Save Money on Heating and Cooling Costs with the Right Window Treatments

October 6, 2008

Programmable thermostats were the topic of the first energy saving question I had for the experts at the Home Depot.  The next question I asked has to do with a “dispute” I have with my wife.  We have curtains across a big sliding glass door in the back of the house and I’m always closing them to keep the sun out in the summer.  She’s always opening them back up to make it seem lighter in the house, so I thought I’d get an experts opion.

I know closing the curtains and blinds during the day helps to keep the sun out and can reduce the amount your air conditioner has to run. I try to keep them closed to save on energy costs but my wife likes to keep them open since the sunlight brightens up the house. How much of a difference does this really make? How much money can you save by keeping out the sun?

Closed or open? Well, it depends.

During the summer, keeping window coverings closed during the day and open at night can help you stay cool and cut down on your utility bill. Also remember that draperies will actually keep your house cooler than blinds because their pleats and folds lose heat through convection. Another thought to consider is that you can beat the heat without hindering your view by installing heat control window film. We offer Gila Titanium Heat Control Film exclusively at The Home Depot.

During winter months, think about taking advantage of the sun’s heat by keeping your window coverings open during sunny days (especially windows facing south and west); but don’t forget to close them at night! See, you and your wife can both be happy.

Beyond all of this, look into using thermal shades and draperies for home comfort and energy efficiency. Energy efficient window treatments can block up to 62 percent of heat transfer through window panes – so they’re great to use even if you have efficient double or triple pane windows.

The energy efficiency of window treatments is measured in R values. Cellular (R value of 3) and solar shades are best for energy efficiency. The Home Depot also offers thermal lined draperies.

The Home Depot recommends the Hampton Bay® Cellular Shades. Exclusive to The Home Depot, The Hampton Bay Cellular Shades come in a variety of vibrant, color-saturated fabrics. Specialty options, including motorization and cordless blinds shades are available, and the Hampton Bay Cellular Shades are backed with a limited lifetime guarantee. (Price starting at $57 for Pembrooke 3/8″ Single Cell, SKU: 862-744).

You didn’t bring this up, but hopefully your windows are also energy efficient. Energy Star® qualified windows can help reduce energy costs by up to 15 percent.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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