Window Coverings Can Cut Utility Costs
With record heat waves rolling in, air conditioners across the country are working overtime. The Department of Energy (DOE) reports that the right window treatments can reduce home heat gain by up to 77%. Outdoor additions like awnings, or indoor curtains and drapes help reduce utility costs and lower inside temperatures.
According to the DOE, window awnings can reduce heat gain by 65% on south-facing windows and up to 77% on west-facing windows. For added benefits, retractable awnings can be rolled up in winter months to let more solar energy in.
Curtains and drapes can also reduce heat gain, depending on the type of fabric. Medium-colored drapes with plastic backing can reduce heat gain by up to 33%. The closer the drapes hang to the window the better. Consider using Velcro or tape to seal drapes against the wall.
Blinds are even more effective at reducing heat gain. Again, the closer the blinds hang to the window the better. Reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by up to 45%. However, blinds will not completely block out heat gain because of their horizontal slats.
If you are using a window air conditioner, avoid placing the unit in a window that gets direct sunlight. Air conditioners located in the line of direct sunlight at the hottest part of the day will have to work harder to cool down the home, increasing the utility costs.
Source: Consumer Reports