If you’re like many smart homeowners, you try to make improvements in your home that are meant to reduce energy expendituresĀ and lower your monthly utility costs. One of the most effective ways you can do this is by upgrading your windows. Window treatments and coverings can be used to reduce the amount of summer heat that gets into your home, and can help prevent warmed indoor air from escaping in the winter. Installing window treatments is also less expensive than purchasing energy-efficient windows, and there can be more to them than just usefulness. They also can add visual appeal to your home. Learn about the different kinds of window treatments and coverings so you can start saving more energy.Summer Savings 5

Different Window Treatments And Coverings

Window treatments and coverings can be stylish while helping to significantly reduce energy loss. Following are some of the different options that can make your windows more energy efficient, and lower your monthly utility costs:

Overhangs

If properly installed and positioned, overhangs can lower solar heat gain in the summer while still allowing sunlight in during the winter. However, they are most effective over south-facing windows, and typically must be installed during a home’s construction.

Awnings

An awning can reduce heat gain up to 77 percent on windows facing the west and up to 65 percent on windows facing the south. Be sure to choose one that is made from tightly woven, opaque fabric. If you get a retractable awning, you can roll it up in the winter to allow sunlight to warm your home. Most awnings made today last much longer than they did in the past because they’re treated to prevent fading and mildew growth and are also water resistant.

High-Reflective Films

High-reflective films are best used in areas where warm weather lasts longer and winters are short, since they also will prevent the sun from warming your home in the winter.

Mesh Window Screens

Mesh screens are installed on a window’s exterior, covering the whole window. They hinder summer heat gain by diffusing solar radiation, and are especially useful on windows facing the east or west.

Storm Panels

Storm panels can be used over the inside or outside of a window, and are capable of reducing winter heat loss by up to 50 percent. They are usually removable and are taken out before the start of the cooling season.

Blinds Window Treatments and Coverings

Blinds are more effective at cutting down on summer heat gain than they are at preserving heated air in the winter. Vertical or horizontal blinds can be found in both exterior or interior versions.

Interior window blinds: When they are completely closed, interior blinds that are very reflective can reduce solar heat gain by up to 45 percent. Another advantage they possess is that they can be easily raised or opened to let in sunlight or to allow ventilation.

Exterior window blinds: Blinds installed over the outside of your window also can be used to block sunlight, but aren’t as versatile as interior ones. Typically, they come in roll-up form, and completely close when lowered. To let in some light and air they must at least be partially raised.

Insulated Panels

Insulated panels usually have an R-value between 3.8 and 7. They are pushed or clipped into place on the interior side of a window, forming a tight seal that helps prevents heat transfer.

Shades

When installed correctly and as close to the window as possible, shades are very good at conserving energy. Dual shades that have one highly reflective side and one heat-absorbing side can be reversed during the change of seasons.

Shutters

Interior or exterior shutters can be used to prevent heat loss or gain. Well-designed exterior shutters are often the most effective, and having open space on either side of a window isn’t a problem, as it may be with interior shutters. However, interior shutters may be easier to install.

Curtains

There are many types of curtains available that are made from different fabrics with different weaves, so generalizing their effectiveness isn’t really possible. But heat gain can be lowered up to 33 percent with draperies that are medium-colored and have white, plastic backings. During the winter, most curtains can lock in up to 10 percent of your heated air by closing them at night and opening ones that receive sunlight during the day.

For more information on the different window treatments and coverings available for your Winnetka or Glencoe area home, please contact us at Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning.

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