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How homeowners can save energy

SPONSORED — If you’re wondering where all your extra money is going, you may want to have a chat with your windows. Chances are, they’re responsible for letting wasted energy and, consequently, wasted cash. Whether it’s a sunny summer day or a snowy winter evening, your heating and cooling systems may not be working as efficiently as you think.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates 30 percent of a home’s heating energy is lost through the windows. And during the warmer months, an estimated 76 percent of sunlight that hits your windowpanes enters your home as heat. If you’re ready to stop throwing your energy out the window (literally), it’s time to take a good look at the primary offenders.

Single-pane pain

Glass is great for beautifying your home and bringing a little nature inside your walls. Unfortunately, glass is also great for bringing nature’s temperatures inside. The Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences reports that single-pane, clear glass windows with aluminum frames cost homeowners as much as $300 more in heating costs than a more energy-efficient option. For optimal energy savings, make sure you’re using double-pane glass with a wood or vinyl frame. Energy-efficient coatings may also be available and can help reduce your heating and cooling costs.

Better dressed windows

When they’re left naked, even the most energy-efficient windows will still cost you. That’s why windows are always better dressed. To prevent stifling summer air from permeating your home during the warmer months, blinds are your best bet. Not only do blinds offer you functional flexibility, they’re also the most convenient way to create privacy when you need it. Blinds with slats (either horizontal or vertical) are a good option because they enable you to adjust based on the position of the sun and your goals. For example, you may want to open your blinds slightly to allow cooler air inside while preserving your privacy, or you might adjust to control sunlight glare while allowing some light inside.

Curtain call

While blinds offer you ultimate flexibility and the best way to keep your home cool during the summer, curtains or drapes can be an effective complement to your window treatment, particularly during the colder winter months. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, medium-colored draperies with plastic backings can reduce heat gain by 33 percent. During the winter, heavy curtains and drapes can also prevent warm air from escaping while reducing the cold air coming in. For optimal energy efficiency, use two drapes per window and ensure they overlap when they close. Think of your drapes as a seal for the window – the tighter they are, the more effective. That’s why attaching drapes to walls or each other can boost your efficiency even more.

Open or closed?

An energy-efficient window treatment is a great way to save on your energy bill. Using that treatment effectively can save you even more. For example, during the winter, you’ll want to open your blinds in the area of your home that receives direct sunlight. Even though it’s cold outside, the sun’s energy will naturally enter as heat through your windows. Once the sun has shifted position, close the blinds to protect your windows against energy loss. During the summer, keeping your blinds closed will help your home cool more efficiently. For the ultimate in convenience and efficiency, use automated blinds on your windows. These coverings can be programmed to open and close per your preference (and the most energy-efficient schedule), or remotely opened and closed on demand.

If your windows are costing you money, it’s time to set them straight. Budget Blinds has options for every home and budget. For more information visit Budget Blinds or call 1-888-88-BUDGET.

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