What Are Solar Screens For Windows – Do They Work?

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Keeping your house cool in the summer months can be a problem. Especially without spending a fortune on electricity to run your HVAC system at full power.

With rising energy costs and the associated problems caused for the environment, it’s more important than ever to consider cheaper and more energy-efficient ways to keep your home cool.

There are various ways to regulate a home’s temperature while saving energy. One way to keep your house cooler is to add screens to your windows.

But what are solar screens for windows and how do they work? In this post, I’ll explain how you can use them to help keep your energy bills down.

Solar screens are fitted over windows to deflect sunlight and prevent excess heat from the sun from raising the temperature of your home. Solar screens are made using a screen mesh of various materials and installed onto the window frame to cover the window. Solar screens are up to 90% effective at letting visible light through but reducing solar heat transfer and UV rays.

Solar screens are available in a variety of styles and materials.

Depending on the material used, how it is constructed, and the installation the amount of visible light transferred (Openness factor) and heat blocked is variable.

If the material is tightly weaved the visible light transfer will be lower but the effectiveness to block heat and UV rays will be higher.

Solar screens come in a wide range of openness factors from 3% up to approx. 30%.

Do Solar Screens Work?

To install solar screens on a window is relatively simple. These fixtures fitted over windows prevent solar heat gain, reducing glare and the sun’s harmful UV rays.

They are also highly effective at ensuring less heat is lost from your home. 

Simply put, a solar screen is a tightly woven mesh screen made from a variety of materials. It could be made using fiberglass, wire, or any other synthetic type of fiber.

This screen is fixed to a frame, and the entire frame is designed to cover up a window.

Solar screens can be permanent or removable fixtures (See below for the difference between solar sun screens and solar shades).

You can remove solar screens of some types during winter when heat from the sun is significantly reduced.

A window solar screen effectively reduces the possibility of temperature transfer on the glass’s surface. 

Solar sun screens can prevent the sun’s hot rays from entering the building through a home’s windows by reducing the amount of sunlight that can reach the glass.

They can also be useful as a pet-resistant screen and block insects from entering your home.

Solar Screens vs Window Film

A solar screen is just one method of reducing the sun’s heat from entering a home. Window film is another option that effectively reduces sunlight entering the home. 

Solar screens have a reputation for being less than desirable in terms of aesthetics. Window film has the advantage of being a slightly better-looking option compared to solar screens. 

Some solar screens can cause a reduction in visibility, which is undesirable, especially if there are views outside that could be enjoyed.

Window film, on the other hand, is highly unlikely to cause any major reduction in visibility for the occupants of a house. 

When it comes to cleaning, solar sun screens can make it exceptionally difficult to clean a window properly.

This is especially true if the solar screens are the permanent, fixed type. Because solar screens make it difficult to clean the glass properly, these windows are often left without being cleaned. 

This is bad for the glass and the windows as a whole, as thick grime will form on the glass, which can be less than desirable.

The film has the added advantage of insulating the glass, serving a similar purpose to solar screens in its ability to prevent excess solar heating.

As with any home addition, installing solar screens have various pros and cons:-

Pros of Solar Screens

  • Solar screens can help block the sun’s heating effect, UV rays, and glare from your home, which can help reduce your cooling costs in the summer.

  • Solar screens can also improve your home’s comfort. Giving you privacy whilst allowing you to still see out. They also improve indoor air quality by reducing the amount of sunlight and glare through your windows.

  • Solar screens can help make your home more energy-efficient by up to 50%, reducing your cooling costs and even reduce your carbon footprint.

  • Solar screens can provide protection for your furniture, flooring, and curtains from fading and sun damage.

  • Solar screens are one of many cost effective ways homeowners can improve the energy efficiency of your home without investing large sums on window replacement and can even pay for themselves over time.

Cons of Solar Screens

  • Solar screens can be a hindrance to natural light and views, especially if you choose ones with high heat reflection properties i.e. a tighter weave.

  • You can end up with higher lighting costs due to having a darker interior.

  • Some homeowners find that they are not visually very pleasing to look at.

  • A bad installation of solar screens can be a safety hazard, especially in adverse weather conditions where they might blow off.

  • Solar screens can partially inhibit air circulation with the potential to create an uncomfortable internal environment.

Solar screens come in various designs that allow a certain degree of aesthetic choice. In addition, solar screens can drastically reduce glare on TV screens and other similar devices.

A solar screen will allow some continuous airflow through a home while simultaneously providing insect protection.

Types Of Solar Screens

Solar screens are usually categorized according to their different opacities or openness factors. This is usually indicated as a percentage. 

The higher the number, the more light moves through the solar screen.

While more light moving through the solar screen results in better lighting conditions within a home, it will also mean less privacy.

Alternatively, solar shades are usually a roller-type construction so that they can be raised and lowered when required.

A solar shade gives you the benefits of blocking the sun’s rays but allowing you to open them up in the evening to let more light in.

Conclusion

A great way to reduce the amount of solar heat and UV rays that enter a room is to install a solar screen. They can improve your home’s comfort and even make it more energy-efficient.

While many homeowners opt for solar screens because of their obvious benefits many consider them unappealing from an aesthetic standpoint, solar screens are highly effective at preventing excess heat from entering the home. 

As such they are a very eco-friendly addition to your home and most people will likely save money in the long run.

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About: Mila

Mila is passionate about living sustainability and encouraging others to do the same. Writing about practical steps we can all take to reduce our impact on the environment.