When the heat of the summer hits, you want to do as much as humanly possible to keep your home cool—hopefully without seeing a spike in your energy bills. You may have air conditioning in your home and fans in individual rooms, but using them can lead to spikes in your electricity usage, translating to higher cooling bills you may not be prepared for.
Don’t make your AC unit work so hard—there are plenty of things you can do around the house to trap the cool air in and keep the heat out. One way to achieve this is through incorporating energy-saving window treatments, from blinds and drapes to curtains and
awnings, into your home’s décor in order to prevent the sun’s UV rays from penetrating your living space. According to Consumer Reports, the Department of Energy says being smart about your window coverings can reduce heat gain by up to 77%, which is nothing to sniff at. Here are a few of the ways window treatments can be used to keep your home cool in the summer.
Curtains and Drapes
It may seem counterintuitive, but keep those curtains and drapes drawn on hot summer days! Nothing warms up your home’s interior like direct sunlight. Did you know the type of fabric your curtains are made of can affect how well they insulate your home? In fact, medium-toned drapes with white plastic backings have been shown to cut heat gain by more than 30%. Make sure the curtains hang as close to the windows as possible. If you can, seal them at the sides and use tape to keep them closed at the middle. This will help seal the hot air out of your home and seal the cool air in.
Shades are a simple way to keep heat out. Again, install them as close to the window as you can so it seals in the cool air. If you have reversible shades, use the white side facing out in summer to reflect heat and put the dark side facing out in winter to attract it. When choosing shades initially, go with the quilted roller shades and thicker Roman shades over sheer materials; the thicker shades are much more insulators.
Blinds are great for adjusting the amount of light you get into your rooms, but those horizontal slats make it easy for cool air to escape—and vice versa—throughout the seasons. Try to use only highly reflective blinds, and keep them completely closed to effectively reduce heat gain by up to 45%. You can also use the controls to diffuse the light against a white ceiling, for instance, to reduce solar glare.
Simple awnings can cut down on solar heat by 65% on windows that face south and a whopping 77% on windows that face west. It’s best to go with light-colored awnings for increased sunlight reflection. Retractable awnings offer a double benefit: when the cold of winter settles in, you can pull them back to allow the natural light in for warming your home.
Incorporating some of these window treatments into your home will allow you to keep the summer heat out of the house, making for affordable natural cooling during the hottest months.