"5 TIPS THAT COULD SAVE MONEY ON YOUR HEATING AND COOLING BILLS"
by Komee Carpenter
You know what they say about staying warm when you're outside in the winter, and cool in the summer. Layering your clothes gives you air space, which improves temperature insulation. Believe it or not, wearing a light shirt that breaths, will keep you cooler, than no shirt at all!
The same holds true for your window treatments. Layering is good, not just for looks, but for temperature control in your home. You'll feel more comfortable inside, and you can save money too!
Some inexpensive mini blinds on your window, with draperies over them are great for winter and summer insulation, as well as light control. Mini blinds by themselves only offer up to 40 percent heat reduction, but add some draperies over the top and you can increase that significantly. The down side to all that, is you have no view outside and you've darkened your room.
But for those of us who live in the south, we are used to the routine. You get up in the morning and close the blinds on the east side of the house and open them on the west, and follow the sun around and close them on the west side in the late afternoon. It's just a fact of life. The fact that we can save money isn't even an issue here. It's all about comfort in the heat of summer! If you are gone all day, it really makes no difference. You can leave them all closed. It's amazing the difference in the indoor temperatures.
- The best thing you can do to save money on your A/C, is prevent the sun from hitting the glass on the outside in the first place. Solar heat gain can be reduced by as much at 80 percent if the window is totally shaded, with air circulation between the glass and the item which shades it.
- The best option is a large shade tree, but who has the time to wait for one to grow? Some alternatives would be closeable shutters (light colors to reflect the sun) if it's on the ground floor where you can get to them, or canvas awnings or constructed overhangs that allow shading in the summer and let the solar radiation come in when the sun is lower in the winter months.
- One more easy tip that cuts solar radiation up to 60 percent is a solar screen. These are usually just tightly woven screens to keep the bugs out, and come in black, reflective metal or colored plastic and metal.
- The top 3 interior treatments for heat reduction are insulated Roman Shades with aluminized backing (up to 90 percent), pleated fabric shade with aluminized backing (up to 60 percent) and verticals with vinyl slats (up to 60 percent). Mini blinds come in at a lousy 20-40 percent depending on whether they are fully closed or partially opened, but could still save money, especially when combined with draperies.
- One fairly inexpensive way to save money by shading your windows from the inside or outside
is to use bamboo or matchstick shades or the plastic alternatives. The nice thing is they can
just be hung from cup hooks, and are easily removed and stored over the winter. They are easy
to roll up and down and allow some air circulation to prevent heat buildup.
CAUTION! The best approach is to combine some form of exterior shading with some interior insulation because if you do too good of a job on the inside, you might trap too much heat between your treatment and the hot glass. This could allow temperatures to reach extremes, which first of all could rot your window treatments, and it's been known to have the seal break on insulated windows when there's too much heat build up. Check your window manufacturers guidelines. It does no good to save money, if you have to turn around and spend it on new windows.