The birds are chirping, the kids are playing, the sun is shining, and your bank account is draining…
Yes, it’s summertime, and while you’re busy running around to baseball practice and the pool, your air conditioner is working overtime thanks to all of the heat coming in through your windows. This inherently pushes your summer electric bill higher and higher.
Unfortunately, mother nature will almost always have the upperhand in this battle for balanced temperatures. Luckily, taking a few simple steps inside your home’s interior can make a significant impact on your overall home cooling (and heating) costs.
One of those steps includes adding custom window treatments to your windows, and if you’re looking for a budget-friendly solution, window blinds will be perfect for you!
Why Is My Electric Bill So High?
We’ve been there. Your latest trip to the mailbox felt like a punch to the gut once you realized your June energy bill was tucked inside your mail pile.
If it’s any consolation, you’re certainly not alone when it comes to forking over serious money to cool your home. For the last several years, the average summer electric bill for a household in the United States has hovered around $400!
If that figure isn’t enough to turn that smile upside down, consider the fact that the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that between 25-40% of home heating and cooling costs are related to air leakage and energy transfer through windows. That’s a lot of lost dollars.
But what are the specific reasons why so much money is lost through your windows?
First, it’s important to note that windows can occupy up to 20% of your home’s overall wall space, and while that percentage may seem small, windows aren’t nearly as effective at insulating your home as compared to the rest of your walls or roof. This difference in what is called “thermal resistance” is our main culprit.
When comparing the thermal resistance of materials or objects, the standard of measure is referred to as an R-Value. The higher the R-value, the more resistance the material provides against the transfer of heat.
While a standard insulated wall may have a rating of R-18 to R-20, and your roof a rating of around R-30, an untreated window typically has an R-Value between 0 and 1. Ouch!
What compounds this problem is the fact that most windows are not truly airtight. So not only is the air around your windows heating up due to heat transfer through the window panes, but cool air escapes through leaks. This air loss keeps your air conditioner working non-stop, which in turn increases your energy costs substantially.
Window Blinds to the Rescue!
As energy has become more and more expensive, the topic of energy efficiency has understandably received an ever-growing level of interest over the last decade.
Home owners, builders, contractors, and businesses around the globe have had it with high energy costs, and that frustration has led to a wide range of options for improved energy efficiency such as:
- Solar panels
- Energy-efficient windows
- Reduced window sizes
- + More
While these are viable options for lowering your bills, the upfront costs and/or negative consequences associated with these options may be more than you can handle.
Luckily, a much more affordable solution is to install new window blinds within your home.
At a fraction of the cost of new energy-efficient windows, fully closed blinds can reduce heat gain within your home by providing additional insulation around your windows, and more importantly, by reflecting heat back outside rather than letting it inside your living spaces.
High-quality materials from name brands like Hunter Douglas can provide increased energy efficiency as compared to lesser known and lower-quality suppliers. Window blinds installed by a trained professional can nearly triple your window’s resistance to thermal transfer. By increasing your uncovered windows R-value from less than R-1 to nearly R-3, you can find real savings on your energy bills over the long term.
Of course, the benefits of saving energy aren’t only limited to a lower electric bill.
By consuming less electricity, you’ll also decrease the negative impact that your home makes on the environment thanks to the corresponding reduction in greenhouse gases and air pollution that are associated with electricity generation.
Furthermore, the sun’s harmful UV rays can slowly fade and damage rugs, furniture, electronics, and other decor within the rooms of your home when your windows are left uncovered. So if cooling your house down wasn’t enough reason to install blinds, do it for the sake of your furniture!
Tips for Even More Savings
For those of you who take energy efficiency VERY seriously, here is a list of tips for trimming your energy bills even further:
- Install or replace weather stripping around all of your home’s windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Keep your windows completely locked to ensure they are tightly closed whenever possible.
- Set an alarm to remind yourself to close your window blinds, shades or shutters during the hottest hours of the day. Many of us open our blinds at the beginning of the day to let in morning sunlight, and forget we did so by the afternoon!
- Consider installing a motorized window treatment solution that operates on a set interval, like Hunter Douglas’ Power View Motorization system (see video below).
Have questions? If you live in the Kansas City area, give the professional blind installation team at Custom Shutters by Doyle a call at (816) 587-1990 to learn more about protecting your home with energy efficient window treatments.