Window tinting is popular way to reduce heat gain in the summertime, reflecting away infrared light that would normally pass through untreated glass windows and warm a home’s interior. This reduces the burden on air conditioners, and saves money on energy. Less well-known is the role that window tinting can play in winter time; tints can provide an extra degree of insulation between a winter home’s warm interior and the cold air outside, reducing the work your heater has to do.
The key is to apply window tints with all seasons in mind, and not sacrifice summer coolness for winter warmth (or vice-versa). With thoughtful application, tinting can provide year-round energy-savings and comfort. Let’s take a closer look.
The key to creating the best-possible balance between summer and winter effectiveness is to vary the tint application to reflect the light the window receives. If the window receives a lot of light – more likely if it faces south – then reflecting away summer heat is key. If the window receives less light – likely if north-facing or shaded – it’s ability to reflect away light is less critical; it’s a good candidate for optimizing for winter.
So how can you optimize tint for summer or winter? In summertime, you’re most concerned about reflecting away heat. As mentioned above, summer-optimized tints should be applied to reject infrared light. In winter, infrared light is much more welcome as a source of needed heat. In both summer and winter, you’ll want tints that have low-emissivity, or low-e; materials that are low-e conduct heat poorly, making it more difficult to heat to pass in either direction.
Just about any home can benefit from the application of window tints. Older, single pane windows do not help to manage light rays and are not effective at insulation. While double pane windows are much more effective, they can also use more insulating power. As a general rule, window tints should be able to yield the control and energy efficient of an additional pane of glass; tinted single pane windows can do the work of standard double pane, for example.
If you’ve recently priced replacing the windows on your home, you know that new windows are a considerable investment. For many, the cost of window replacement is prohibitive. The cost to apply window tints is much less; generally speaking, you can have your windows tinted for just 5% to 10% of the cost of a window replacement. If you’re more interested in saving money than spending it, window tinting might be a great option for you.
While it’s possible to install window tinting on your own, your best bet is to arrange for a consultation with a residential window tinting professional. A professional will be able to correctly evaluate your home, your windows, and your light; this will ensure that you select tints that work to maintain the right temperature all year long. Professional installations also tend to be backed by warranties – both from the manufacturer and installer; while a window film should never bubble, peel, crack, or discolor, a professional tint installer will make things right if it happens.