If your home gets too hot in the summer, you can stay cooler by installing interior shades to reduce the solar energy flowing into your home. Roller shades, mini-blinds, or fabric curtains can all reduce solar overheating, reduce the cost of operating your air conditioner, and improve your summertime comfort.
Interior shades work by reflecting some of the solar energy that enters your windows back to the outdoors. Shades that are light colored or aluminized on their outside surfaces work best because they reflect more solar energy than darker surfaces. Darker exterior surfaces of shades tend to absorb energy and release it into the home.
You’ll receive the greatest benefits from reflective window shades if you install them on windows that get a lot of sun. These might face east, where the low morning sun starts to heat your house. They might face south, though on some homes the high noon sun isn’t at the right angle to actually enter your windows. Or you might choose to install shades on the west side of your home, where the low, hot afternoon sun really heats up.
The cheapest and most effective interior shades for cooling are simple roller shades. Fabric curtains can also be effective sun shades if reflect solar and insulate the home from the hot area near the window. Venetian blinds are also effective sun blockers, if they are reflective and closed during the day. Some homeowners install roller shades behind fabric curtains so they have both effective sun shades and designer curtains.
Interior shades can only keep your home cool if you use them effectively. Close shades or blinds in the morning before the sun has a chance to overheat your home. Leave them closed as long as the sun shines on your windows. Open your shades at night, and open your windows if you can, so your home will be cooled by cool evening air. Your home will be more comfortable and your power bills may be lower, too, when you use interior shades to block solar energy.
BothYour Home Cooling Energy Guide and The Homeowners Handbook to Energy Efficiency have extensive information about maintaining comfort and reducing air-conditioning costs.