It’s that time of the year again and the heat is seeping into our living spaces with infernal persistence. But there is no reason why you should be forced to run your air conditioner nonstop just to beat the heat. Sure, ceiling fans and A/C units are fantastic, but they do tend to drive up your electricity bill. Fortunately, there are energy-efficient alternatives that will keep your home cool and allow you to affordably be comfortable this summer season.
Window Treatments That Keep the Heat Out
There are a wide variety of window treatments and window coverings that can greatly cut down on the amount of heat that enters your home. According to Energy Saver, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) consumer resource, heat gain through windows accounts for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.
Finding affordable ways to shade sun-struck windows is key to reducing your utility bill and making the interior of your home more livable during the summer months. Let’s go down a list of some affordable ways to help save you from the sweltering sunlight and save you money at the same time.
- Curtains & Drapes – Curtains and drapes aren’t just useless window decor, they are excellent for blocking out the sun’s rays and offering your home some relief from the heat. Research shows that light-colored curtains can reduce the heat inside the home by 33%. Conversely, curtains can help insulate your home in the winter as well. Drapes should be hung from ceiling to floor and as close to the window panes as possible to maximize effectiveness.
- Blinds – If curtains aren’t really aesthetically pleasing to you, blinds are a very effective way to ward off the summer sun and allow light to enter the home on cooler days. The Department of Energy (DOE) asserts that when high-reflection blinds remain closed during the hottest times of the day, it can cut down the heat by as much as 45%. Blinds come in a variety of styles, materials, and colors. Also, they are fairly easy to install and can be a very affordable alternative to curtains or drapes.
- Exterior Shutters – Exterior shutters can be coupled with window coverings to provide the interior of your home optimal protection from the sun’s glare. They also provide a lot of versatility since they are highly adjustable, as well as offering lots of privacy. Another perk of exterior shutters is they can double as storm shutters when inclement weather sweeps through. When shopping for shutters, make sure they are designed for exterior use and can hold up under heat, wind, rain and winter weather.
- Energy Efficient Windows – While this solution is on the pricier side, this may be the wisest investment over time. Not only do energy-efficient windows save you a boatload of money over the years, but they also add value to your home. If your existing windows need to be replaced, consider installing energy-efficient windows that boast the Energy-Star rating. Unlike single-pane windows, double-pane and triple-pane windows can greatly reduce the amount of heat that comes into the home and act as an insulator during the winter months so heat can’t escape.
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