Jun 23, 2008

Money Saving Tip: Tint Your Windows

I love our house, and I especially love its location. But if I could change one thing, it would be its orientation to the sun. You see, in the summer, our house gets full sun on the east side in the morning, and full sun on the west side in the afternoon. It's utterly devastating - without air conditioning, the temperature in our house would be over 90 degrees on the hottest days when it's 115 degrees outside. Needless to say, our air conditioner works overtime on such days, and it shows on our electricity bill.

But things could be much worse. A few years ago, after we'd lived in our house for a couple of years, we had our windows tinted. Under our homeowners' association rules, we couldn't go that dark. But even the mid-level tint that we chose has made a huge difference.

The window tinting cost $600 about four years ago. That first year, I estimated our savings at $300. I haven't done the math since, but I assume our savings have increased with the rising cost of electricity. So tinting our windows has saved us over $1200 and counting.

If you're looking to reduce your cooling costs and the temperature in your house rises due to exposure to the sun, I encourage you to look into window tinting. Most of the house maintenance and improvement research falls on Marc's shoulders, and we had the work done several years ago. So I don't remember much about the experience anymore. I do recall that Marc found out what we needed to know online, then contacted several installers. We had one consultation, during which we picked the tint we wanted and the man (owner? sales manager?) took measurements. Then it took about a day for the man who actually applied the window film to do the work (we had every single window and our big sliding glass doors done). It was worth every penny!

Image credit: Amazon.com - Maximum Heat Control Window Film (affiliate link).


Christina said...

My parents' old house used to get nailed by the sun on the west side of their house. They got "solar" window shades for their picture windows for about $200, and they worked great. They could raise the shades if the day was cloudy (or in the winter to get the warmth of the sun!) or they could lower them on hot, sunny days to help keep the house cooler.

Christina said...

I forgot to mention.. the solar shades were clear, so you could still see out the windows!

Christina said...

I forgot to mention.. the solar shades were clear, so you could still see out the windows!

Anonymous said...

I really don't know anything about tinting, but it sounds like a great solution for odd-sized windows, and windows in hard to reach locations.

We purchased thermal curtains and shades for our windows when we first moved into our house two years ago and we haven't regretted it! We close them in the evening (we live in a house with big windows and at night have the 'goldfish bowl' effect where everyone driving by can see in). We leave them closed during the day while we're gone and the house is so nice and cool when we arrive home to it in the summer months. In the winter they really help to hold in the heat and I know have helped with our heating bill.

I was amazed how many of my coworkers didn't seem to understand the concept. One woman kept arguing with me that if she kept all of her curtains open in the winter that the sun would heat her house and her heating costs would be less. I very politely suggested that next winter she touches the glass on those windows and feels how cold they cold they are on a sunny day. There's a lot of heat being lost.

Great post!

Chief Family Officer said...

@Christina & Jennifer - Thanks for your ideas! We have been talking about curtains but shades would work too. I am going to look into your suggestions!