Solar Shades and Your Air Conditioner.
Solar shades can be a great compliment to your home’s air conditioning system. They hang in front of your window like an ordinary shade, but can help reduce your overall cooling costs by controlling the amount of solar heat entering your home and reducing strain on your air conditioning system. Different shade fabrics and colors can fulfill different functions — below we’ll show you how to choose the best type to meet your family’s needs.
What are solar shades?
In a nutshell, solar shades are manufactured using a special fabric that is designed to reduce glare and solar heat gain, provide some daytime privacy, and maintain an outside view. These shades are translucent and should be not be confused with blackout shades.
Choosing the right solar shades to cool your home.
There are two main factors involved in making the right choice — location and performance. Finding the ideal balance between the two is critical in choosing the correct shade for your situation.
Location: Does your window face north, south, east or west? Knowing this will help you make a decision regarding the level of control you may need. The sun is not as hot or bright on windows facing north or south, but is more intense in the mornings on those facing east and in the evenings on those facing west.
Performance: A solar shade’s fabric density will determine its performance factors. Different densities will prioritize different benefits. For example, a shade with a high degree of fabric density will reduce solar heat gain and provide daytime privacy. However, it will also reduce the quality of your outside view and minimize the amount of daytime light for your room.
On the other hand, a shade with a low degree of fabric density will allow for a greater amount of filtered light for your room and a more natural outside view, but will only provide minimal heat blocking and daytime privacy.
Fabric color also plays an important role. Darker color fabrics offer the best glare reduction and outside view, but can reduce daytime privacy and daytime lighting. Lighter colors will provide solar heat reduction, better lighting, and daytime privacy, but will obstruct your outside view.
Putting it all together
Once you determine the best balance among the factors above, you are ready to choose your solar shades. Just remember solar shades with the highest degree of infrared reflection will reduce solar heat gain and will save on energy costs by reducing strain on your air conditioning system.