The right blinds, curtains or shades could save you money on cooling bills
Saving money on cooling your home doesn’t always take larger investments on high-dollar, such as upgrading your air conditioner, replacing windows installing insulation. For many homeowners, a smaller investment will do the trick, such as energy-saving curtains and blinds.
Why cover your windows with better attachments? It’s a heat issue. About 76% of sunlight that hits a standard double-pane window goes through and becomes heat inside the home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The solution is adding window treatments, which the department says will result in saved energy. How much savings depends on what type of treatment, the season and how the attachment is used.
So, let’s look at how blinds, curtains shades and a few other window treatments can help. By putting up better window coverings, you could put a dent in home cooling costs this summer. But you need to know what to look for to make sure you are installing the correct blinds or curtains.
Why your windows need curtains, shades, blinds or other attachments
Any type of window treatment can be helpful in reducing solar heat gain in the summer. No matter the unique characteristics of your house, window treatments very likely will help with energy efficiency.
Window treatments that can be moved, opened and closed are even better, as they allow for a mix between allowing for natural light to get in and keeping too much heat out. They can also be closed for privacy when desired.
Attachments like curtains, shades, blinds and others that can be moved are great no matter the time of year. In the summer, they can let in enough natural light but keep rooms cooler. In winter months, they can be opened as much as possible to capture both light and heat from the sun.
Start with window shades
Window shades are perhaps one of the best first steps in covering windows for better energy efficiency. To work, they should be mounted close to the glass inside the window frame. Certain varieties, such as Roman shades, have multiple layers that provide more insulation.
If you have an older home, or any home that is not airtight, then heat can very easily escape from old windows. In this case, simply adding drapes can lower heat loss from windows by about a third. Heavier, thicker, lined or thermal resistance drapery over windows can reduce heat loss by about half. Window quilts are one heavier option for maximizing efficiency, as they fit close to the trim.
However, if you want to spend a little more, you may even want to look into insulated cellular shades, which are made with pleated materials so that they are foldable. Insulated shades offer significant energy savings, privacy and even increased home resale value, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). They can actually reduce solar heat gained via windows by as much as 80%.
Curtains should be added for additional sunlight protection
Consumer Reports notes that DOE guidance states that some studies have indicated medium-colored draperies that have white plastic backings can lower heat gain in a home by about 33 percent.
Curtains should be installed as close to the window as possible, Consumer Reports continues. For even better performance a cornice should be installed at the top of the draperies, the sides should be sealed and they should be overlapped in the middle by tape or velcro.
For any homes, though, sunlight in summer can quickly heat up a room. Curtains can be closed to block the heat. The curtains will be able to keep even more heat out if they have a white liner that can reflect light back outside the home.
How to find the best window blinds
Window blinds, either of the vertical or horizontal slat variety, are helpful in reducing summer heat gain – much more so than they are in retaining heat during the winter.
Want to take a step up in your house’s heat reduction? Invest in reflective blinds that add insulation and shade to windows. In the summer, reflective blinds turn away light and heat, while in the winter, they redirect light and heat back toward the home’s interior.
If you do invest in reflective blinds, then make sure you identify whether they are reversible. Reversible blinds have a reflective side and an absorptive side. You want the reflective side to be facing the heat source, which is either outside during the summer or inside during the winter.
Know when to open and close blinds
Now that you have the information needed to go out and invest in better window coverings, you’ll need to know how best to use them. By having the blinds in your home either opened or closed at the right times, you can block out enough light and heat to help your air conditioner stay ahead of the summer heat.
Let’s start with when to close your home’s blinds. Whenever there is sunlight entering the home, there’s solar heat gain. Closing the blinds when the sun is shining through will lower the amount of solar heat gain in your home. This trick works in the winter, too, only closed blinds at night actually keep heat in that time of year.
When the sun is not shining into a room, then it’s OK to keep the blinds and curtains open and let all that wonderful natural light inside. You can open back up at night, too, during the warm summer months. This will allow some heat to escape from your home.
Choose window attachments best for your home
All of these very simple tips can help lower your summer cooling utility bill. Sometimes, though, you may need a professional to come in and offer a few pointers or look over your home’s cooling system.
If that’s the case, then give Comfortec Heating, Cooling and Plumbing a call toll free at 888-362-2106 or send a message. We have been providing customers with quality service for their home comfort needs for many years. We’ll provide you with that same service.
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