During summer, windows play an important role in regulating your home’s temperature. The wrong types of windows, a lack of protection from the sun, or damaged window frames, for example, can all contributing to rising cooling costs. 

Why? In short, windows can allow in lots of heat generated by the sun. Direct sunlight streams through your windows, and it turns into heat in the home. As such, you have to compensate for this “heat gain” by running your A/C longer. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, 76% of sunlight that lands on double-pane windows enters the home and becomes heat. 

Looking for home cooling tips to help you save this summer? Start by protecting your windows. 

Residential window replacement offers the best solution, especially if single-pane  or older double-pane windows (without current hi-tech coatings) are installed on your home. Yet, there are many cost-effective strategies that can boost the energy efficiency of your windows. These are 10 home cooling tips to get your windows ready for summer.

  • Install Window Treatments 

Window treatments and drapes help to protect against direct sunlight, and reduce the amount of solar heat gain in the home. According the DOE, the right type of drapes can reduce heat gain by 33%. One tip: Look for draperies with white backings. The white reflects light away from the home. In particular, white-plastic backed drapes are best. 

  • Add Window Film 

Window film is essentially a thin layer of plastic coating that attaches to the interior of exterior of the window. Typically, these coatings are silver or metallic, which helps to reflect solar heat away from the home. Additional benefits include UV protection, which prevents color damage to runs and furniture, as well as reduced glare. In particular, windows films are best for south, east and west-facing windows which receive the greatest amount of direct sunlight in summer.

  • Upgrade Your Awnings 

Awnings are a tried-and-true solution for an overabundance of sunlight. In fact, awnings can reduce heat gain by 77% on west-facing windows and 65% on south-facing windows. In particular, look for quick-install or roll-up awnings that can be removed during winter.  

  • Replace Your Window’s Screens

Traditional window screens do a good job of keeping insects out, but don’t protect against solar heat gain. One solution: Install solar screens. These look similar to traditional metal screens, but have the added benefits of reflecting the sun and reducing UV exposure. Some options include fixed panels that fit over the window or interior and exterior screens that roll up.

  • Get Your A/C Tuned Up 

A properly functioning air conditioner is the perfect complement to new windows. In spring, schedule a tune-up. A proper tune-up will test that the A/C functions properly and will include a filter change.  Filters should also be changed monthly for the best performance.

Similarly, consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats adapt to your home’s cooling needs and can lead to a 15% energy savings during summer. 

  • Schedule Window Maintenance 

Notice any drafts or leaks around your windows? Are there visible cracks in the glass or damaged seals? Leaks allow hot air to quickly enter the home, and as such, they’re a major contributor to solar heat gain. Regular, yearly window maintenance can help you reduce drafts and leaks and protect the value of your home’s windows. 

  • Open Your Windows on Cool Nights 

In early summer, when night temperatures are mild, opening your windows is a quick way to reduce your reliance on the A/C. Just shut off the A/C, open your windows, and start saving on your cooling bills. This is another reason that maintenance is so important. A window that’s painted shut, that has an inoperable crank or that doesn’t stay open can be a summer-long pain.

  • Install an Attic Fan

Your home’s roof is a massive heat magnet. This heat is absorbed into the attic, and escapes through vents and walls into the home. Therefore, you have to run the A/C longer to compensate. 

An attic fan works by pushing this hot air outside, and it’s a perfect complement for energy efficient residential windows. 

  • Plant Shade Trees 

Landscaping is a great tool for reducing direct sunlight. Consider new shade trees for east- or west-facing windows. Although this is a long-term strategy, shade trees provide significant energy savings. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, east- and west-facing shade trees can reduce cooling costs by 35%.

  • Try Exterior Shades, Shutters or Blinds

Shutters and shades act like shade trees or interior window treatments, helping to reduce direct sunlight on window surfaces. Wooden shutters are one of the most common types, and many homeowners choose to replace inoperable shutters with versions that can be mechanically or manually operated. Other popular options include roll-up exterior blinds or panel shades.  

Residential Window Replacement 

All of these options can contribute to energy savings, but if your home has single-paned windows or older double-paned windows, these strategies might not go far enough. Replacement windows, on the other hand, offer guaranteed cost savings. In fact, according to ENERGY STAR estimates, new windows can save homeowners more than $400 in cooling and heating costs. 

Today’s residential replacement windows are much more efficient than older double-pane windows, and they include many features that protect against heat gain. Some features include: 

  • Low-E Coatings – Low emissivity coatings act like window films. They filter sunlight, protect against UV rays and glares, and reflect heat away from the house.

  • Gas Fills – Double-paned windows use argon fills between each layer of glass, which slows energy transference into the home, and helps to insulate against heat.

  • Newer Materials – Today’s windows are made from a variety of materials, including vinyl and fiberglass. Vinyl, in particular, is effective at reducing heat transference, which makes vinyl replacement windows perfect for summer.

Will Window Insulation Help? 

Insulating windows does offer energy savings potential. In fact, many of these home cooling tips like window films, shutters and blinds help are forms of window insulation. Ultimately, the amount of energy savings you can expect from insulation, depends on the strategies you use.  

For example, there are numerous DIY window insulation kits available on the market. Plastic, vacuum-sealed film is a popular choice. Although plastic films are great for winter, they aren’t the best for summer, as you won’t be able to open the window and they still allow visible light through. In other words, you’ll still be battling heat gain. 

The best window insulation strategies for summer, therefore, are those that protect the windows from direct sunlight like low-E films, exterior shutters and awnings, and interior window treatments.

Contact Us 

Summer is best time to get serious about energy savings. Is it time to update your home’s windows? Schedule a free replacement window consultation today with WeatherMaster Windows.