll definitely want to keep on reading.
Perhaps at work, or when you’re out, you won’t have much control over your immediate environment. But, at home, there is plenty you can do to keep yourself comfortable, in your Malta property, over the summer. First things first: you’ll want to tackle the heat! If you own your apartment, house or villa, it’s a good idea to save up and install ACs in your home. Depending on the size and layout of your property, you’ll need to buy a certain size of AC or install it in a particular place. The more powerful the AC, the quicker it will cool down your home, but the more expensive it will be. Instead of individual wall units for each room, you could also think about installing built-in AC that can run all throughout your house. If you live in a property, particularly in Valletta, where you can’t have AC compressors on your façade, or have access to a shaft/roof, then a portable AC might be your only option. These are effective but do require you to have an exhaust pipe leading out of a window or balcony door.
If you are looking to rent, make sure the property you’re moving into has AC installed. However, if you’re already renting a place without AC (or you can’t afford to install AC in your own property) then fans are the next best thing. You can pick up a standard fan for anywhere between 20 and 70 euros. They’ll be your best friend! They’ll help cool you off and help keep away mosquitoes, too! Mosquitoes find it hard to fly when the air is moving quickly, so keep a fan blowing on you when you’re at home and when you sleep, and you’ll help keep the bites at bay.
Speaking of mosquitoes, aside from keeping a fan blowing, you can help banish the buggers by doing several other things. One of the most effective ways to stop yourself getting bitten is by keeping the buzzing bothers out of your property altogether. This is best done with fly screens! Whatever sort of property you own, be it a farmhouse, a flat, a townhouse or a villa, fit fly screens on every window and every balcony door! These can be expensive to get tailor-made and to get fitted but they are worth it. If you are renting an apartment that doesn’t have fly screens, ask the owner to install them or put up some temporary ones yourself. You can buy some cheap ones that attach to your aluminium door or window frames with magnets. Other than fly screens, you can burn citronella candles; use plug-ins; spray yourself with repellent or use a trapper. No method is 100% effective but every little helps!
Back to the heat! Besides using air conditioning or fans, you can do several other things to help keep your home cool during the hottest months of the year. For one, it’s a good idea to keep your curtains or shutters closed during the day. This is especially the case where you have any south-facing windows that let in a lot of the sun. This will help keep your rooms cool, instead of baking them into an oven! You might also think about taking up any rugs or carpets that you have on your floors, as walking on tiles or wood/laminate flooring will feel cooler. Keeping a window open on either side of the house will help to create a draft – but make sure you’ve got your fly screens closed! You’ll also want to ditch the duvet. For those of you who are used to sleeping under a quilt, sleeping with just a sheet can take a bit of getting used to. However, if you really want to embrace your new home and go full-on Maltese, you can always keep your duvet on the bed and sleep with the AC on 18°C!
Another way to keep life in your Maltese property even more comfortable is by using a dehumidifier. Malta’s climate is pretty humid and high humidity can make warmer temperatures practically unbearable to stand. In fact, scientists are predicting that several countries in the world will be uninhabitable in less than a hundred years because of rising temperatures paired with high humidity! The higher the humidity level, the hotter it will feel. Even if the temperature outside is bearable, a humidity level of 50% or more will make it feel up to twice as hot! Dehumidifiers, like ACs and custom fly screens, can be pricey but they’re well worth the investment in Malta.
You’ll hear this over and over again throughout the summer, but it’s extremely important to keep hydrated. As the mercury rises, so does the amount you sweat. Be sure to drink enough water and take a bottle with you everywhere you go. The tap water in Malta is perfectly safe to drink, though most people prefer to buy bottled water or install a water cooler in their home. While you’re making sure that you’re keeping yourself hydrated, the same goes for your pets and plants! If you have any plants inside your apartment, or outside on your balcony, don’t forget to water them to keep them alive and healthy. Make sure your household pet always has access to fresh, drinking water, too. If you have a pet that doesn’t do very well in the heat, such as an English bulldog or a pug, remember to leave the AC on for them whilst you’re out of the house.
Although following these tips will help you feel more comfortable at home, sometimes (obviously) you’ll want to get out of the house! There are so many beautiful beaches and stunning swimming spots in Malta. Going for a dip is the perfect way to cool down after a long, hot day. If you own or rent a property in the south of Malta, there are some lovely beaches and idyllic spots you can visit for a swim, such as: Pretty Bay and St. Peter’s Pool. If you’re living in central Malta, in Sliema or St. Julian’s, you could go for a dip near Exiles or at St. George’s Bay. Otherwise, the majority of Malta’s best beaches are in the north. The most popular beaches include: Golden Bay, Mellieha Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha and Paradise Bay. If you want to make the most of these, then think about buying or renting an apartment in somewhere like Mellieha, Qawra or St. Paul’s Bay.
Our teams at Zanzi Homes and at QuickLets are specialists in the Maltese property market. We can help you find the perfect place to rent or buy, at the perfect price. On the other hand, if you’re an owner, we can aid you in selling or renting out your Malta property. Pick up the phone and call us or pop into one of our many branches across Malta and Gozo – we’re waiting to hear from you!