Home Heating Should Be in Your Control, Not the Sun’s

Frustrating glare from the sun, not to mention the heat it brings, can be difficult to deal with. Instead of enjoying the natural light and view of the outdoors, homeowners often close their curtains during the day to keep the hot, blinding sunlight out of their homes.

But what’s the point in having windows if you can’t use them?

If you’re tired of the strong sunlight heating up your home, here are the best window options available for heat and glare control.

How Windows Can Contribute to Heat Gain and Glare

Inefficient windows cause energy loss in the home, which leads to higher heating and cooling bills year-round. And with nothing to block the sunlight and its heat, inefficient windows also allow this heat to easily pass through the glass, heating homes and putting a higher demand on air conditioning systems.

Along with the heat, sunlight also brings in the glare that can hurt your eyes and ultraviolet light that is harmful to your skin and your furniture.

What Are Your Options?

Low-E Glass

Replacing your windows with new energy-efficient windows is your best option for controlling solar heat gain and glare. These windows have low-E (emissivity) glass that reflects sunlight and heat, keeping the heat out in summer and in during winter.

Low-E glass has microscopic and transparent coatings to reduce the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through. Ultraviolet light causes skin cancer and fading of interior furnishings, while infrared light is heat energy. And since low-E coatings only block this light, and not visible light, they won’t compromise your view of the outdoors or the natural light entering in your home.

Low-E double-glazed or triple-glazed windows with argon gas between the panes provide the best option for blocking heat. These insulated low-E glass units prevent radiant heat transfer throughout the different window panes, keeping even more heat out in summer and in during winter.

When you replace your windows, you also benefit from replacing inefficient window frames, weather stripping, and seals that allow air leaks and heat to get in your home during summer and out in winter. New windows will prevent air leaks and keep your home better insulated.

Energy-efficient low-E windows are worth the investment to keep your home comfortable year-round, blocking the sun’s heat, glare, and damaging rays, while keeping your home’s heating and cooling costs down.

Window Films

If your windows are in good shape and you’re not ready to replace them with new energy efficient windows, consider installing window films to help block sunlight from getting in your home.

The best heat control window film has a low-E layer. Like low-E glass, window films can have a thin low-emissivity layer of metal or other microscopic reflective material to block solar heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. These window films block most of the sun’s harmful UV rays that fade carpets and furniture and also work well as glare-reducing window films.

Window films vary in tint, from dark to completely clear, with darker tints absorbing more heat from the sun. They also vary in thickness, with thicker films providing an extra layer of security on windows, protecting the glass from shattering.

Windows to Look For

Look for Energy Star ratings when you shop for energy efficient windows, most notably the U-factor and the solar heat gain coefficient. The U-factor determines the insulating value of a window. And the solar heat gain coefficient is a measure of how well the window deflects solar heat.

For both ratings, the ideal energy-efficient value should be 0.30 or below.

Other Options

While energy-efficient windows and window films are the best options available for controlling heat and glare while allowing you to enjoy your windows, there are other options to tide you over in the meantime.

Don’t Overlook Curtains and Window Dressings

Yes, curtains and window coverings block some or all natural light from windows. And they can also block the view of the outdoors. If you’re concerned about insulating your windows and keeping as much heat and glare out, curtains and window dressings are excellent options.

The best window coverings to keep heat and glare out include thick curtains and blinds with white exterior-facing sides that reflect sunlight, also known as black-out curtains or blinds.

There are also cellular shades and solar shades available that allow some natural light in while blocking the sun’s heat, glare, and UV rays.

Don’t let the sun control the interior temperature, comfort, and safety of your home. With the right window options, you can keep the heat, glare, and damaging light out for good. And you don’t have to close your curtains do so.