One of our recent house projects was aimed at dealing with the Central Texas sun. The key reason for this was a desire to get rid of the heat pockets around our windows when the sun was in its afternoon path. The options we considered were (1) new blinds, (2) solar screens, and (3) window film. After a lot of research, we decided that new blinds wouldn’t really help the situation, plus without some protection from the outside, the blinds would just continue to take a beating. After looking at several houses with solar screens, we could see that the screen material would start to sag rather quickly, and the almost black windows are not as visually pleasing from the outside as those with window film. (Obviously, this is just one opinion.) In addition, looking out through the solar screens does not provide as crisp of a view, so in the end we focused our attention on the window film.
The real question was does the film help with the heat, and the answer is emphatically ‘yes’. Here are a few specs on some of the various films we used. After having the film for a couple of weeks, there is a significant difference around the windows. While the specs say that 50-60% of the heat was blocked, my perception is that the air around the windows is 30-40% cooler, and the heat pockets throughout the house are virtually gone. In addition, when we arrive home at a time when the program is set high, the house is not unbearable, and my rough calculations say the house is 5-8 degrees cooler than it was prior to the film. That doesn’t sound like much but consider how long it takes for an air conditioner to drop the temperature that many degrees.
In the end, the cost was in the $1500 range for all the windows from Sunsational Solutions, and we were pleasantly surprised to receive a refund check from the city for making energy saving improvements, so the cost was reduced several hundred dollars. As an added bonus, the glare on the TVs throughout the house has been decreased to a point that is it not noticeable; consequently, HD looks just that much better. Here are a few pictures I took to compare the differences.
Window without any film or screen. (They missed this one but will be coming back to get it.)
Window with solar screens. (The neighbor’s house…)
Window with film. (Subtle contrast with the stone…)