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caring for your air conditioning equipment

For Best HVAC Efficiency Look To Your Window Coverings

by Amy Henry

You can join the going green movement, save money, and enjoy fashionable interior design all at the same time. Are you wondering what these three things have in common? The answer: improved heating and air conditioning efficiency. You will reduce heat loss and gain in your home, extend the life of your HVAC system, and have a great looking home if you take a thoughtful approach to your window coverings.

There are innumerable methods for providing privacy and decorating your windows. Some of those options do double duty as they help control heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. This has great benefits when it comes to saving money on your heating and cooling bills and servicing and replacing HVAC equipment. Take a look at some of your options.

Indoor Options

You are likely planning to adorn your windows anyways, so choose a product that will help increase the energy efficiency in your home.


This window treatment tops the list because it is the most common, not the most effective. In fact, it is one of the least effective. However, with some wise fabric choices and proper installation, your curtains can help increase energy efficiency.

  • Choose a close-weave fabric. Heavier fabric will insulate better.
  • Enclose your window space by hanging the curtains at the ceiling or installing a box cornice at the top and letting them touch the floor or window sill at the bottom.
  • Overlap curtains in the center when closed.
  • Attach your curtains to the wall on the outside edge. Velcro tape is an effective way to do this.

Consider pairing your curtains with blinds or shades for improved performance.

Window Film

Included here because it is another fairly inexpensive option, reflective window film can be helpful in increasing energy efficiency. It is easy to install and is most effective on east or west facing windows. It is really only effective in blocking heat gain during warm months. It blocks the sun during winter months, so you will want to remove it. Remember that if you use window film, you will block your visibility through those windows.

Quilted Roller Shades

When it comes to roller shades, the quilted variety is the most effective in its ability to block heat gain and loss. This is due to the multiple layers of fabric, fiber batting, and sealed edges. Make sure they are the right size to enclose the window area.

Solar Shades

This product is one of the most energy efficient interior window treatments available. You will discover many benefits if you choose this option.

  • They effectively control heat gain and loss.
  • They block UV rays.
  • They diffuse light rather than blocking it.
  • They won't block your view to the outdoors.

Solar Shades should be mounted to fit snugly within the window casing and hang close to the glass. Some solar shades are reversible. In the summer you put the reflective side facing out. In the winter turn the dark side out to absorb the warmth.

Outdoor Options

There are two effective options if you want to take the energy efficiency efforts outdoors.

Exterior Porch Shades

These shades block the afternoon sun from your windows without covering them. They are attached to the upright posts of a covered porch or patio and block the sunlight and heat from reaching your windows. This allows you to see out the windows and still decrease heat gain. The benefits of this product include:

  • reduced indoor temperatures
  • blocking of UV rays
  • filtered light coming in the windows

Porch shades are made to attach to the  upright posts so that they will not blow around.


An exterior window covering that has made its way back into popularity; window awnings provide shade protection for your windows. This results in decreased heat gain. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this product is that you retain outdoor visibility. Made with synthetic fabrics that are vastly improved over their relatives of the past, today's awnings last and look better longer. Consider installing retractable awnings so you can allow winter sunlight to enter your home.

When it comes to HVAC efficiency, the equipment isn't the only factor that makes a difference. Now you can make educated decisions when decorating your windows so that they will not only look beautiful, but help save energy and save you money.