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Solar Window Shades Cool Your Home While Providing Privacy

Solar window shades, also known as solar curtains or solar screens, are a great way to keep the sun’s hot rays out of your home during the summer months. Solar screens also have the added benefit of being able to keep the cold out during the cold winter months as well.

The term solar curtain is slightly misleading, as some people believe that they are associated with solar power in some way. These products are in reality, a type of reflective material which can be used to cover your windows, and allows you to see out but stops others from seeing inside. 

These products are available in several different varieties, from very cheap, semi transparent versions which can be purchased online or through several different catalog companies. There are also more expensive versions which are made of a higher quality, more durable material, and even some more designer products for those looking for a product that not only keeps the sun and cold out, but is also aesthetically pleasing. 

We’ll take a look at each of these types of solar window shades below, but first let’s look at the advantages of these products.

Advantages of Solar Curtains

  • Can keep your home up to 20° F cooler during the summer and warmer during the winter

  • Save you money on heating and cooling costs and energy bills
  • Provide privacy with one way visibility, meaning that you can see out but others can’t see in
  • Simple to install: most products come ready to hang on any normal curtain rod
  • Protect furniture and carpets from harmful UV rays which can cause them to fade and discolor
Basic Solar Curtains

The most basic type of solar screen is a thin polyethylene film that can be hung over your windows on any standard curtain rod. It normally costs less than $5 to cover almost any average sized window, so these solar screens are a great option for those looking to reduce their energy bills cheaply and quickly. 

These products will slightly darken your room since they are designed to stop light and thus heat from getting in, so be aware that they will definitely limit the amount of natural lighting in your home. The only major drawback to these cheap products is that they come folded up in a small package, and the folds seem to remain visible forever. 

They cannot even be ironed out, as the heat would damage the material, so you will be stuck looking at the  folds for the life of the product. Nonetheless, they are still a good option for those on a budget or looking for a cheap alternative to the more expensive products below.

Higher End Solar Curtains

Phifer Solar Screen

solar window shadesIf you are in the market for a better alternative to the cheap screens with their ugly folds, then the Phifer Super Solar Screen might be the product for you. The Phifer products differ from the curtains above, as these are designed to be stretched over the outside of the window. This means that they stop the sun from reaching the glass in the window and heating it up, which makes them much more effective. 

Phifer states that the fabric will block up to ninety percent of the sun’s rays and heat, so they can quickly reduce your energy bills and keep your home cooler. 

They also keep insects out of your home since they function like a traditional window screen. These products are available in either charcoal or silver, and come in a variety of sizes to fit almost any window. 

While being much more effective, these screens are also much more expensive. Depending on which particular model you choose and the size of your window, for a Phifer Solar Screen you should expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $300.

Designer Solar Window Shades

Bali Solar Window Shades

solar window shadesBali is one of the leading manufacturers of blinds and window treatments, and they make a line of products to keep the sun out as well. They produce both interior and exterior options so you have more freedom to choose the right look for your home. 

All of their products have an openness rating, which basically means how much light they will allow in. The products with the lowest openness percentages will let in less light but also limit the amount that you can see out of the windows. If you want to have a clearer view out of the shade, then you should choose a product or a color which has a higher openness percentage. 

The price of the Bali shades varies dramatically depending on the model and color you choose, mounting options, and the size of your window. Nonetheless, there is a huge selection of Bali Solar Shades, so the odds are fairly good that you will find a product to fit your needs and particular style while remaining within your budget. 

Comfortex Envision Roller Shades

solar window shadesComfortex is another option for those looking for more aesthetically pleasing shades. 

They produce a line of roller shades that is highly effective at keeping light, heat, and UV rays out of your home. While not producing quite as large of a line as Bali does, Comfortex Envision Roller Shades do have a big advantage in environmental friendliness. 

These shades use EcoGreen fabrics which contain absolutely zero PVC’s and are one hundred percent recyclable. Overall, these products are highly recommended due to their effectiveness and their eco friendly material.

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