May 10, 2007 12:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking to have it installed on all my windows? The salesman showed me the "solar screen". It looks just like the regular mesh screen, probably a bit thicker. Has anyone have the solar screen in your house? Does it make big difference in your house's temperature? Does your electric bill show a nice decrease? Thanks so much.
posted by teapot to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
We live in Austin, TX and have solar screens on all of our windows but two. In our area I believe you are required to have either solar screens or double-paned windows.

When we experimented standing in front of a window with the screen and one without, the difference in temperature was absolutely noticable. I would guess its a 10-15 degree difference in how hot the sun feels through the window.

In fact, one of the windows that doesn't have the screen is a large arch, which we cover with a paper shade in the summer. If we don't, that one window heats up the whole room. We take some of them off in the winter because we enjoy the heat and light then.

As far as saving on electricity, I think we save about 30 percent in the summer compared to my brother who lives nearby but doesn't have the screens. I tell him every year that he should get them, but he says he is too lazy.

If you only want to do some of them, maybe just do the south and west windows (assuming you are in North America), the north windows don't get as hot.
posted by rintj at 1:20 PM on May 10, 2007

We live in Austin, too. We don't have solar screens on our house, but when we were shopping for a place we visited a condo that had solar screens. I can't speak for their energy efficiency, but the biggest drawback of the screens was that they eliminated a lot of the natural light that could make it through the windows. We visited in the middle of the day and it felt like dusk inside. Too dreary for my taste. (Keep in mind it was a condo -- it shared walls on two sides with other condos, and didn't have any direct sun shining thru the windows at the time we visited, only ambient light.)
posted by puritycontrol at 1:30 PM on May 10, 2007

Sure the screens block out the light, that's the point. If you don't have direct sun coming through your windows, maybe it's not worth it to you. My mom, who lives next door, took the screens off her northern windows because she wants the light.

For us, with a two story house, with three bedrooms on the south side of the house, we could not adequately cool those rooms without the screeens, unless we kept the air conditioner cranked way down. We also keep the blinds closed in those rooms in the heat of the day. As it is, the downstairs is typically eight to ten degrees coooler than the upstairs during the 100 degree days; without the screens, I suspect the difference would be 12-14 degrees (80 upstairs, 66 downstairs). Comparing that to my brothers house (slightly bigger than ours) we pay $80-100 less in electricity for each summer month. (He cannot believe that our electric bills are true when the subject comes up. Also, my husband and I work from home and have three children, we use lots of electricity on computers, refrigerator and recharging electronics. My brother and wife are at work all day.)

In a very hot, sunny climate, direct light costs you money in air conditioning. We have planted trees that will (eventually) shade our southern windows. We added a patio cover to give some shade to our outdoor space, and the windows on the southern side. We have added as much green as possible to soak up the solar heat. The solar screens are to us another strategy to take a tract home and make it a little more suited to it's climate.

YMMV, but in August in Texas, shade is your friend.
posted by rintj at 9:19 PM on May 10, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks very much for all the answer. The large window in my master bedroom is facing West so there's a lot of direct sun light coming through the window. The room is usually very warm when I come home from work.

The decision now is do I want a cooler room or do I want a room with more sunlight.

Thanks again for your time.
posted by teapot at 7:27 AM on May 14, 2007

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