It’s that time of year again when homeowners turn on the heat in their homes and parents everywhere admonish children to close the door with the question, “Are you trying to heat the neighborhood?”
“Depending on what’s covering your windows, closing your window treatments can reduce heat loss between 10-40 percent,” said Ruth Terray, who owns and operates the Budget Blinds franchise serving the West Hartford, Avon, Farmington, Newington and Wethersfield areas.
The US Department of Energy reports that windows can account for 10-25 percent of your home energy bill. Caulking and weatherstripping windows and installing storm windows are critical for conserving indoor heat and should be done. After sealing leaks, homeowners should look to their window treatments as the next line of defense.
“When you sit next to a bare window during winter, you feel colder,” said Terray. “What’s happening is the warmed indoor air is cooling next to the chilled window pane and circulating back into the room. To conserve heat and save on energy costs, you can slow this process by lowering your window treatments.”
Not all window treatments are created equally when it comes to energy conservation. Insulation is measured by R-value, which indicates the material’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the R- value a material has the greater the insulation. A bare, low-e, double-glazed window has a R-value around 3.5. Adding a window treatment can improve that number by as little as 10 percent and as much as 50 percent.
“Cellular shades are ideal insulators and provide the highest R-value of window coverings available,” said Terray. “Each cell traps warm air before it reaches the glass. The more cells, the better the insulation; but multiple cells reduce the amount of light that is filtered into the room, so it’s darker.”
Terray’s business, Budget Blinds of West Hartford, offers free in home consultations where homeowners can discuss their needs with a trained style consultant who can recommend appropriate window treatments. Among the better window treatments for combating winter’s chill are shutters, Roman shades and woven wood window treatments. These can increase the R-value of your bare window by 20-40 percent. Roman shades and woven wood shades can be lined for additional insulation.
Use these tips to conserve energy and save money this winter:
· Conduct an energy audit to find air leaks in your home and seal them with caulk or weather stripping.
· Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees or the temperature recommended by your energy provider.
· Lower your thermostat a few degrees more when you’ll be away and overnight when you’ll be sleeping.
· Open south facing window coverings during the day to heat rooms with passive solar heat.
· Keep north-facing window coverings closed to retain heat.
· Draw window treatments at night to slow heat loss and improve efficiency.
· Layer two classic window treatments on the same window. For example, add a drapery panel and cornice box over a cellular shade to improve energy efficiency and add visual appeal.
· If you’re in the market for new treatments, ask about window treatments, features and techniques that will help conserve more energy.
About Budget Blinds of West Hartford:Budget Blinds of West Hartford began its operations in 2011 and is owned and operated by Ruth Terray. The company proudly serves local homeowners and businesses by offering complimentary in-home consultations, professional measuring and precise installation. Budget Blinds only partners with the most reputable vendors to offer a rich selection of quality window coverings that include shutters, blinds, draperies, shades and window film. For more information, please call 860-904-9691 or visit www.budgetblinds.com/westhartford