Every minute of the day and night, home heat and air conditioning escapes through windows via tiny cracks, holes and ill-fitting frames that have become warped and shrunk over time due to contrasting weather conditions. As a result, homeowners must pay energy bills that are higher than they should be, which may cause problems budgeting available cash during winter months.
When you can’t afford to install new windows, implementing particular window treatments will prevent valuable heat or air conditioning from slipping through compromised windows and lower your heating and cooling costs throughout the year. Here are ten affordable ways homeowners can reduce energy costs and save during the coldest and hottest months.
- Made from voile or linen, these transparent curtains efficiently filter hot sunlight yet allow enough illumination to enter a room without needing to turn on a light. Keep the window open to allow breezes in or close the window and enjoy the sunlight while remaining cool without necessarily turning on your air conditioning.
- Plastic Heat-Shrink Sheets for Windows
- Insulation kits are affordable way to save on winter heating bills. Plastic coverings applied to window frames prevent heat from escaping, potentially saving homeowners several hundred dollars in winter energy costs.
- Exterior Window Shutters
- Made of wood, fiberglass, aluminum or vinyl, exterior window shutters not only provide a decorative components to a home but also limit the amount of heat and cold from accessing windows and entering the home.
- Solar or Insulating Shades
- As a complete window covering, solar shades contain special materials that are glare and UV ray/heat resistant. Available in different levels of shading, solar shades prevents hot sunlight from entering a home but allows sufficient amounts of illumination to pass through so that lights do not need be on. During winter months, drawing solar shades at night will keep heat from escaping through windows.
- Reflective Shades
- These shades are white on one side and black on the other side in order to absorb heat (black) and reflect heat (white). The only problem with these shades is that they need to be down all the time to be effective.
- Solar Screens
- These screens shade windows from hot sunlight, preventing UV penetration that can cause your home to be uncomfortably hot. Consistently streaming sunlight will also fade furniture fabric and carpet areas where direct sunlight happens to fall.
- Heavy Drapes
- Colorful, heavy drapes made from fabrics like Damask or Jacquard adds beauty and character to a room as well as provides insulation against cold and heat. Some drapes are equipped with an energy-saving foam backing meant to reduce light and keep rooms cool during hot summer months without the use of air-conditioning.
- Honeycomb Shades
- By providing air pocket shells within the polyester fabric from which these shades are made, honeycomb shades insulate the home in winter and repel strong sunlight in the summer. In addition, honeycomb shades effectively filter the right amount of illumination for maximum energy efficiency.
- Storm Windows / Panels
- Adding one or two storm windows to an existing window may reduce heating and cooling costs by 40 or 50 percent, depending how much energy you were losing prior to instituting storm windows in your home. Storm panels can be either interior or exterior and cost less than double-glazed windows.
- Window awnings hang over the outside of windows and can be lowered and raised to reduce the amount of sunlight streaming through windows. Made with polyvinyl and acrylic laminates, awnings resist mold, fading and mildew.
By implementing window treatments before extreme weather occurs, homeowners can potentially save hundreds of dollars in energy bills every year and avoid a mid-winter or mid-summer financial crunch caused by preventable loss of heat or air conditioning.