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How Energy Efficient Are Solar Screens?


Solar screens are the most effective window treatments that you can apply to your home. They are great for lowering energy bills by stopping the heat transfer through your windows and doors while still maintaining your view. Window film, interior products, or awnings cannot compete with the energy efficiency of solar shade screens. The best product to install is the 90% shade factor solar screens which are and incredibly pet resistant pvc coated polyester material. What color of solar screen should you choose? The darker colors are more efficient and also have the best view. However there are many different colors and you should pick the color you will be most happy with. Remember, the darker the color the better the view.

Which windows or doors on my house should you do? Many companies will tell you for maximum energy efficiency, solar screens should protect all windows and doors. This is a bit of a misleading statement. The recommended order of importance should be as follows. (1) Cover all east and west facing windows, (2) Cover all south windows. (3) It is not recommended to cover the north windows as the amortization on solar screening north windows is a very long time. There are exceptions such as if your north facing windows are receiving a high reflective glare off of other buildings or structures.

Solar screens are easily installed on the outside of almost any window. Never use the frames of existing insect screens. The solar screen mesh is considerably heavier than insect screen and the insect screen frame is just not adequate to hold the heavier materials. Most companies will use the 3/4″ framing or less because it makes their product less expensive and they think they are more competitive. In reality, using these types of materials shortens the life of the product greatly and does not serve the customer well. Always insist on a 1″ frame and the best frame is an extruded aluminum frame as opposed to a roll formed frame. Some of the problems with the insect screen frame are material eventually pulling out of the spline groove, frames sag and bend, when removing the frames to clean the window they can bend easily, holes drilled into these frames fatigue the metal and they bend when removed. Extruded aluminum frames rarely bend or break. In fact, an automobile can run over them and they typically do not crush (not that this is something you want to do) where you can step on a roll formed frame and smash it.

The greatest advantage is that solar screens work whether the windows are open or closed and can be removed in winter to let the sun shine in. It is recommended to keep them in place during the winter because the screen’s fabric has the advantage of reducing wind chill effect across the window’s surface, thereby reducing heat loss. Heat always seeks a colder atmosphere. Additional benefits include reduced carpet fading, curtain and drape fading, and insect protection when windows are open. Also, since solar screens should not come in contact with the glass, they help prolong the life of the insulated glass on your windows by not allowing the searing heat to build up and cause the window seals to break.

ABC Electricians can help with any solar screen issues you may have.


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