Button up your Windows for Winter!
Windows are essential for having a comfortable and appealing home. They let light into our lives, especially in the winter when natural light is so limited. But windows also let in a lot of cold air.
Notice the Winter Ice that builds up on your windows? Most of your home’s heat loss escapes through those leaky frames and glass surfaces. Anyone who has lived in colder climates is familiar with this form of frozen condensation. When you leave your windows uncovered, this cold air mixes with the heated room air, lowering the overall temperature creating a convection current (See Figure 1 below.)
Figure 1: Warm air rises from the heater and moves along the ceiling towards the cold window. When it hits the window the air becomes cold causing it to drop down into the room creating a convection current that is expensive AND uncomfortable.
Figure 2: Adding a cellular shade helps keep you more comfortable and saves on your energy bill by creating a barrier between the nice warm air in your room and the frigid temperatures on the glass. This allows you to lower your thermostat while keeping warm.
Heat rises and exits through the glass surfaces, which actually makes your heater run longer and more often. When it is cold outside, walk up to your window. Feel that draft the closer you get to the window? It makes me shiver just thinking about it!
Honeycomb cellular shades block this draft. The honeycomb-shaped “cells” create air pockets that trap the cold air and prevent it from reaching your room. Unlike many spun-lace honeycomb fabrics on the market (which allow air, dust, and dirt to flow through your shade), Symphony cellular fabrics are bonded polyester. This material lessens air filtration through the shade.
On sunny days, open your shades to gain heat from the sun shining through your windows. This solar heat gain is what passive-house builders use to help heat homes. Simply close the shades at night to keep in heat and stabilize room temperature.
Which options should I consider?
Symphony Shades offer the optional ComforTrack Plus side track system which adds to the shades’ insulating properties by blocking the small gap between a shade and its window frame. No more drafts creeping into your room!
Adding honeycomb shades to your windows will greatly increase the R-Value (thermal resistance) of your windows. Honeycomb Shades will actually keep you from having to turn up that thermostat those extra couple degrees to compensate for the cold air seeping in from your windows.
Double Cellular fabrics are more insulating than single cellular fabrics because of the extra air cavity. Black Out fabrics feature a foil lining on the inside of the cells that gives them an insulating advantage over light filtering fabrics. So if you are looking for the most efficient and highest insulating shade available, a double cell Black Out shade with side tracks will give you the biggest bang for your buck!
Don’t want to block out precious sunlight? Consider a double cell Light Filtering Shade with side tracks. You will still be able to take advantage of the natural light, but insulate almost as much as the black out shades.
If you have a finished basement, consider adding shades to those windows – they’ll add privacy and insulation. Since cold air drops, the basement can be one of the more vulnerable areas of your home, and cold air can enter and pool on that ground floor.
Learn more about R-Value & insulating shades
Where else is your heat escaping? Look up.
Consider installing insulating balcony skylight shades to trap the warm air that rises and escapes through Skylight Windows. Skylight shades are available in the same great fabrics as our regular window shades, and they quickly pay for themselves through energy savings in all four seasons!
Definition of R-Value http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-value_(insulation)
Energy Saving R-Value info
ComforTrack Plus Side Track system: