We are well into the summer season. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and your home is a lot hotter. Canadians know that the four seasons are all vastly different from each other, and that summer requires you to find ways to keep your house cooler. It won’t be as simple as blasting your air conditioning system throughout the hot weather to avoid heat strokes, that would be really inefficient and very costly. One of the best ways to combat the heat without draining your wallet is with window treatments.
Blinds, shades, shutters and drapes are all great ways to reduce glare at your windows. As the sun comes up and hits its peak during the afternoon, the glare is responsible for generating a lot of the heat within your home. It creates a greenhouse effect known as “solar heat gain” when the sunlight passes through the glass on your windows. So one of the best ways to stay cool is to simply block out the sunlight during the afternoon.
Ward off the Heat
You don’t want your internal core temperature to go up too much. There are several ways to ward off a high body temperature, including drinking cold water, keeping an ice pack handy, and having a spray bottle around. But if the temperature inside is just too hot, there is little these things can do. Again, the solution is often as simple as blocking out the direct sunlight from your windows with a window covering to ward off the excess heat. One of the best coverings to do this are solar shades.
Solar shades are a type of roller shade that is excellent at blocking direct sunlight and UV rays. The fabric is weaved in such a way that light will pass through, but it will be muted and the heat gained with it. The weave tightness is expressed in a percentage number, with the lower percentages being tighter and the higher percentage being looser. The same percentage number will also tell you how see-through the fabric is, with the lower percentages being less see-through and the higher percentages being more. With that, you don’t have to sacrifice having a view while also blocking out the sun and the heat.
Full Blackout, Full Energy Efficiency
Chasing maximum energy efficiency and less reliance on your air conditioner is an honourable goal. It will reduce your carbon footprint and will also help you save some money in turn. With full blackout fabrics, yes you will sacrifice your view, but also yes, you will fully prevent any solar heat gain from entering your interiors.
While chasing the best energy efficiency possible, the best approach to it is to use blackout cellular shades for your windows. They accomplish this by trapping air within its hexagonal cell structure (hence its other name: honeycomb shades) and creating a barrier at your windows. Hot air (or cold air during the winter) is prevented from coming inside. So blackout cellular shades have a two-way approach in helping you keep your home cooler: they prevent solar heat gain with the blackout fabrics and they stop the hot air that builds up outside from coming in. They are the epitome of energy efficient shades.
Other Techniques to Keep in Mind
While getting solar or cellular shades is a great investment, there are certainly other, cheaper ways to help you keep cool indoors during the summer months. If you already have a dressing in place, like drapes, you can supplement them to further increase the heat blocking they may already provide. You can use things like aluminum foil over the glass to help reflect the sunlight back out, or, in the same vein, you can use cardboard to cover the windows and block the sunlight. Both techniques are very inexpensive and both items are easy to acquire at your local supermarket.
Another thing to consider is the caulking on your windows. They may need to be redone as years of wear and tear can wither them down. The warm outdoor air can come in through the cracks and incrementally warm your interiors during the hot summer months, putting more stress on your air conditioning system to keep you comfortable.
Combat Canadian Weather
Canadians know that the summer months are just a temporary reprieve from the harsh cold realities that make up a good chunk of the year. The same techniques used to combat the very hot weather in July and August can be used in the frigid winter months of January and February. Cellular shades, sealing your window caulking, and adding additional layers on the windows like film can help combat the cold air and help you save on using your heating system too much. The same techniques in the summer are transferable in the winter, helping you achieve better energy efficiency, save money, and do your part in protecting the environment.