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Do Solar Shades Really Save on Home’s Energy Use?

textilene 90% fabric for sun screen installation                One of the biggest expenses any homeowner faces on a daily basis is energy use.  A home’s energy consumption adds up quickly, leaving many homeowners wondering how they can start to lower their monthly bills.  Going “green” has been popular for some time now because not only is it better for the environment but when a home is “green” and energy efficient, it uses much less energy and saves a significant amount of money each month.  There are energy efficient options in just about everything a home could need and windows are no exception.  Having solar sun screens installed is a great way to make your home more energy efficient.  Just how energy efficient are solar suns screens?  Incredibly energy efficient.

Solar sun screens filter harmful UV rays from entering the home and block that strong sunlight from damaging a home’s interior and furnishings but the best benefit of all is how it improves a home’s energy efficiency.  But, energy efficiency is not just a fancy buzz word, solar sun screens actually block up to 90% of sun’s rays and heat.  That is significant! A home can be heated and cooled using utility services but it also is naturally heated and cooled by outside weather.  If a home’s windows are not energy efficient or solar screen are not installed there can be a large amount of heat gain in the home just from windows.  This will leave you constantly adjusting the thermostat to try to combat those heat gains, especially in the summer months.  In fact, as much as 50% of all heat gain in a home comes from unprotected windows.  If you were to block that by 90% just imagine what the energy savings could be! If you are tired of watching your utility bills double or triple in the summer because of the significant amount of heat gain, it is time to install solar sun screens.  You may be thinking – “Sure, it will reduce heat gain but how much will it really impact my energy bills on a monthly basis?”  Once solar sun screens have been installed, they are capable of reducing utility bills by as much as 30%.  A 30% savings on energy bills will free up a significant amount of money that can be used in a myriad of ways at the homeowner’s discretion.  And, ultimately, you will be much more comfortable in your home because solar sun screens can make a room as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler.  Solar sun screens are the ideal energy efficient improvement for any home and will yield significant savings on the utility front while making a home more livable and comfortable on a daily basis.

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Do Solar Screens Impact Visibility From Inside the Home

Sun screens installed on west side of phoenix home                The glaring rays from the sun are sure to pour through your windows, heating up your home and even damaging or fading upholstery, drapery and furniture.  Natural light is nice to have in your home but it can wreak havoc on your home and make you uncomfortably warm.  The sunlight may look nice pouring into your home but it will also make your energy bills go up because you will need to use your air conditioner more as the room heats up.  Many homeowners make the decision to install solar shades on their home’s windows to block the sun’s harmful UV rays.  The investment is a wise one because, while there is an upfront expense, it will save money in the long run and protect all of your furnishings from sun damage.  But, when considering installing sun shades many homeowners wonder if sun shades will impede their view in some way.  After all, when you invest in a beautiful home with views of a lovely landscape or spectacular scenery the last thing you want to do is cover it up with something unsightly.  With solar sun screens from Screens Unlimited you can have the best of both worlds – optimal shade and UV protection for you and your home while preserving beautiful views from your window.

While solar sunshades cannot disappear entirely,  the selection we carry at Screens Unlimited provides ideal protection with minimal view disruption.  This is great news for both small and large windows alike.  Often, homeowners wonder if their large or uniquely shaped windows can still have solar sun screens installed and, in fact, they can.  This means that even your largest windows with your most beautiful views can enjoy the benefits of solar window shades and you will still be able to look out of them and see everything you want to.  There are solar sun screens with different levels of transparency depending on what you are hoping to achieve.  The more protection and shade you want, the lower the visibility but, no matter what solar shade you choose, visibility will still be preserved so that you can see through any window when you are inside.  Additionally, if you have ever tried to stare at your view through a window when the sun is shining bright you know that glare from the sun can significantly impact your view.  Solar sunscreens drastically improve this problem by allowing you to see your view without having to squint through intense bright sunlight.  Any way you look at solar sun screens, they truly are beneficial because they reduce energy bills, make a room feel cooler, protect furnishings and allow a glare-free view of your outdoor landscape.

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How to Clean Your Solar Screens

textilene 90% fabric for sun screen installationSolar screens are a wonderful and wise investment for any home.  Once installed, they dramatically improve energy usage by reducing your home’s exposure to sun.  Solar screens also protect the interior of your home, as well as furnishings and drapery, from sun damage that is not only frustrating but costly.  Exterior shades today offer all of these benefits without sacrificing outside visibility through your windows.  But, because they are installed on the exterior of your home, they can and will get dirty over time.  Do not fret, they are very easy to clean and maintain so that they look their best while providing optimal sun protection for your home.  Below we offer step by step cleaning instructions for your sunscreens.

  • Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
    • To clean your solar shades you will need the following: Phillips head screwdriver, mild detergent or soap, bucket, hose, soft cloth and/or soft bristled brush.
  • Step 2: Remove Your Solar Screens
    • Using your Phillips head screw driver, gently and carefully remove them and place them flat on the ground in a safe location that can get wet.
  • Step 3: Wash Your Solar Screens
    • Fill your bucket with mildly soapy water, or use special shade cleaning detergent. Using your soft cloth or soft bristle brush, gently scrub your the fabric evenly with your soapy water.  Scrub in two directions for an even clean since they tend to have a tight weave.
  • Step 4: Rinse Your Solar Screens
    • Using a hose, thoroughly rinse all of the soap until they are completely clean. Be sure that there is no soapy residue left behind and that you have rinsed both sides to provide an optimal clean.
  • Step 5: Dry Your Solar Screens
    • Once thoroughly rinsed, lean your window shades against the side of the house or against a wall so that they can dry. (Tip: while the screens are drying it is a great time to clean the windows underneath the screens so that you can really enjoy a fully cleaned window and the best view possible once the screens have been installed.)
  • Step 6: Reinstall Your Solar Screens
    • Once the exterior window shades are completely dry it is time to reinstall them. Using your Phillips head screwdriver once again, carefully put them back in place and secure them to the outside of your windows with screws.  It is that simple to keep your window screens clean and your views from inside crystal clear.
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Sliding Screen Doors vs. Retractable Screen Doors

Arizona Quality Sliding Screen Door InstallationThere are few things more enjoyable than opening up windows or doors on a cool day and allowing the beautiful breeze to blow through your home, naturally cooling it with fresh air.  For some homeowners that do not have screens on their windows or doors, it is a luxury that is not able to be enjoyed because if they open windows or doors bugs, birds, leaves, and other unwanted outside elements may make their way inside.  When it comes to doors there are two primary options for screens – sliding and retractable.

Most people are familiar with sliding doors as they are fairly common on most modern homes.  They are installed on the exterior of the home where door openings are.  They typically cover one side of double sliding glass doors  and can be slid over when a door is open to help protect the home while still allowing fresh air inside.  They offer many benefits such as lower utility bills because you will not need to use your air conditioning as often as well as increasing the comfort of your home for you, your family and your guests.  When installed correctly, sliding screen doors do not detract from the beauty of a home but give it a finished look while providing many benefits and additional protection for windows.

People may be slightly less familiar with retractable screen doors but they are a great option for homeowners as well.  Retractable doors have insect protecting fabric in housing that is installed on either side of a double door or on one side of a door.  When not in use, it stays in the housing and allows for maximum visibility that is unobstructed by fabric.  When you need a added protection from outside insects and critters, you simply pull it out of the housing, essentially offering the best of both worlds.  When not in use, the door easily retracts back into the housing but when in use, provides the same benefits of a traditional sliding insect door.  Because they are retractable doors, they are less susceptible to damage from the elements (such as sun, dirt, debris and more) and can last an incredibly long time.  When expertly installed they provide benefits without detracting from the beauty of a home or a beautiful view.

Whether you love the idea of a sliding or a retractable screen door, one thing is certain, all homes need some form of insect protection so that they can open things up and enjoy a breeze when they want.  When you own a home you should be able to fully enjoy all the benefits of your home and the beauty of your climate by being able to open doors for a nice, natural breeze.  Sliding and retractable screen doors give you the luxury of allowing the outside air in, without allowing other outside critters or elements in, protecting you while enhancing your experience as a homeowner.

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3 Reasons to Install Insect Screens On Your Windows

Arizona Quality Sliding Screen Door Installation Windows, whether big or small, are a wonderful way to let natural light in.  Windows that can open are a nice addition to any home because, when opened, they allow a beautiful cool breeze to blow through your home.  On a nice day, rather than using air conditioning or breathing in stuffy air, you could open up all the windows in your home and allow the fresh outside air to cool your home naturally.  This is an incredibly energy efficient means of keeping your home comfortable and cool.  But, when you crack open those windows the last thing you want to accompany a nice breeze is a bunch of flying bugs invading your home.  In order to open your windows while still protecting your home, it is critical to have insect screens installed on all of your windows that open.  Additionally, bug fabric doors are a wise investment for your home because they will add value to your home should you decide to sell it.   Below are three reasons you should insect screens have  installed on the windows in your home.

  1. Keep Things Outside Out of Your Home
    • As we previously mentioned, things that are outside should stay there – outside. The last thing you want are bugs flying into your home or dirt and debris being blown into your home by the wind. Bugscreens for windows effectively allow you allow the outside air in without allowing anything else that is unwanted.
  2. Easy to Clean
    • Insect doors are easy to install and easy to remove for maintenance and cleaning. A simple and mild cleaning solution and water to rinse the fabric will quickly and easily clean them.  Simply remove them and prop them against a surface that can get wet.  Rinse them with water from a garden hose, gently rub them with warm soapy water on both sides and then rinse thoroughly with the hose again.  Once dry, they will be ready to be reinstalled on the outside of the windows.
  3. Home Protection Without View Disruption
    • Screens for bugs are an important tool that helps protect you and your home from flying insects, birds, dirt and debris while your windows are open. But the last thing you would want is to install them and have your view obstructed.  Today there are bug screens available that are made with a much more fine mesh that still accomplishes the intended goal but allows for a much better view from your windows.
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Solar Screens vs. Window Tint or Film

Sun screens installed on west side of phoenix home            When considering energy efficient improvements for your home you may start looking towards your windows.  After all, they let in a lot of sunlight which instantly heats up the room and the direct sunlight can also damage and fade things like upholstery, drapery and furniture.  There are many options to choose from in terms of window coverings such as solar screens and window tints.  But, not all energy efficient options are created equal.  In fact, solar screens are vastly superior to window tints and below we will explore why they are better.

The first problem with window tint is that it does not actually prevent the sun’s rays from coming in contact with the window.  This means that while it may prevent some of the sun’s rays from getting inside, they will still have a chance to heat up the windows which will then radiate heat into your home.  Window sun shades, on the other hand, stop the harmful rays from touching the window itself and provide an extra layer of insulation to provide a much more efficient protection for your home.  When strictly comparing which is better for heat reduction in the home, solar screens are, hands down, the far superior choice.  Window tint or film can be completely invisible while providing some slight energy efficiency improvements but it can also be easily damaged.  Great care has to be taken to ensure that even cleaning does not scratch or leave marks on window tint.  Also, they can be removed easily if need be whether for maintenance or any other reason.  Window tint or film, however, cannot.  Window tint and film is permanent and without a significant amount of time and money, or complete window replacement, it will not be removed.  Solar screens, additionally, pose no threat to the windows they protect, unlike window film.  Window film, once installed, could potentially damage the windows they have been attached to.  Window film can actually cause thermal shock fracture on insulated glass windows.  Because of this, most window manufacturers will void warranties if window film has been installed.   Additionally, if window film is not installed correctly it could bubble up or show lines which is not only frustrating but a very obvious unsightly blemish.  With all of these drawbacks it is easy to see why most people opt for solar screens instead of window films or tints.  While both provide some level of energy efficiency improvement, exterior sun shades provide much more and pose no threat to the windows they are attached to.  If you want to really see a tangible difference in your utility bills each month while maintaining your window’s manufacturer’s warranty and not risking damage to your window, solar screens are the way to go.

Posted by admin  |  Comments Off on Solar Screens vs. Window Tint or Film  |  in Phoenix Sun Screens, Screen Door Company, Solar Screens, Solar Window Screens, Window Screens

How Solar Screens Improve Energy Efficiency

Solar Screens InfoGraphic        Every homeowner is looking for a way to make their home more energy efficient.  The costs of heating and cooling a home seem to be growing each day and by improving energy efficiency you can hopefully reduce that cost, keep your home more comfortable and be more environmentally friendly.  Some energy efficiency improvements can be so expensive that you wonder if you will truly see a return on your investment.  With solar screens, not only will you see a great return on your investment but they will provide years of substantial comfort in your home.

Sun shades are mounted on the exterior of windows and come in a wide variety of colors and styles to suit anyone’s taste and home style.  Once installed, they block the sun before it ever hits your window and, by doing so, drastically reduces the harmful rays and heat that enter your home.  Not only is this beneficial during the hot summer months but during the winter months they also provide insulation so that your home’s heating and cooling does not escape as easily, which will keep temperatures comfortable all year long while reducing the strain put on your HVAC system.

Solar screens are a stylish accessory for any home and the investment is sure to increase your home’s value.  But more than that, they truly improve your energy efficiency in a tangible way.  Once installed, you will be able to watch as your energy bills are drastically reduced each month.  44% of the heat gain in your home or business can be attributed to sunlight and solar screens are able to block 90% of that sunlight and heat – a huge amount!  And, as mentioned, they continue to work all year long, making windows 15% more energy efficient by double insulating them.

Not only will your home feel more comfortable all year long, solar sunscreens provide other important benefits as well.  Having a lot of large windows is a wonderful thing in a home because it provides a lot of beautiful natural light.  But, all of that natural light pouring in through the windows contains harmful UV rays and not only is that bad for skin but it can also fade upholstery and drapery over time as well.  The same features that help block out light and improve energy efficiency also help prevent harmful UV rays from entering your home. When you have invested money to beautifully decorate your home the last thing you want is that gorgeously upholstered sofa to be damaged by fading because of the sunlight from windows.  Allow that natural light in but filter the harmful rays through solar screens to protect furniture, upholstery and drapery from fading.  Lastly, in addition to all of these benefits, they provide a beautiful and energy efficient form of privacy for your home.  Window sun shades are designed to allow for ideal outward visibility, and they allow for sunlight to come in, but they drastically reduce visibility from the outside in.  Depending on your desired level of privacy, you can choose a solar shade that offers anything from minimal privacy to complete privacy control.  They are an investment that not only pays for itself but provides immense benefits, improved energy efficiency and increases your home’s value.  Invest in solar screens to protect your home and improve your comfort, all while watching those utility bills go down each month.

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3 Common Questions About Solar Screens

textilene 90% fabric for sun screen installation
Most homeowners today are interested in energy efficient improvements.  With so many available, it can be confusing to decide what is best for your home and your budget.  Solar screens are a great way to vastly improve your home’s energy efficiency, keep your home comfortable all year long, increase your home’s value and protect things like your furniture and drapery.  You have probably seen them on other homes but may be somewhat unfamiliar with them.  If so, below we discuss three common questions that people have regarding solar screens so that you can make an informed decision about how to improve your own home’s energy efficiency.

  1. Are there any rebates or incentives for having solar screens installed on your home?
    • One of the most exciting things about exterior window shades is that homeowners that choose to invest in them not only enjoy significant energy savings but rebates and incentives as well. SRP offers incentives for those that choose to have them professionally installed, “About 50% of the heat that enters your home comes through the windows. This makes shade screens one of the most effective and affordable energy-efficiency upgrades. While blocking heat gain, shade screens can protect your home’s interior from sun damage, provide added privacy and cut cooling costs by up to 25%.  SRP is offering customers a rebate of $0.80 per square foot on professionally installed shade screens to keep their homes cooler during Phoenix’s summer months.  To qualify, you must meet the following conditions:
    • Be a permanent SRP residential electric customer that resides in a single-family detached, single family attached (duplex, triplex or quadplex only), mobile home or apartment/condo (duplex, triplex or quadplex only).
    • Purchase and install new or refurbished, qualifying shade screens with a licensed contractor by April 30, 2015.
    • Install shade screens that block at least 80% of the solar heat gain on sun-struck windows only (west-, south- and east-facing windows).
    • Install screens on the exterior of clear glass windows that enclose an air-conditioned space.
  2. How much do they really improve energy efficiency?
    • Solar shades provide significant energy efficiency improvements. They block 90% of sunlight and heat.  That sunlight and heat accounts for 44% of the heat gain your home or business experiences.  That will provide not only a great improvement in the comfort of your home but will make it much easier for your home’s HVAC system to heat and cool your home.  This energy efficiency improvement will yield vast savings on utility bills.  It is widely believed that it will only take 2-3 seasons to recoup the cost of installation.
  3. Are sun shades hard to care for and clean?
    • They are installed on the exterior of your windows and can be easily removed to clean or maintain windows. Should the need to rinse them, simply remove them and rinse them off.  Once dried they can be put back so that they can resume their protective service. They are designed to last for many years with easy cleaning and maintenance.
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Top Five Reasons To Install Sun Screens On Your Windows

Solar Screens InfoGraphic

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Thank you for taking the time to view and share the best reasons for installing solar window screens on your home.

Screens Unlimited.

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Screen Replacement vs. Rescreening

Should you just replace the screen fabric or the whole thing?

There are benefits to both rescreening existing frames and to replacing them entirely for both sun shades and bug fabric, and the answer is based on several factors.

How is it going to look if you just replace the fabric?

For one, any time you are considering these two options, the aesthetics is going to come first for most people.  Often times in Arizona, because of the harsh effects of the sun we see the frames of the window screens just as worn and faded as the mesh itself.  If not due to sun exposure, after 10+ years of being removed and re-attached by window washers or whomever, the frames tend to get scratched, dented, or in some cases bent beyond repair.  In any of these cases, it may be best to go with a replacement.

Does it cost much more to replace the entire screen?

The simple answer is often yes it does.  However, it may surprise you how little more the cost may be.  The fabric itself makes up for approximately 75% of the actual material cost when going with new sun screens, and closer to 90% with bug screen replacements.  So, when factoring in the extra time involved in protecting, loading, and hauling the old frames back to the shop to perform the work, we typically only see a 5-10% savings for using old sunscreen frames, and essentially no savings for bugscreens.

So when does it make sense to use your old frames?

In our experience, given all the cost differences, and the final product our clients have more often than not decided to go with new screens.  This being said, the times we have seen it worthy of just new fabric have been in cases where the frames are still in good shape throughout the home, and there are more than just a few screens.  At the end of the day, our products are designed to save you money, and if rescreening your old solar screen frames will save you enough money to pay for next month’s utility bill, than it may be the right choice!

To find out more about our products and services, or to discuss whether you should replace or rescreen your window screens, feel free to contact Screens Unlimited today by calling 623-399-4942.

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