Shut the Window on High Utility Cost!
With the increasing cost of energy this summer, chances are good that you will be looking for ways to reduce energy costs. The good news is that turning up the thermostat and sweating it out is not the only means that you have to keep your money from going out the window.
During the spring and summer, windows frame a picture perfect world filled with brilliantly blooming flowers and trees, children riding bikes and dogs running in the yard. Unfortunately, windows can also increase utility bills. However, taking a few steps to improve the efficiency of your home’s windows can make all the difference between spending money on high utility bills or taking a well-deserved family vacation.
Everyone knows that there’s money to be saved by replacing old, drafty windows with new energy efficient ones. However, window replacement, typically a professional job, may be more than your pocket book will allow for at the moment. In the meantime, with a few simple steps and a trip to the local hardware store or home center, even a novice do-it-yourselfer can find it easy to reduce utility bills and increase home comfort.
Weather stripping is an obvious easy and inexpensive way to reduce drafts around windows. It can be applied to the window sash to decrease the amount of airflow leaking through the frame. Peel and stick or nail on material is easy to install and can pay big dividends in energy savings. Keep in mind that even weather stripping has limitations. It works great on windows that open, but won’t help improve the energy efficiency of fixed frame windows.
Closing blinds and curtains to block sunlight will reduce the amount of UV rays and heat that enters a home. Unfortunately, heat can still build up between windows and window coverings and radiate throughout a home. Plus, covered windows destroy your view and can make an otherwise cheery room feel dark and closed in.
Planting shrubs and trees around a home can help provide shade for a home as well as increase the privacy and beauty of a home. One or more strategically placed shade trees can significantly lower the temperature in your home, thus increasing personal comfort and lowering cooling costs. When choosing a tree, consider the height and shape that it will attain at maturity. In addition to meeting your specific landscaping needs, doing so will also help you determine the number of trees to plant and how far to plant them from your house for the best shading. Keep in mind that it may take several years to enjoy the full effect of this option while waiting for shrubbery and trees to mature.
Window film is an easy way to quickly reduce utility costs. It can be installed on single pane windows or as an upgrade to dual pane, insulated windows.
Window film consists of a micro thin layer of polyester film with a metallized coating specially designed to reflect up to 70 percent the summer’s heat. Window film industry studies demonstrate that window film can save a homeowner an average of 47% off their current annual cooling costs based upon the type of windows in their home and geographic location. The savings are based on the ability of the film to reduce summer heat gain on windows, which average 40% of a homeowner’s monthly utility bill. Unlike days gone by, most of today’s window films are virtually invisible, which allows for an unobstructed view.
To further underscore the benefits of this technology as a means of saving energy, industry technical experts recently conducted a scientific study utilizing the Lawrence
Berkeley National Labs RESFEN 3.1 model and found that U.S. homeowners could reduce summer energy consumption and save an average of $99 on their cooling costs by applying window film. The study used a representative sample home and held several other variables constant for each of the 12 markets analyzed. According to the study, the effectiveness of window film in reducing utility bills and energy consumption varies according to market and climate. Some cities like Atlanta could see an $87 overall reduction in cooling costs while a Phoenix homeowner could save as much as $260. Other markets with notable savings include Dallas with $127 savings, New York with $86 savings, Kansas City with $93 savings and Miami with $159 savings.
Although window film can be installed professionally, leading manufacturers are producing do-it-yourself-friendly installation kits that contain pre-cut material along with all of the tools necessary for a successful installation. Installation time for an average size window is about 30 minutes and costs less than $30.00 or about $.80 a square foot.
There are other benefits to window film that are worth noting. In addition to blocking summer heat, window films provide up to 99% UV rejection to help reduce fading year-round. If your window coverings, flooring or furniture are showing signs of fading, window film may help be the answer.
We’ve had window film on the windows of our homes for over fifteen years and can attest to its benefits. But then we’re in good company since these same films are currently used to protect our U.S. Constitution and the Vatican Crown.
For more home improvement tips and information visit our website at www.onthehouse.com or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.