New Season, New Reason: Refreshing Summer Window Treatments
With rising utility costs, homeowners all want to create a balance between beautiful summertime window treatments and saving energy. To answer the call, window treatment manufacturers have been working hard to create window dressings that not only look lovely, they also block out the summer heat and strong rays of the sun.
Opt for Awnings
Did you know that window awnings could reduce solar heat gain in the summertime on south-facing windows by up to 65 percent and on west-facing windows, up to 77 percent? You can have them installed on just one window, or on the entire side of your house. They are affordable and attractive, and some models are retractable, too. Innovations in hardware make them easier than ever to roll up, too. Awnings are available in a variety of materials, but most manufactured today consist of synthetic fabrics like acrylic or polyvinyl laminates that repel water and resist fading and mildew.
Open Up to Window Blinds
Window blinds, no matter if they are vertical or horizontal slats, work well to reduce summer heat gain. The movable slats provide the opportunity to adjust them in order to control both sunlight and air flow. Blinds come in many attractive styles and materials, and are affordable and long lasting. Blinds are the easiest way to maintain privacy and to filter out light and heat. They offer a level of insulation to windows, and if you add curtains and draperies to them, they are even more effective at blocking out the heat. Modern blinds come in vertical, horizontal and mini-slats and they can open from the top and sides, rather than the bottom, as well.
Draw the Draperies
If you have windows that receive direct sunlight, closing the draperies will reduce heat gain, and if they are medium-colored with a white plastic or acrylic backing, studies show they lower heat gain by 33 percent. Choose drapes with pleats and folds in them, because they dissipate heat via convection. Another way to reduce heat gain with draperies is to hang them as close to your windows as possible, and allow them to fall onto a windowsill or floor. To reduce heat by 25 percent more, install a cornice or valence at the top, or hang draperies flush against the ceiling and then seal them closed at both sides and in the middle.
Window shades are the simplest and most effective window treatments for saving energy if you install them properly. Mount them as close to the window as possible with the sides of the shade held close to the sides of the window or the wall to seal the air space. Lower your shades on sunny windows and raise your shades on shady windows during the daytime. Lighter colors will reflect, rather than absorb the heat of the sun.
There are shades suited for all types of windows, in a myriad of styles and features, including special linings to block out light and heat. Solar shades are a modern option, allowing you to see outside, while filtering out harmful UV rays. Solar shades are a valid year-round option, because they insulate your home from heat in the summer and cold in the winter, saving you money on both heat and air conditioning.
Install Interior Shutters
Modern shutters, either exterior or interior, reduce both heat gain and heat loss in the home. However, interior shutters are the most popular choice, because they are highly attractive, easy to use, flexible and convenient. You can adjust them as the sun moves from one side of your home to the other, and they offer an added level of privacy, too. Combined with other window treatments, such as curtains or draperies, interior shutters are even better for insulating your home.
By using this common sense approach, you can reduce the heat in your home during the summer months significantly. If you are not sure what types of window treatments to use in various areas of your home, consult with a window treatment specialist. They can help you be cool as a cucumber and avoid sweating over your cooling bills until the first frost hits.