We all like the summer sun – but too much sun inside your home is a nuisance. Maybe you don’t sit or work in certain rooms at certain times of day. Maybe your furniture, floors or drapes are getting bleached out. Maybe you can’t watch TV in west-facing rooms until the sun’s gone down. Maybe you start sweating opening your energy bill – and not because it’s a warm day.
Over time, a high “solar load” (as it’s called) can damage your home and even your eyes. Here’s what can make the difference: windows and window treatments designed to minimize summer’s heat and glare. And there are lots of choices available.
Options For Beating The Heat
Outdoors, let’s start with the “organic” solution. Our grandparents answered hot weather by planting trees – nature’s air conditioner – around their homes, and you can, too. A large deciduous tree on the east, west or northwest corner of your house can cut energy bills by hundreds of dollars a year. Plus, trees tend to add to the value of your property.
If you don’t want to wait that long, though, another option is awnings. These old stand-bys have been upgraded in recent years to offer new styles and materials that can match any home. Some products are retractable, so you can roll them out on sunny days and roll them back when it’s cloudy.
Indoors, window blinds offer huge flexibility, and there’s a product for every room in your home. To use them as a decorative element, look for blinds that attach outside the window frame; you’ll be able to pick from a very wide range of colors and materials, including metal, wood, and fabric. If you want blinds that “disappear,” though, look for integrated shades, or shades that are literally built into the window by sandwiching them between layers of glass. Pella makes these in motorized and manually operated versions. The benefit? You get the functionality of shades without adding window treatments to your rooms, plus the shades are forever protected from dirt and damage. (Especially useful if you’re trying to reduce allergens in your home.)
Then, consider the window glass itself. Special heat-reflecting, low-E (or “low emissivity”) glass creates windows that reflect the sun’s heat-producing rays in summer but help retain warmth in winter. These windows are typically double-glazed units containing two panes of glass with an inert gas trapped between them to increase insulation. Then, the inner layer of glass is treated with a super-thin metal-based coating that blocks ultraviolet and infrared radiation from the sun, yet lets in “visible” light. Once winter returns, that same coating will reflect warmth from your heat sources back into the room to help keep your home comfortable and energy costs down.
A final option is window film. There are lots of products in this category, including special heat-control and glare-control films that adhere directly to your existing windows. Some are an easy-to-install, DIY weekend project where you can buy materials at a big-box store. Other products are more technical; you’re probably wise to call in an expert rather than applying these films yourself. In either case, window films are generally easy to maintain and easy to clean. Be advised, though, that you may need to re-do them every year.
Let’s Enjoy Summer, Indoors Or Out
There’s no reason why you can’t have your home as comfortable as you want it, year-round. At McCann Windows & Exteriors, we’re happy to help you create the home that’s just right for the life you lead in every season. Please give us a call with any questions about restoring, repairing, or replacing your windows and home exterior. We’re ready to serve you, and estimates are free. Just call (847) 892-4071, or schedule a consultation here.