Winter is here, and as the song goes, Baby, it’s cold outside. When the temperature drops inside and you can’t get warm without the use of a winter parka, your first instinct might be to reach for the thermometer. You might want to check your windows instead. The Department of Energy says about 33% of heat loss occurs through windows, which equates to $30 wasted for every $100 spent. Now, unless you enjoy throwing out good money (and if you do, you know where to find me!) it’s time to come up with a sensible solution to conserving heat in the winter and blocking harsh sun in the summer. Some homeowners might consider replacing windows or purchasing new energy-efficient blinds, and while both of these are good options for those with the budget, there’s another solution that’s a little easier on the wallet: window film.
Did You Say Window Film?
Yes! I did recommend window film. While this solution isn’t often the first energy-saving technique that pops into a homeowner’s mind, maybe it should be. An energy analysis conducted by ConSol showed that in the warmer climates of Riverside and Central Valley, California, installing window film on an older single pane glass was one of the best ways to improve energy performance without breaking the bank. In a related study in Fresno, the return on investment (ROI) for window films ranged between 21%-70% annually. Even better: You may be eligible for tax incentives if you add film to reduce energy costs in your home.
How Does Window Film Work?
During the winter months, window film adds extra insulation to the panes, keeping the heat inside and the cold weather out, where it belongs. When winter fades into hot summer days, window film decreases the amount of energy it takes to cool the home by deflecting solar heat gain.
Why Window Film Over Other Options?
If you’re looking for ways to reduce energy costs in your home, you’ll likely research two additional options: replacing windows and/or adding window treatments. Both of these options can save homeowners money, but the return on investment (ROI) can take quite a few years to recoup and the initial expense might be too hefty for some. Window film offers a lower cost alternative for those on a budget, and you can see a ROI in as little as two years.
Still in doubt? Let’s compare window film to these two options.
- Window Replacement. Those living in older homes might consider replacing windows to cut back on drafts and provide better insulation. This can be a good investment for some homeowners, but window replacement doesn’t come cheap: according to an article by Consumer Reports, new windows cost anywhere from $7,000 to $20,000 for an average house; customized options can add an additional 15%. (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-windows/buying-guide.htm) Will it pay off? Most likely, at a tune of up to 25% per year; but because of the expense of replacing windows, it could take years before you see the benefit. In comparison, window films run about $4-$15 per square foot installed, and you can potentially recoup that cost in just a few years, according to the study by IWFA.
- Window Treatments. You may consider hanging blinds and/or shades to help with energy costs, and a number of shades will look great and reduce your electricity bill; but not all shades are created equal when it comes to conserving energy. To truly see savings you’ll need to purchase window treatments that include UV protection as well as some type of backing that will stop the cold from seeping into your home. These options are not as expensive as new windows, but they can run on the higher end. On average you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $450 and upward per linear foot depending on the following:
- Where you live
- How many windows you have
- The size of your windows
- The climate in which you live
- In which direction your windows face
The return on investment can take quite a few years to see depending on the cost of the treatments and installation fees.
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