There are cost-effective ways you can boost the efficiency of your home’s air conditioning using decorative window treatments. These can help stop the transfer of heat into your Tampa Bay Area home and keep it cooler. The overall effectiveness of window treatments depends upon the type used and other factors, which we will review in greater detail below.
It is worth noting, if you have air leaks around your windows, window treatments cannot stop or prevent this type of problem. Instead, you will need to have your windows resealed using caulking or weather-stripping to stop and prevent any noticeable air leaks. Even here in Florida, it is a good idea to reseal your windows annually as the hot sun can cause caulk and weather-stripping to crack and peel.
Exterior Windows Treatments
There are a few different types of exterior window treatments you can add to your home to improve the efficiency of your air conditioning. Some of these can also improve the exterior appearance of your home—so you get a two-for-one bonus with these!
- Closeable Shutters: Window shutters on the exterior of the home highlight the window and are a great accessory to give your home more charm. Closeable shutters allow you to pull them shut on windows that get direct sunlight and stop the UV rays and solar heat from transferring through the glass window panes and into the home.
- Windows Screens: Window screens can help diffuse solar heat and UV rays. The mesh of the screen should be made from a high-quality material. To gain this benefit for the full window, select screens that cover the entire window.
- Awnings: Awnings can be added above windows to block out sunlight and serve as a shade. Awnings come in different materials, from canvas and metals to synthetics. There are even awnings that use solar panels for the shade. Not only are you reducing solar heat gain into the home, but you are also generating electricity for your home at the same time!
More traditional awnings can be installed with adjustable arms. These allow you to adjust the angle of the awning, as well as retract the awnings when you don’t want to shade the windows.
- Roof/Window Overhangs: If you are building a new home, consider adding overhangs over windows that will get direct sunlight. Overhangs are easiest and less expensive to add during new home construction. For existing homes, making this type of renovation can be rather costly, so awnings are often a more cost-effective way to add overhangs.
- Storm Panels: This option allows you to stop heat gain by essentially blocking out the light from coming into the home. Storm panels aren’t as attractive as closeable shutters. However, most people already have these for their homes in case of a bad tropical storm or hurricane.
Interior Window Treatments
Inside your home, there are just as many different options from which to choose to help block out the bright sunlight and maintain cooler indoor temperatures. Best of all, you can use more than one of these on your windows to increase the benefits and efficiency of your air conditioning!
- Insulated Cellular Shades : This type of window treatment is normally white on the outward facing side and can be any color you want on the interior side. The white reflects back the bright sunlight and reduces heat gain inside the home. However, the shades must be partially or fully closed so the amount of natural light coming into the room is diminished.
- Curtains and Drapes : If you have curtains or drapes you can fully close and open, these can help keep your home cooler. The amount of benefit they provide largely depends on the type of materials they are made from, along with their color. For instance, for maximum benefit, the backside of drapes and curtains should be white.
- Thermal Window Shades: These are similar to conventional window shades, except they are specifically designed to control the amount of heat transfer into the home. You can find reversible styles that are white on one side and a dark color on the other side.
White should face outward when you want to reduce heat transfer into the home. The dark side is used when you want to increase heat transfer into the home during those brief cold snaps we experience.
- Windows Blinds: The quality of the blinds will determine how effective they are at blocking out heat. Thin, plastic blinds are not as effective as thicker wooden styles. Aside from helping keep out unwanted heat, blinds do allow you to control the amount of sunlight coming into the room.
- Window Films: You can add different types of reflective window films to transform your windows into heat blocking windows. They are ideal for Florida homes since we tend to use our air conditioners almost year round. The thing to remember with films is they will also block out any heat gain during the few, short cooler periods we experience in the Bay Area.
- Insulated Window Panels: These panels clip or snap into the frame of the window. They can be full sized and cover the entire window or half sized and only cover the upper or lower section. They typically consist of a foam core that is covered in some sort of material to make them more attractive.
Just like insulated cellular shades, they will block out all sunlight entering the home. However, they are inexpensive whether you purchase a kit, make your own, or custom order them for each window in your home. The only drawback is you will need somewhere to store the panels when you are not using them.
- Decorative Interior Shutters: You can have decorative, closeable shutters installed inside your home on your windows. This style of shutters can be opened so you have access to the window or be partially or fully closed. Many styles have adjustable louvers you can move to control the amount of light coming into the room while they are closed.
- Quilted Roller Shades: This style of shade has a soft cloth or another type of material on its exterior. There can also be several layers of some form of batting used in its design. The exterior facing side should be white or a light color to reflect sunlight back and help control heat gain into the room. The interior side can be any color you desire to fit with the décor and color scheme in the room.
By lowering the amount of heat transferred into the home, your air conditioning will have to run less often to maintain your desired indoor temperature. Not only will your home be easier to keep cool, but you could also notice a reduction of your electric bills.
Will Window Treatments Block Out the Cold, Too?
Stopping cold air from getting into your Tampa Bay Area home when we have a cold snap is also possible with certain styles of window treatments. Curtains, drapes, shades, insulated panels, and storm panels can all help. However, as mentioned previously, if you have air leaks and your windows need sealing, then these treatments will not be as effective.
Other Ways to Boost the Efficiency of Your Air Conditioning
Choosing the right window treatments is just one cost-efficient method for increasing the efficiency of cooling your home. When it comes to your home cooling system, there are several things you should do to further increase its efficiency, as follows:
- Check your air filter monthly and change it when it is dirty.
- Have your ducts sealed to stop air leaks.
- Schedule annual AC maintenance and tune-ups .
- Have a modern, digital programmable thermostat installed.
- Have a new air conditioner installed in your unit is more than 15 years old.
To have any of the above services performed, or if you have questions about AC maintenance and what services your air conditioner needs, please feel free to contact Air Rescue at (813) 612-5600 today!
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